Go to Appearance > Menu to set "Primary Menu"

Bringing you the latest in Gigabit Networks, broadband usage, wireless and more

Tag archive

Communications Workers of America

Verizon Under Fire from Union, City Officials in Northeast States, for Claims of Failure to Build Out Fiber

in Broadband's Impact by

NEW YORK, October 13, 2015 – The battle between Verizon Communications and the Communications Workers of America escalated on Tuesday, as the union announced a new television advertisement slamming the broadband provider for failing to build-out its high-speed fiber-optic internet service here.

The advertisements come just ahead of a New York City Council hearing on  Wednesday that will include the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, customers that say they have been unable to get FiOS, and from Verizon officials.


The CWA ad highlights the city’s June audit of Verizon’s FiOS build. The audit concluded that “Verizon is not in compliance with its agreement since it has not truly ‘passed’ all residential households in New York City.”

In a response to the audit, Verizon disputed the city’s conclusion. It said that it was in compliance with the terms of its 2008 franchise agreement with the city.

“The term ‘pass’ is not defined in the Agreement,” Verizon wrote in its response. “Thus, there is nothing inherent in the word itself that would require Verizon to run cable directly in front of every building in the City in order to ‘pass’ those buildings.”

“Verizon should stop breaking promises to its employees and its customers,” said Bob Master, assistant to the president of CWA district one. “Customers want FiOS and our members want a contract that maintains family-supporting jobs.”

“The fact is that Verizon continues to expand FiOS cable television services in New York City and wins new customers every day,” said Verizon spokesman Richard Young. “As of today, it’s available to more than two million New York City households and that number is increasing daily. The truth is that Verizon has deployed fiber in every City neighborhood – and that’s unlike any other communications company serving the city.”

“The union’s true goal behind this ad campaign is to try and force the company to hire more employees,” he added.

Tensions over the deployment of fiber-optic service by Verizon aren’t limited to New York City. On October 1, the mayors of 14 major cities on the east coast, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Newark, Jersey City, Buffalo and Syracuse, wrote a tough letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

“As mayors, we understand firsthand how vital broadband is the growth of our local economies and to nurturing a healthy, competitive marketplace in our state. Our residents use the internet to search for jobs, build home-based businesses, educate their children and engage in the civic life of our cities.”

“But consistently and increasingly,” the mayors continued, “our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution.”

Additionally, in August Verizon was the only major U.S. telecom company to decline federal moneys under the universal service fund to build broadband in unserved and rural areas. It had been offered $568 million over six years to do so.

Verizon has also declined to tap into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $500 million New York Broadband Fund, which offers 50 percent subsidies for companies building broadband in underserved areas.

Drew Clark is the Chairman of the Broadband Breakfast Club. He tracks the development of Gigabit Networks, broadband usage, the universal service fund and wireless policy @BroadbandCensus. He is also Of Counsel with the firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP, with offices in California and Washington, DC. He works with cities, special districts and private companies on planning, financing and coordinating efforts of the many partners necessary to construct broadband infrastructure and deploy “Smart City” applications. You can find him on LinkedIN and Twitter. The articles and posts on BroadbandBreakfast.com and affiliated social media are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

Economic Policy Institute Debates AT&T T-Mobile Merger

in Broadband's Impact/Media ownership by

WASHINGTON June 29, 2011-The Economic Policy Institute gathered leading industry experts for a panel on Tuesday to debate the impending merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.

At the end of March, AT&T announced plans to purchase T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. The merger has garnered a great deal of controversy because it would create the nation’s largest mobile provider.

“T-Mobile has been trying for the past three years to reverse their revenue loss but has not been successful, as a result Deutsche Telekom decided to stop providing funding to T-Mobile for expansion,” explained Debbie Goldman, Telecommunications Policy Director & Research Economist, Communications Workers of America. “T-Mobile does not have the money or spectrum to upgrade its network to real 4G, and without the merger with AT&T the network will be sold off to smaller companies.”

Goldman went onto call AT&T the best company to buy the T-Mobile network since both companies use similar technology, which would allow for a quick integration of the two networks. Sprint purchased Nextel in 2004 but still has not been able to fully integrate the Nextel network into the Sprint network and now maintains two separate networks.

Parul Desai, communications policy counsel for Consumers Union, cautioned that the merger would lead to increased market concentration and create a duopoly between AT&T and Verizon that would increase prices for consumers.

“Right now T-Mobile is able to offer a similar product to AT&T at a lower price giving consumers the choice of bringing their handsets to T-Mobile if AT&T is too expensive,” Desai said. “If AT&T were able to merge with T-Mobile there would only be a single GSM provider in the US which will lead to a decrease in handset diversity.”

GSM is the technology on which AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks are based.  Verizon’s network is based on CDMA technology.  Handsets from a network based on one technology will not function on a network based on the other.

Nathan Newman, Principal, Economic and Technology Strategies supported the merger but only if the Federal Communications Commission imposed targeted merger conditions that would expand broadband access and increase consumer protection.

“Expanding broadband to those areas which currently do not have any access is an expensive proposition and generally there is not a business case that makes it worthwhile for companies,” said Newman. “The FCC should include broadband expansion provisions similar to those imposed on the Comcast-NBC[Universal] merger”

Goldman supported the broadband expansion requirement and even suggested that there be benchmarks and penalties in the merger agreement.

Newman also suggested that the Commission mandate better data reporting and prevent AT&T from entering into handset exclusivity deals as part of a merger agreement.


May Broadband Breakfast Explores AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

in Broadband TV/FCC/Mobile Broadband/Net Neutrality/Spectrum/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 – Broadband Breakfast gathered former Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice officials along with leading industry experts to explore how the government will scrutinize the AT&T T-Mobile merger.

“The Justice Department carriers a much lower burden of proof than the FCC does in approving the merger,” said Justin Hurwitz, visiting assistant professor of law at George Mason University. “The question that the Justice Department will ask is ‘will this make the market worse,’ not if it will make the market better.”


Will the FCC or the Justice Department Be Tougher on the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? from Broadband Breakfast on Vimeo.

Hurwitz, a former Department of Justice antitrust attorney, predicted that the DOJ will take its time and carefully review the merger. The transaction review, he said, would likely take over a year before any decision was made.

Alan Pearce, a former Chief Economist at the FCC, predicted that the merger review would take a full year due to the large scale and scope.

“In contrast to the Justice Department, the FCC will look at how the market will change not only if the merger proceeds but if it is called off,” Pearce said. “The large kill fee which T-Mobile will receive if the merger fails may actually be the kiss of life they need to continue on for a few more years.”

Reuters has reported that if the government rejects the merger T-Mobile will receive cash and asset worth $6 billion: $3 billion in cash, $2 billion in spectrum, and a roaming agreement worth an estimated $1 billion.

Pearce also expressed fears over how the merger will affect handset availability to smaller carriers and the openness of their devices.

“AT&T likes to enter into long-term exclusivity deals – such as with the iPhone – and they have also been historically very opposed to opening up their devices,” he said.

Until this week, AT&T limited the types of applications users could install on Android, Google’s open mobile operating system.

Caressa Bennet, General Counsel, Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG), echoed Pearce’s fears about handset access saying that even with two major GSM wireless firms it is difficult for smaller GSM carriers to gain access to the newest handsets. She said the opposition to the deal by rural carriers would be “a fight to the death.”

“The merging of T-Mobile and AT&T will create a large nationwide GSM mobile provider which will add pressure to handset makers to enter into exclusive agreements with AT&T to produce handsets which will not operate on competing networks,” Bennet said. “AT&T already prevents many rural customers from roaming onto their network and this would only hurt rural customers.”
Bennet also dismissed the idea that AT&T would follow conditions that may be placed on the merger. According to Bennet very few firms have fully complied with rural build-out conditions in previous mergers and the government has taken little action to enforce compliance.

Ernesto Falcon, Director of Government Affairs, Public Knowledge said that the merger would create a duopoly with Sprint unable to effectively compete.

“Due to the high level of competition in the wireless market, the FCC did not expand its Open Internet rules to mobile broadband, however, after this merger the duopoly should be required to follow the rules,” Falcon said.

Debbie Goldman, Telecommunications Policy Director & Research Economist, Communications Workers of America, defended the merger saying that if AT&T did not offer buy T-Mobile someone else would have.

“T-Mobile is clearly unable to continue operating and would have been sold off to someone. By being purchased by AT&T the networks assets will not be wasted due to the interoperability between the technologies,” Goldman said. “By harnessing the power of the two networks, AT&T will be able to accelerate and enhance their next generation mobile broadband deployment.”

TechNet Hosts First Broadband Map Research Meeting

in Broadband Data/NTIA by

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 – The bipartisan technology policy group TechNet gathered government officials and leading broadband scholars Tuesday to present the first set of academic research using data from the national broadband map.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration Chief of Staff Thomas Powers kicked off the event by praising the researchers for their quick analysis of the large data set.

The national broadband map comprises 25 million pieces of data, and represents the most detailed set of broadband data compiled to date.

The research was only possible due to the granularity of data that the broadband map collected. The research is still in preliminary stages, but the findings support many claims that policy makers have been asserting about the link between broadband availability, demographics and economics.

Ying Li and Mikyung Baek from the Joint Center on Political and Economic Studies looked at the correlation between broadband availability, income and race in Los Angeles, Chicago and South Carolina. They found that the heavily African American areas of Los Angeles had a low level of broadband availability. In South Carolina, they found that in areas where the overall population has a low income race did not affect availability.

Sharon Strover, Director, Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute at the University of Texas examined the quality of broadband in rural regions. She compared speed availability in various rural areas and found that the economic characteristics of the region directly affect the broadband availability. In areas where mining and farming is dominant speeds tend to be low.

Strover also found a greater disparity in the difference between advertised speed and actual speed in rural areas than in urban.

“Right now we are drawing conclusions from Census data collected in 2000,” said Johannes Bauer Director of Special Programs, Quello Center for Telecommunication Management & Law at Michigan State University. “To really understand what’s going on we need access to the most recent Census data.”

Bauer went on to suggest that when the NTIA updates the map it include information about adoption and pricing.

“We now know what’s available but not what people are using.” Bauer said.

George Ford, Chief Economist at the Phoenix Center, provided a critique of the map saying that it was “incomplete” and that it did not provide accurate enough data to be used to conduct verifiable analysis.  Ford commended the NTIA map as a first attempt, but that researchers should wait for improvements before drawing any conclusions.

Communications Workers of America Telecommunications Policy Director Debbie Goldman said that while many providers did not initially supply data to the map, they now see how the public is using the map and are more willing to provide data.

Steven Morris, Vice president at National Cable & Telecommunications Association, echoed the statement, saying, “we have always encouraged our members to provide data for the mapping effort and are trying to convince the few hold outs to supply data.”

National Broadband Mapping Program Director, Anne Neville responded to the critics saying, “This is the largest and most detailed map ever made and there are going to be some errors, but this is Version One – with each update the map will improve.”

Neville also stressed the point that the data is coming directly from the Internet service providers and many of them do not have the data in the level of detail the map requires. When the data is converted, it can lead to errors, but states have been given funding to update and improve the data over the next five years.

The NTIA plans to update the map in late August.

Groups Urge FCC to Address Telecom Needs of Puerto Rico

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan/States by

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2010 – Groups advocating minority rights have sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission expressing their dismay that Puerto Rico does not experience the same telecommunications services that other U.S. jurisdictions enjoy.

“After more than 14 years, the FCC has yet to implement Congress’s mandate in the 1996 Act to adopt high cost universal service funding for insular areas,” wrote groups such as the ASPIRA Association, Hispanic Institute and Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.

The letter criticizes the FCC’s National Broadband Plan for failing to mention insular areas and says: “As Puerto Rico’s per capita income is approximately 30 percent of the national average and less than half that of the lowest U.S. state, affordable broadband is critical to Puerto Rico’s economy and its people.”

The groups argue that although the FCC has supported wireline and wireless telecom services in rural areas and certain high cost areas in the United States, it has not adopted a funding mechanism to address the “unique needs of high cost non-rural insular areas like Puerto Rico.”

Other authors of the letter are: Communications Workers of America, Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, MANA, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, National Puerto Rican Coalition and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Summit Speakers Want More Broadband Access For Minorities, Criticize Net Neutrality

in National Broadband Plan/Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, November 18, 2009 – The opening speaker of a summit focused on improving broadband penetration to minority and low-income areas of the country, and criticized advocates of Net neutrality for being out of touch with the needs of minorities, as he attempted to enlist the mantle civil rights leader Martin Luther King into his cause.

“[L]et us remember the worlds of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face-to-face with another problem,’” said Julius Hollis, the founder of the Alliance for Digital Equality, in prepared remarks.

“If we fail to find common-ground on the issues before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission relative to the rulemaking governing broadband adoption, the financing of broadband infrastructure and the over-arching issue of net neutrality, the long-term socio-economic chaos that will be inflicted upon our society would be far too devastating to comprehend,” warned Hollis.

Hollis delivered his remarks Wednesday during his group’s 2009 Minority Broadband Summit, which was held at the Newseum with roses on the table and a view of the Washington skyline.

Hollis dove into the issue of Net neutrality or whether the FCC should step in and regulate internet access to ensure an “open internet” further by noting that Alliance for Digital Equality has joined 72 Democratic members of Congress to ask the FCC to take a balanced approach in their rulemaking “to ensure that well-intended policies won’t have the net effect of dislodging minorities and low income communities, who are more adversely and disproportionally impacted due to broadband escalating costs.”

Hollis said that internet service providers should not “abuse the public trust of deliberating fostering traffic shaping over the Internet in order to stymie political or civic discourse or discriminate against low-income consumers.”

On the Alliance for Digital Equality Web site, the group describes (http://www.alliancefordigitalequality.org/news_details.php?sid=2255) its position on the net neutrality issue. “Most arguments for network neutrality fail to account for the very real economic constraints facing the disadvantaged, underserved, and un-served communities that we and the [Congressional Black Causus] represent.”

The group continues – after taking a slam at so-called “net roots” activists – that “our constituents are more at risk of being blocked from participating in the digital future due to rising price pressures and lack of investment in broadband infrastructure precipitated by ill-conceived, empirically unsupported, and hastily formulated regulations than a slowly loading web page.”

During the summit, CNN Contributor Roland Martin, who moderated the conference, joked that the term “Net neutrality” means nothing to the average person and the debate needs to be discussed in a way people can understand.

During the morning panel representatives from companies discussed ways they were getting Internet tools out to minorities and panelists emphasized the importance of improving broadband access in the U.S.

The “digital revolution” will “truly enhance political and civic discourse in our nation, as well as potentially temper the polarization of some of our cultural differences, which have been cleverly used for political gains by surrogates in order to allow a few amongst us to economically prosper for untold generations to come,” said Hollis.

Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers for America – which has not been seen as an advocate for Net neutrality – noted that it will take hundreds of billions of dollars, mostly from the private sector, to get the Internet where it should be.

Jay Sanders, president of the Global Telemedicine Group, referred to broadband as the “umbilical cord” for healthcare. Tony Clayton, chairman of the Southern University System, said cell phones are being used to fight crimes in the south.

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a professor with Northeastern University, said she thinks part of the challenge in increasing broadband penetration is that not everyone sees the “relevance of the Internet” or the value it could add to their daily lives.

Gregory Fehribach, an attorney, said that 70 percent of people with disabilities are underemployed or not employed and that the struggling economy has hit this group of people more than anyone else. Not only does internet access enable people with disabilities to search for jobs but it “may be the only type of interface these people have with the outside world,” he said.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, stopped in to mention how important broadband access is to lessening the digital divide. He said he likes the quote from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates that “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”

‘Broadband Census for America’ United Scholars and State Officials

in Broadband Data/Expert Opinion by

WASHINGTON – September 29, 2009 – From the beginning, BroadbandCensus.com has aimed at providing academics, consumers, government officials and industry with the high-quality data needed about the state of broadband throughout the country.

We believe in public and transparent broadband data. Without public and transparent broadband data, each of these constituents are lacking in what they need.

It is heartening that the highest levels of the Obama administration see and espouse the virtues of transparency and of a data-driven approach to broadband policy. Again today, it came clear that the FCC now seeks to do that which BroadbandCensus.com has been doing since February 2008 – comparing actual speeds with advertised speeds – on an even more finely grained basis.

Now comes the hard part: translating the rhetoric and positive feelings about public and open broadband data into concrete decisions that will drive better-quality broadband data.

Last week I began this five-part series during One Web Week. I focused on the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain broadband data in 2006, and on the founding of BroadbandCensus.com in the fall of 2007.

Much has happened on broadband data in the past week: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced a new Network Neutrality principle embodying “transparency” in broadband data. The U.S. Broadband Coalition released its report calling for a National  Broadband Data Warehouse. Over the weekend, at the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, one key topics of discussion was the centrality of public and transparent broadband data

Today, I’d like to highlight BroadbandCensus.com’s role in helping the build the emerging consensus behind broadband data disclosure. I’ll speak particularly about our major conference, “Broadband Census for America,” one year ago, on September 26, 2008. I’ll also speak about the work we’ve done on covering broadband policy and deployment through our reporting, and in the comments that we’ve filed at the FCC in support of public and transparent broadband data.

‘Broadband Census for America’ Conference

BroadbandCensus.com  began with some modest seed funding from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, and from the Benton Foundation. We’ve also been blessed by wonderful collaborators of technical and outreach matters: Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program, Internet2, the Network Policy Council of EDUCAUSE, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, and others.

Many of these organizations believe, with us, that disclosure – including disclosure of carriers offering broadband service within a particular geography – is necessary in order to understand the true state of broadband availability throughout the country.

On August 7, 2008, BroadbandCensus.com and our academic partners, including Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin and Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program, announced our conference, “Broadband Census for America.” We sought to assemble state, local and federal officials engaged in gathering and mapping information about broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition. Academic researchers lent their perspective on the importance of universal broadband data. Among the noteworthy individuals to attend that gathering included James Baller, of the Baller Herbst Law Group, who went on to lead the U.S. Broadband Coalition. Susan Crawford, then a University of Michigan Law Professor and now a White house official on science and technology policy.

The keynotes for the event included Commissioner Rachelle Chong, of the California Public Utilities Commission, and Eamonn Confrey, first secretary of Information and Communications Policy of the Embassy of Ireland. Confrey spoke about the Irish experience in public broadband mapping. The full agenda for the program is available at http://broadbandcensus.com/conference. By friend and colleague Drew Bennett, who served as a special correspondent and special assistant at BroadbandCensus.com during the last half of 2008, was instrumental to making the conference a success.

The program included a panel on “Does America Need a Broadband Census”, with a wide diversity of speakers, including Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge, Debbie Goldman of the Communications Workers of America, Mark McElroy, chief operating officer of Connected Nation, and myself. The second panel, on “How Should America Conduct a Broadband Census,” including Jeffrey Campbell of Cisco Systems, William Lehr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jane Smith Patterson of the North Carolina e-NC Authority, and others.

The program committee for the event included Professors Kenneth Flamm of University of Texas, John Peha of CMU (and current chief technologist at the FCC), Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation,Scott Wallsten of the Technology Policy Institute, and others. Full details are available at http://broadbandcensus.com/conference

Reporting on Broadband Policy in Washington and the States

In addition to our Broadband Census for America Conference, BroadbandCensus.com launched its reporting – in Washington and in the states, beginning in May 2008. We’ve subsequently posted more than 450 news stories, blog entries, press releases and commentary on broadband.

Today, on the news side of our operations, most of our coverage focuses on the broadband stimulus, the national broadband plan, and wireless broadband. We’ve also had a special eye toward the battles over broadband data, and the state struggles over the deployment of broadband data. That’s what we began in the summer of 2008: a series of state-by-state articles profiling the broadband policies, broadband build-out and broadband data in each of the United States and its territories. The complete list is available at http://broadbandcensus.com/broadband-census-in-the-states.

As we have strengthened our knowledge of and ties to individual states, we began to tap into a whole new sources of broadband information for our data operations. For example, because of the greater detail available from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we’ve been able to identify each of the carriers offering service at the ZIP-code level in that state.

Broadband Census.com has also weighed into the deliberations of the FCC on the issue of obtaining better broadband data. Both in July 2008, at http://broadbandcensus.com/2008/07/comments-of-broadbandcensuscom-in-fcc-rulemaking-on-broadband-data/, and in June 2009, when we urged a “Public Broadband Map with SPARC Scores” – for the Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition of broadband connectivity, at http://broadbandcensus.com/2009/06/broadbandcensuscom-urges-public-broadband-map-with-sparc-scores/. In the latter filing, BroadbandCensus.com reiterated its view that the public should have access to basic broadband SPARC information. It also highlighting the existence of tangible ways in which the federal government could, even in the absence of cooperation from the broadband carriers, could still obtain the all-important Census-block-by Census block data.

The Series:

  • Part 1: The debate begins with the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2006.
  • Part 2, on One Web Day: The founding of BroadbandCensus.com in the fall of 2007.
  • Part 3: The Broadband Census for America Conference in September 2008, and our work with the academic community to foster public and transparent broadband data-collection efforts.
  • Part 4: BroadbandCensus.com’s involvement with the National Broadband Plan in 2009.
  • The Final Part: The role BroadbandCensus.com and broadband users have to play in the creation of a robust and reliable National Broadband Data Warehouse.

About BroadbandCensus.com

BroadbandCensus.com was launched in January 2008, and uses “crowdsourcing” to collect the Broadband SPARC: Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition. The news on BroadbandCensus.com is produced by Broadband Census News LLC, a subsidiary of Broadband Census LLC that was created in July 2009.

A recent split of operations helps to clarify the mission of BroadbandCensus.com. Broadband Census Data LLC offers commercial broadband verification services to cities, states, carriers and broadband users. Created in July 2009, Broadband Census Data LLC produced a joint application in the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program with Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program. In August 2009, BroadbandCensus.com released a beta map of Columbia, South Carolina, in partnership with Benedict-Allen Community Development Corporation.

Broadband Census News LLC offers daily and weekly reporting, as well as the Broadband Breakfast Club. The Broadband Breakfast Club has been inviting top experts and policy-makers to share breakfast and perspectives on broadband technology and internet policy since October 2008. Both Broadband Census News LLC and Broadband Census Data LLC are subsidiaries of Broadband Census LLC, and are organized in the Commonwealth of Virginia. About BroadbandCensus.com.

Broadband Now Essential to Online Jobs Searching, Say FCC Panelists

in FCC Workshops/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, August 26, 2009 – The Federal Communication Commission’s August 26 workshop on high-speed internet’s impact on job training extolled the virtues of broadband for the delivery of employment services and job training.

Whether searching for jobs positions, or online research of employment opportunities, workshop panelists agreed that dial-up service could not be used in this day and age.

“The speed of internet helps to improve online classes,” said Heather McKay, the director of innovative training and workforce development at the Rutgers University. “It helps to navigate through the course work they need [on line] and it also helps them submit it faster.”

It not only benefits the education realm, but also the job market.

Yvette Herrera, senior director education and communications and from the Communications Workers of America, discussed two programs the union has set up to help maintain job security and to help with teaching workers obtainable skills that are needed.

“Online programs help workers gain the skills in fields were the technology is changing,” she said. Telecommunications is an example of such field.

Even with such programs available, there were still some problems with accessing it for the reasons of lacking computers or lacking high speed internet.

McKay said that the U.S. Department of Labor had supported a trial study concerning educating single mothers online. These single mothers were given a laptop, a printer and voucher for the use of the Internet for a year to complete some form of education.

“Out of 128 women, 92 percent completed the course work and 15 of them went onto college,” she said. “After that one year course, they saw an average of a 14 percent wage increase.” In other words, providing information in a convenient form opens a world of job possibilities, she said.

Eric Winegardner, vice president of client adoption for Monster Worldwide, said, “As of right now there are over 5.2 million job openings that need to be filled.” Of those, “2.2 of those are just from the month of August.”

Monster.com assists in creating a resume, along with finding job openings and comparisons for a job in question. This site also enables the browser to compare the skills they have with people who hold positions they want to work in.

“The opportunity to search for this information is there,” Winegardner said, “but without broadband, the opportunity is taken away.”

“The opportunity to jobs and different forms of education is limited,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard Professional Education, an e-learning software company. The Internet provides flexibility for people who want to gain a certification they need for their occupation.

To expand the accessibility of computers and the broadband service, Herrera and McKay urged subsidies or vouchers for people to gain the access.

“They need to have knowledge of this technology,” Hill added. “Once they have it and know how to use it to their advantage, they’ll want to use it, and they’ll want to use it all the time.”

Broadband Investment Spurs Business Growth and Job Creation, Studies Find

in Broadband Data/Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 – Broadband investment, deployment and adoption in the United States will bring significant benefits to the economy, and facilitate business growth and job creation, according to a study commission by the Internet Innovation Alliance, and other groups.

According to the July 2009 study, done by Mark Dutz, Jonathan Orszag and Robert Willig of Compass Lexecon, consumers in the U.S. are receiving “more than $30 billion of net benefits from the use of fixed-line broadband at home, with broadband increasingly being perceived as a necessity.”

The study, titled “The Substantial Consumer Benefits of Broadband Connectivity
for U.S. Households,” [PDF] examined specific ways broadband benefits consumers and it’s overall effect on the economy. The Internet Innovation Alliance is telecom- and technology-industry supported group urging a national broadband policy.

According to the study, the benefits to consumers are “on the order of $32 billion per year,” compared to roughly $20 billion in 2005.

Based on 2009 survey data, the study estimates that a 10-fold increase in broadband speeds would yield an additional $6 billion a year for existing home broadband users.

Further, this data only takes into account the effects of fixed-line internet connections.  “The sizable benefits to households from mobile wireless broadband services,” according to the study, “are additional to our estimates.”

Broadband is becoming an increasing necessity, especially in the current economic downturn, because consumers are using job board and career information sites to seek employment, which is why people are not cutting their broadband, the study found.

“Economic profits and producer surplus generated by the investments of broadband service providers and the providers of value-added services via broadband,” along with other factors, “amount to billions and billions of dollars of additional economic gain to society each year from broadband adoption,” according to the study.

Regarding the importance of broadband to those hard hit by the economic downturn, approximately 88 percent of internet users “have gone online to get help with personal economic issues that have arisen in the recession and to gather information about the origins and solutions to national economic problems,” according to a July 15 statement of the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Those hard hit by the turn down have not only kept their broadband service, but “are among the most avid and wide-ranging internet users for advice and understanding,” said Pew.

According to the Pew Internet report, “The Internet and the Recession,” the main activities of the “online economic users in the past year” include price comparisons, job searches, seeking advice on personal finances, material on how to improve job-related skills, loans, and unemployment benefits, and checking real estate values, the release said.

Also weighing into the broadband-and-the-economy debate was the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a technology think tank, and Speed Matters, the campaign of the Communications Workers of America. For every $5 billion dollars invested in broadband, according to the two groups, 250,000 jobs are created, including “100,000 direct and indirect jobs from telecom and IT equipment spending plus another 150,000 in “network effects” spurring new online applications and services.”

A fact sheet created by ITIF and Speed Matters also stated that “with every percentage point increase in broadband penetration, employment expands by nearly 300,000 jobs,” partly because “broadband networks attract investment to areas that would not otherwise be viable to many businesses such as rural areas and inner-city regions.”

While consumers and the economy as a whole have benefited tremendously from the use of broadband, many parts of the country still have not fully taken part.

Part of the problem, according the fact sheet, is that “many lawmakers still conceive of high speed Internet as an optional luxury instead of a necessary foundation for economic success.”

In order to fix this problem, the fact sheet recommended supporting tax incentives for broadband providers to expand networks with speed requirements “capable of sustaining the business demands of tomorrow,” encouraging efforts to expand high speed networks to economically depressed areas with high unemployment and underserved rural areas, and connecting programs for affordable computer purchase, broadband access and digital literacy linked with job training for low-income and displaced workers.

Broadband and Economic Development: How Deep is the Alliance?

in Broadband Stimulus/NTIA by

News | NTIA-RUS Forums | Day 6, Sessions 3

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 – The final session of the NTIA/RUS public forums on implementing broadband stimulus legislation focused on the role that broadband deployment can play in economic development

Bob Atkinson of the Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information, and the moderator for most of the sessions in a marathon six days of public meetings by the Commerce and Agriculture Departments, set the session in motion by asking the panelists and public to “provide the NTIA and RUS with good ideas about how we promote community economic development through the broadband stimulus program.”

Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Agriculture’s Department’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) co-sponsored the six days’ worth of joint meetings. Of the total, four days’ sessions were held in the Commerce Department’s auditorium, and two day’s worth were held in Las Vegas and Flagstaff, Ariz.

The topic of community economic development on Tuesday brought the jobs creation provision of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) under the spotlight. It also brought out a diverse contingent of eight panelists.

The panelists were the U.S. Pan-Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, the National Rural Health Association, the National Emergency Number Association, Ronson Network Services Corp., the National Association of Development Organizations, the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Communications Workers Of America and Argent Associates.

Much of the ideas offered by the panelists were long recitations of existing programs that might be leveraged. No good cause was left unheralded.

As was evident in the prior panels, panelists and questioners made passionate pleas to use contract law and administrative rule-making procedures to further their proposed interests in the allocation process.

Given the enormity of the topic and broad constituent base of the panelists, the public and participants struggled to make sense of the implications of ubiquitous broadband for community economic development.

No one advocated the phrase “build it and they will come,” but everyone agreed that a health care, emergency services and education were essential to attracting businesses to a community. Everyone agreed that broadband was essential. In other words, building-out broadband does not create certainty, it is merely necessary to be a viable economic contender.

Individuals familiar with implementing federally community economic development said that process and political inertia would establish reporting terms whose efforts would be judged by the number of jobs created.

The panelists offered several examples of existing models that could be used to make estimates.

No one asked if measuring the number of jobs created by broadband stimulus was a good idea. No one asked if existing jobs estimating models were even relevant to the new paradigm offered by ubiquitous broadband. It was taken as a given.

Small business concerns were vocal, especially disadvantaged small businesses. Their appeals for codifying small business participation in the grant and loan process appeared to include an assumption that standard procurement practices would govern the NTIA/RUS grants.

Additionally, no one addressed the schedule impact of sorting out North American Industrial Classification Codes (NAICs) and associated size standards. No one questioned whether the 8a certification for disadvantaged small businesses imposed constraints upon an owner’s net worth that would affect the ability of such a firm to draw the required capital.

The panel and audience were uncomfortable with the tension between quick economic job creation and careful community business development, which can take years to accomplish.

Success in community development is measured on a scale of two to ten years, and not 10 months to two years. Susan Au Allen, the national president of the U.S. Pan Asian American chamber of commerce summed it up well:

“Because long-term, to achieve community economic development in many of the communities across a very diverse rural America, this is going to be a patient process, and it takes a lot of time, and as the people at USDA know, since they have an active rural development program, you know, this is not something you can achieve overnight.”

The frenzied pace of stimulus leaves many concerned that “things will happen so fast that we will be left out,” said Allen.

1 2 3
Go to Top