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Blair Levin

Former Architect of National Broadband Plan Says That Every City Needs a Broadband Plan

September 14, 2015 - Every city should create a city-wide broadband plan of its own, said the former director of the National Broadband Plan, in wide-ranging speech touting four strategies useful for different types of city broadband plans. Speaking on Friday at the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Officers annual conference in San Diego, Blair Levin of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and the group Gig-U, said that every city should tackle four key strategies: (1) Getting fiber deeper into neighborhoods; (2) Using community WiFi; (3) Getting everyone online; and (4) Promoting innovative civic applications for broadband. Levin, the former architect of the Federal Communications Commission's broadband plan, crafted from 2009 to 2010, said that the United States was about the 20th country to adopt such a plan for the deployment of high-speed internet. Nearly 150 countries have one now. "With cities, we're where we were with countries in 2010. Several dozen have them," Levin said. "But now, such a plan is becoming table stakes for any city that wants its residents to be part of the 21st Century Information Economy." In his remarks, Levin addressed the pivotal role that Google Fiber has played in spurring the development of Gigabit Networks. Indeed, on Thursday, Google announced upcoming fiber-optic deployments in three new cities: Irvine, Calif., Louisville, Kentucky; and San Diego. He categories the types of cities, and they relative trajectories towards Gigabit Networks, as follows: "The first set of communities is those that either have or are likely to see Google Fiber enter. For these, the starting strategy is pretty simple. Accelerate to the extent possible, Google's entry." Whether or not Google comes, such cities will be well-situated for others, as well. Blair Levin [More...] Keep Reading

Broadband's Impact

While Universal Service Reforms Show Promise, Politics Clouds Fund’s Future

ASPEN, Colorado, August 19, 2015 - In spite of several positive efforts to reform the complex and dated rules that govern the Federal Communication Commission's universal service fund, key decisions surrounding the $8 billion annual fund remain ineluctably political. That was the message shared by panelists, including a commissioner at the FCC, speaking at a session on Tuesday at the Technology Policy Institute's annual forum here. For example, the panelists -- which also include two economists, a cable industry lobbyist and the former director of the National Broadband Plan -- applauded efforts to bring greater economic efficiency to telecom network construction through a system known as a "reverse auction." They also supported efforts to promote broadband adoption by providing income-based vouchers for the purpose of internet services. But decisions about the allocation of funds within the USF -- and the key question of how the fund is to be paid for -- remain political hot potatoes. Embedded image permalink Moderator Scott Wallsten of the Technology Policy Institute, with panelists Mignon Clyburn, James Assey, Blair Levin, Gregory Rosston, and Bradley Wimmer. [more...] Keep Reading

Broadband's Impact

Broadband Conferences This Week in Three Time Zones to Consider National, Regional, State Initiatives

June 8, 2015 - Broadband conference this week in three time zones will consider the next stages of nation-, region- and state-wide broadband initiatives. The conferences, in the Mountain, Central and Eastern Time zones, begin on Monday and Tuesday in Vail, Colorado with the "Mountain Connect" program. The program includes keynote presentations by Connected Nation Exchange and Dave Zelenok, chief innovation officer for the city of Centennial. logo (1) At Chicago's McCormick Place, the web site Light Reading's third annual Big Telecom Event on Tuesday and Wednesday includes an array of discussions about building Gigabit Networks across the country. On Tuesday, former National Broadband Plan Director Blair Levin participates in a panel discussion about "network services" for the Gigabit Age. And on Thursday and Friday, in Albany, the New York State Broadband Program Office hosts its third annual broadband summit.  The summit this week will highly New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new $1 billion state broadband program designed to leverage public and private resources, and which the program office called "the largest and boldest state investment in universal broadband deployment in the country." MtnConnect2015_Green-022 At the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Vail, Moutain Connect aims to "facilitate and accelerate the maturation of broadband infrastructure transforming technology innovation, policy and sustainable economic prosperity for communities in Colorado." In 2014, the program featured keynote addresses from Phil Halstead, then-Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, plus individuals associated with a Wi-Fi network in Vail. This year, in addition to Centennial, the program includes individuals from communities in Colorado including Longmont, Montrose, Vail and others. Also addressing the audience will be a range of companies offering services to build public-private networks. Keep Reading

Press Release: Blair Levin Joins Brookings as a Nonresident Senior Fellow

TweetWASHINGTON, October 6, 2014 —Blair Levin, telecommunications expert and former Communications & Society Fellow at the Aspen Institute, has joined the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program as a nonresident senior fellow, Bruce Katz, Brookings vice president and Metropolitan Policy Program co-director announced today. Blair will join the Program’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, which is directed by… Keep Reading

Announcement and Support of Government Could Lead to First State-Wide Gigabit Network in Connecticut

TweetHARTFORD, Conn., September 16, 2014 – Connecticut state and city leaders on Monday announced a nationally-praised effort to build the first all-state Gigabit Network. The mayors of the state’s second- and fourth-largest cities, New Haven and Stamford, joined with state legislative leaders, the state’s Comptroller, and others to seek to create an “open access” fiber-optic… Keep Reading

Infrastructure

New Haven, West Hartford and Stamford to Announce Gigabit Network Initiative in Connecticut on Monday

TweetHARTFORD, Conn., September 12, 2014 – A major initiative to bring Gigabit Networks throughout Connecticut is scheduled to be announced here on Monday by mayors or deputy mayors of New Haven, West Hartford, Stamford, along with state legislative and executive branch leaders. The broadband infrastructure initiative will be announced at 2 p.m. on Monday. Blair… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Promotes Google Fiber’s Impact on Competition and Gigabit Networks

TweetWASHINGTON, September 5, 2014 – Google Fiber has been perhaps the primary driver of the current push toward high-speed internet in the United States, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a speech here yesterday on the future of broadband competition. In an otherwise general speech that failed to mention major communications companies like… Keep Reading

FCC/Universal Service

In Partisan Vote, FCC Passes a Modified E-Rate Proposal for Spending Funds on Wi-Fi Connectivity

TweetWASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 – The Federal Communications Commission on Friday voted to modernize of its E-Rate program Friday, reallocating funds from technologies considered obsolete to Wi-Fi based connectivity in schools and libraries. However, owing to strong skepticism from opponents over funding, the proposal was scaled back to $2 billion, down from its original $5… Keep Reading

U.S. Broadband Deployment and Speeds are Beating Europe’s, Says Scholar Touting ‘Facilities-based Competition’

TweetWASHINGTON, June 10, 2014 – In spite of press reports to the contrary, U.S. broadband coverage is not falling behind European levels of service, academic Christopher Yoo said on Wednesday at the National Press Club. “It seems like every other week there’s a new infographic or news story that talks about how the U.S. is… Keep Reading

Connect Nevada Broadband Summit on Nov. 18 to Explore Broadband in Education

TweetNovember 15, 2013 – Nevada has only two metropolitan areas (Las Vegas and Reno), 80 percent of its land owned by the federal government, and no fiber-optic wires that connect the two cities, said the head of the state’s non-profit broadband initiative. A deeply rural demography and highly remote geography present some tough obstacles for… Keep Reading

Utah, Michigan, Oregon and Others Host State Broadband Initiative Summits, Bringing Internet Data and Knowledge Together

TweetOctober 18, 2013 – State Broadband Initiative entities have played the lead role in mapping high-speed internet services in their respective states. Now, these entities are also taking the lead to convene, connect and collaborate among broadband stakeholders. Several states will be hosting broadband technology summits in the coming weeks, including Utah, Michigan, Oregon, Wyoming… Keep Reading

Tom Wheeler Surging; Profiles of Other Prospective Candidates to be FCC Chairman: Susan Crawford and Blair Levin

TweetWASHINGTON, April 15, 2013 – Tom Wheeler, one of the most-frequently mentioned names to take the chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission, remains perhaps the leading contender for the role, according to a Friday telecom update from Medley Global Advisors. “Venture capitalist and former lobbyist Tom Wheeler picked up a strong vote of confidence from a… Keep Reading

Get Out of the Business of Regulating Copper Wires, Say FCC Critics at Internet Protocol Event

TweetWASHINGTON, February 8, 2013 – The Federal Communications Commission is not able to flexibly adapt to changed  circumstances in the communications world, according to officials participating in a January 30 panel on here the transition to internet protocol networks. With the topic in hand of the “retirement” of traditional copper wiress, and the regulatory paradigm… Keep Reading

The Year in Broadband, 2012: BroadbandBreakfast’s Guide to the Top 10 Events

TweetDecember 18, 2012 – The year 2012 has provided significant progress in broadband within the United States. Whether through policy developments, or through technologies advancing the rate of internet speeds, the business case for making use of those higher speeds is also progressing in a meaningful way. It’s almost as if the presidential and other… Keep Reading

How to Tackle Broadband Adoption by the Nation’s Underserved Populations

TweetWASHINGTON, Thursday, July 26, 2012 – Last week, the fourth year of the Broadband Breakfast Club Series came to an end with a timely panel on “Bringing Broadband Adoption to the Nation’s Underserved Population.”  Panelists from the private, nonprofit and state government sectors came together to discuss what can be done to promote broadband usage in… Keep Reading

New Zealand Broadband Plan Sheds Light on U.S. Plan

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011 – Broadband experts examined whether New Zealand’s ‘Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative’ contained lessons that could be applied to the U.S.’ own broadband situation Tuesday at a New America Foundation Panel (NAF). Panelist Blair Levin, Communications and Society Fellow at the Aspen Institute and one of the primary authors of the National Broadband Plan, exhibited confidence in America’s broadband future. Keep Reading

Cisco Predicts Four-Fold Growth in IP Traffic Over Next Four years

WASHINGTON June 2, 2011 - Cisco predicted the next four years of global broadband consumption via virtual forum when it unveiled its annual visual networking index Wednesday. Each year Cisco produces a networking index that predicts internet use and broadband consumption for the next five years. While a number of firms produce similar reports, Cisco’s has consistently proven among the most accurate in recent years. Keep Reading

Georgetown, Columbia Programs Gather Experts To Discuss National Broadband Plan

WASHINGTON March 21, 2011 - The Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and Georgetown University’s Communication Culture and Technology Program gathered government officials and industry experts Friday to debate the federal government’s implementation of the National Broadband Plan. Keep Reading

Aspen Institute Communications and Society Fellow Blair Levin Gives Insight to National Broadband Plan

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2010. Blair Levin, former executive director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the Federal Communications Commission, spoke about some of the issues that were included and not included in the writing of the National Broadband Plan. He picked out three key initiatives in the National Broadband Plan: spectrum appropriation, the unbundling of cable systems, and universal service. Keep Reading

Broadband Breakfast Club Featured International Perspectives on U.S. Broadband Plan

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2010 - BroadbandBreakfast.com on Thursday released, for FREE, the full-length video of the Broadband Breakfast Club event on May 18, 2010: "International Perspectives on the U.S. National Broadband Plan." The event included key industry officials and was moderated by Lynn Stanton, Senior Editor, TR Reports. A keynote speech was provided by Pamela Miller, Director General, Telecommunications Policy Branch, Industry Canada. Keep Reading

Blair Levin, Plus Officials from South Korea, U.K., Follow Top Canadian Telecom Official at May 18 Event

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2010 - Blair Levin, the former Executive Director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the Federal Communications Commission, will join the panel at the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, May 18. He will be a panel with Young K. Noh, Minister-Counselor of the Korean Embassy, and Robin Twyman, First Secretary at the British Embassy, on the subject of "International Reactions to the U.S. National Broadband Plan." All three speakers follow Pamela Miller, Director General of the Telecommunications Policy Branch, Industry Canada, and the top telecom regulator from the country -- the keynote speaker for the event. Keep Reading

‘National Purposes’ Aspect of National Broadband Plan Aims For Bold Actions Without Much Spending

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2010 - Blair Levin, head of the Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband plan and the “national purposes” team at the agency previewed key points from the upcoming national broadband plan. The object of the plan, they said, is not just to expand broadband networks, but to enable the creation of applications and innovations built upon that network. The six primary objective areas presented were healthcare, education, energy, civic engagement, economic expansion, and public safety. Keep Reading

FCC Releases First Draft of National Broadband Plan After Weighing Record

WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday laid out a rough draft of its national broadband plan after weighing through 66,000 pages of written comments, 27 public notices, 100 items posted on its “blogband” web site, and 700 blog comment posted to the record. But the agency says it is still difficult to answer key questions that must be addressed within two months time, or by February 17, 2010. Keep Reading

National Cable and Telecommunication’s ‘Adoption Plus Program’ Born on Discussions with FCC Chiefs

WASHINGTON, December 2, 2009 - The nation's cable television and internet providers are once again making an aggressive push for broadband stimulus funds to be spent on "demand-side" programs as the National Cable and Telecommunications Association announced a pilot program for "Adoption Plus" - a proposal to promote broadband adoption for nearly 3.5 million children of middle school age. The children targeted by the program live in around 1.8 million low-income households that are eligible for the National School Lunch Program and do not receive broadband services. Keep Reading

Broadband Updates/Wireless

Tuesday Panel to Explore ‘Grand Bargain’ on Broadcast Spectrum

A proposal to return much of the spectrum used by commercial television broadcasters is gaining some mindshare in Washington telecommunications circles. A high ranking FCC official recently suggested it might be possible to craft a "grand bargain," in which broadcasters return unused portions of their digital television spectrum to the government in exchange for proceeds from an auction. The spectrum to be auctioned off could fulfill a coming need for spectrum to be used by the burgeoning wireless broadband industry. Keep Reading

FCC Creates Standardized Process for Cell Tower Siting, Discusses Broadband ‘Gaps’

WASHINGTON, November 22, 2009 - In unanimous 5-0 decision, the commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission voted Wednesday to standardize the application process for tower siting requests. Advocates of the move said that the action marked another step by the agency to speed adoption of broadband in the United States. For example, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said, “We are promoting broadband by removing roadblocks to its development.” Keep Reading

U.S. Broadband Coalition Working Group Urges Federal Involvement to Stimulate Adoption

WASHINGTON, November 16, 2009 – A working group of the non-profit U.S. Broadband Coalition on Friday released a report in which the group called for the federal government to “play an active role in stimulating adoption and use of advanced broadband connections.” The group, one of six committees of the U.S. Broadband Coalition – which had gathered more than 160 organizations to push for a national broadband strategy – presented its finding at the Federal Communications Commission, after introductory remarks by Blair Levin, director of the FCC’s national broadband plan. Keep Reading

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