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Broadband Roundup: Modernizing the E-Rate, Upgrading the FCC, Apple Tapping into Internet of Things




WASHINGTON, June 3, 2014 - A group of more than 40 members of Congress have urged the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the E-Rate program of connectivity for schools and libraries.

More specifically, the group is calling for ”100 [Megabits per second] of bandwith or more for every 1,000 students and staff workers today, and 1 Gbps by 2017."

The group asked the FCC to ensure that schools are paying for the best digital service at the lowest possible cost. E-Rate reform, the group said, should focus on "broadband services, Wi-Fi updates and filling the infrastructure gap, with continued support for connectivity services, to ensure universal access to the most up to date technology."

In other news, Commissioner Michael O'Rielly detailed the need for the FCC to upgrade its own technology.

"To remain relevant, the agency must stay on top of current technologies and serve as a model for industry and other federal agencies," O'Rielly said. "The FCC loses credibility when it seeks to impose rules or standards on the private sector but does not adhere to the same or similar commitments in its own operations."

While companies have for the past two years been transitioning from the old Internet protocol standard, IPv4, to the newer IPv6 to connect devices over the Internet, the agency itself hasn't yet made the full transition. "Only 12% of its linked subdomains are IPv6 operational," said O'Rielly."For an agency that just proposed rules and questions that aim to micromanage the way the Internet works, this is ironic."

Politico reported that Apple is making its mark on the "Internet of Things" following its announcement on Monday that the company will be integrating "smart" appliance support into its mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Consumers will be able to use their mobile Apple devices to control Internet-connected devices in their homes like door locks, lightbulbs, and more, Politico reports.

"We thought we could bring some rationality to this space," Apple Senior Vice President Craig Federighi said at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, according to Politico. "You could say something like 'Get ready for bed' and be assured your garage door is closed, your door is locked, the thermostat is lowered and your lights are dimmed."

And according to CBS News, this kind of integration would be possible with a single app. A software kit was released to developers with the goal of creating a common set of standards for the creation and connection of internet-enabled devices.

CBS also said that some tech entrepreneurs see this as a big win for Apple and that there is great potential for an interconnected home market.

"This could involve lighting, hardware, heating, music, entertainment, home security and's an industry worth 100s of billions" of dollars, said Tom Coperman, CEO of artificial intelligence company Nara, according to CBS.


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