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Genachowski: Broadband is the ‘Platform’ for All Forms of Communication

in FCC/National Broadband Plan/Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, November 23, 2009 – In an interview for C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” series, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski spoke of the national broadband plan that is currently being put together, as well as the short term progress that has happened in relation to broadband.

Genachowski spoke of what should be done in order to help preserve the Internet for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The broadband “platform,” according to Genachowski, is a platform that everyone takes part in; from communicating with friends and family, to communicating for working purpose. Even now, engaging with the government and its services is done on this platform.

“This is our platform for innovation,” he says.

When the America Reinvestment and Recovery Act was enacted in beginning of 2009, Congress identified that broadband was important to the “strategic priority for America,” meaning the importance of supplying broadband to every citizen of America and to supply even more successful broadband to national services including education, public safety and health care.

Genachowski said that last week the agency unanimously voted to speed up the process of “tower siting for mobile devices. This is “something that can somewhat contribute to the near creation of jobs,” saying that the creation of jobs needs to occur sooner rather than later.

Genachowski spoke about other problems besides job creation during the interview.

The Universal Service Fund, for example, was first started to help promote telephone services to those not connected to telecommunications services. Saying that the USF needed to be more focused on broadband, Genachowski said, “we need to find a way to reform universal services [so] that it rings out efficiencies, saves money, and doesn’t implement a burden on the consumers.”

According to Genachowski, the next generation entrepreneurs are the ones who will be source of new content, and it will be through the deployment and adoption of broadband that the flow of content will increase.

He also promoted the need for network neutrality. “Broadband is the platform for the free flow of information, platform for economic growth and the platform of innovation,” he said. There needs to be a way “to preserve a free and open internet,” letting everyone have access to this information.

With the knowledge that this is “such an important time, in respect for communications,” the FCC is gathering information relating to all topics and fields and hope to create a plan that is best for consumers.

“What we want to do is to develop a living, breathing plan that makes progress and sets milestones that has mechanisms built in to continually improve the plan,” Genachowski said in the interview. “As the technology changes, we can learn what does and doesn’t work.”

Governors of Illinois and Kansas Winnow State Broadband Stimulus Applications

in Broadband Stimulus/NTIA/Premium Content by

October 20, 2009 – The states of Illinois and Kansas on Tuesday released their recommendations for the first round of broadband stimulus funding, with Illinois winnowing 140 applicants for broadband projects to a list of 31 proposed projects, and Kansas narrowing its pool of 85 applicants to 22.

Merely because a project is on the list of recommendations from a state does not guarantee acceptance by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service – nor does it mean that the federal government must select from among candidates on the state-approved list.

In his October 14 letter to Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Gov. Pat Quinn said that from the time that he was chairman of the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council, “one of my long-standing priorities is to improve the cost, speed and availability of world-class information and communication networks in rural, low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

“I firmly believe that broadband progress made possible by the BTOP will hasten innovation in education, government, public safety, health care, economic and community development in Illinois,” said Quinn. “Seldom does one program offer such promise.”

In Kansas, the dollar sum of the 22 projects recommended by Gov. Mark Parkinson totaled $283 million, with the most expensive recommended project being that of Pixius Communications, requesting grant funding to construct a wireless middle mile network, for $55 million. The lowest-cost recommended grant belonged to the Miami County Medical Center, for $141,000, to upgrade T-1 lines replace digital subscriber lines for connectivity with eight rural clinics and one outpatient rehabilitation facility serving rural populations

In the portions of this story included below as premium content, BroadbandCensus.com provides links to uploaded copies of the October 14 letters of Govs. Quinn of Illinois and Mark Parkinson of Kansas, along with further information about the projects hotlined by the governors for approval by NTIA and RUS. The Illinois letter is also available on Broadband.illinois.gov.

Content available for Paid and Trial Subscribers of BroadbandCensus.com Weekly Report. Click here to subscribe.

[private_Premium Content][private_Free Trial]In Illinois, Quinn said that the state has made a $50 million state investment in broadband projects and has “partnered with public universities to provide grant writing assistance to groups seeking to serve Illinois, and finally, in the interest of smart planning, we called on our state transportation and [information technology] departments to install fiber optic duct (where it does not already exist) in all new public construction projects that open, bore, or trench alongside State-owned infrastructure.”

In Kansas, Gov. Parkinson said that the state established its own scoring criteria in which “a high level of emphasis was placed on the state’s priority areas (telemedicine, distance learning, economic development, e-government), as well as the needs of unserved and rural Kansans.”

Of the 85 applicants with projects in Kansas, 62 submitted self-scoring information.

Gov. Parkinson also highlighted the fact that the state “did not attempt to validate applicants’ claims of meeting the needs of unserved populations” because “providers and other applicants will have a period to voice such concerns through the federal process.”

Kansas

The October 14 letter to the NTIA by Gov. Mark Parkinson (PDF): ntia-letter-10-13-09

The October 14 PDF of Kansas’ prioritized projects: kansas-btop-recommended-projects

Below is a list of the 22 project recommended in Kansas, listed from the most costly to the least costly.

Applicant | Project title | Project type | Grant request | Description

  • Pixius Communications, LLC | Fixed Wireless Infrastructure Proposal for Kansas and portions of IA, MO, NE and OK | Middle Mile | $55,323,931 | Pixius Communications, LLC is requesting grant funding to construct a wireless middle mile network that will support (1) the expansion of Pixius’s wireless broadband service in rural unserved and underserved areas and (2) provision of new wireless services by other carriers. The project covers 98 counties in Kansas and certain surrounding counties in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
  • Logiclink Inc. | Economically Sustainable Business Anywhere® Center for Broadband Adoption and Household Subscription | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $41,519,307 | 1,731 self-serve centers providing free broadband access shall be implemented at public safety agencies, community anchor organizations and small businesses in all unserved and underserved rural counties. A membership program offering broadband based services such as training, health care, community development and business opportunities shall stimulate adoption and sustain household subscription.
  • Allegiance Communications | Allegiance Fiber To The Home | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $31,436,003 | Fiber to the home deployment across Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas
  • EchoStar XI Operating L.L.C. | Customer Premises Equipment Coupon Program | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $28,350,000 | The Customer Premises Equipment (“CPE”) Coupon Program will encourage wider adoption of broadband service by providing consumers with the training and equipment they will need to become successful broadband users. The program will also promote the availability of broadband service to increase awareness.
  • Connected Nation | EVERY CITIZEN ONLINE | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $24,000,000 | Every Citizen Online is a public-private partnership program to enable computer ownership and broadband use in low-income homes. The program will help vulnerable populations overcome barriers to adoption. Joining together technology companies and local entities, the program will provide digital literacy and help unconnected consumers purchase a broadband-enabled computer using an instant rebate.
  • The World Company d/b/a Sunflower Broadband | Fiber to the Prairie | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $18,008,144 | The project is a fiber-to-the-home Last Mile construction design for broadband services to rural underserved areas concentrated in the Kansas counties of Douglas and Leavenworth. The project includes a 146 Middle Mile component designed to provide higher performance broadband to underserved areas and community anchors.
  • Federation of American Scientists | Innovation in Education and Workforce Training; Critical Uses of a New Virtual World Framework | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $14,809,084 | This project unites innovators in broadband education and training in creating a national software infrastructure that will dramatically transform the way education and training is created, maintained and delivered. Exemplar content (science and math games, green jobs and emergency response training) will prepare users for new jobs and drive broadband demand.
  • Nex-Tech Wireless, LLC | Far East Kansas Build (2) | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $12,854,711 | This project aims to provide 3G wireless broadband coverage in underserved areas in far eastern Kansas. The majority of these areas are rural with less than 40 percent broadband penetration. The applicant is already an established wireless operator in Kansas and will leverage its experience building and maintaining a wireless network to successfully complete this project.
  • Xanadoo Broadband, LLC | Xanadoo – WiMAX service in Kansas | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $10,018,196 | Xanadoo Broadband, LLC (the Applicant) and its affiliate Xanadoo, LLC (together “Xanadoo”) will build and operate a mobile terrestrial wireless network using WiMAX technology to deliver internet access speeds of at least 3-5 Mbs. The service area will cover 52 communities and over 300,000 people in eastern Kansas.
  • Kansas Broadband Internet, Inc. | Eastern Kansas WiMax Project | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $9,086,387 | This “shovel ready”project is a cost effective wireless network using 4G WiMax technology to deliver high speed internet to rural areas. Key features of this network design are being able to rapidly deploy robust service offerings into new areas at a fraction of the cost of wire line networks and meeting the higher service level demands of today’s educational, entertainment and business needs.
  • American Fiber Systems, Inc. | BTOP: Expanding & Enabling Broadband Technology & Competition in the Kansas City, MO and KS area | Middle Mile | $6,129,946 | This shovel ready Mid Mile project will provide underserved areas, anchor institutions, children, health care, education & businesses with cost effective scalable access to a state of the art high capacity fiber network designed to provide broadband services & enable multiple Last Mile Providers. Since 2000 AFS has deployed & currently operates 9 open access networks of similar or greater scale.
  • Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation | Connect Kansas – Sustainable Broadband Adoption Initiative | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $5,962,912 | Kansas Farm Bureau and Connected Nation propose a statewide broadband adoption initiative in accordance with the requirements of the BTOP’s sustainable broadband adoption category. The non-profit organizations are laying the foundation for unprecedented progress in digital literacy and use – the benefits of which will open a world of educational, economic, and social opportunities for Kansans.
  • Nex-Tech Wireless, LLC | East Kansas Build (1) | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $5,553,317 | This project aims to expand 3G EV-DO Rev A wireless broadband coverage to underserved areas in east Kansas. These areas are primarily rural with less than 40 percent broadband penetration. The applicant is already an established wireless operator in Kansas and will leverage its existing spectrum and experience building and maintaining a wireless network to successfully complete this project.
  • Foundation Telecommunications Inc | FTI High Speed Satellite Internet Package for Rural & RemoteSmall Communities | Last Mile Remote Area | $5,246,703 | The Foundation Telecommunications, Inc. (“FTI”) proposes our Two-Way Commercial Satellite Internet Service to address 115 small rural communities across 10 states that are located so far from conventional terrestrial resources that DSL or other means will not likely be offered within the foreseeable future and is economically unjustifiable at this time.
  • Lawrence Freenet, Inc. | Freenet Underserved & Rural Broadband Initiative | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $4,160,962 | Lawrence Freenet, Inc. broadband initiative to expand infrastructure, enabling access to broadband services for the unserved rural residents of Douglas County and provide broadband access to the underserved throughout Douglas County.
  • Kansas Board of Regents, Kan-ed | Kan-ed: Scaling Up Video Teleconferencing Services to Enhance Public Access in Kansas Libraries | Public Computer Center | $3,924,893 | Kan-ed will scale up high definition videoconferencing facilities in 90 public libraries in Kansas. Federal funding is requested to procure, install, and use HD videoconferencing equipment within the LAN at each premise. When complete, all 105 counties in Kansas will benefit from expanded access to economic development resources, distance education programs, telehealth and e-government services.
  • Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation | Connect Kansas – Sedan Broadband Communications Center | Public Computer Center | $2,057,546 | The Sedan Broadband Communication Center will give rural citizens access to technology and information that will allow them to solve individual and community problems. The SBCC will encompass all aspects of rural life, from education to health care to economic development. The SBCC will revitalize rural communities by forging new opportunities focused on technology, not size or location.
  • Broadband Alliance | Bi-lingual Broadband Education | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $1,940,000 | In support of Broadband USA, we will be developing bi-ligual education programs to identify and assist rural and disadvantaged subscribers. To optimize learning we will use a variety of mediums to educate; including virtual coloring books and self paced on-line learning. As an additional feature we will be providing a wizard to help subscribers select the best service for their budget.
  • Home Communications, Inc. | Fiber To The Home in Rural Kansas | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $1,002,438 | Home Communications, Inc. (“Home Communications”) proposes to bring broadband using fiber to the home (“FTTH”) technology to rural areas surrounding Canton, Kansas.
  • Level 3 EON, LLC | Expanding broadband access across Kansas | Middle Mile | $998,852 | Level 3 EON proposes a middle-mile project to leverage its national fiber optic network by opening new access points offering underserved areas a new on-ramp to high-speed services. By investing in additional fiber optic transmission equipment and supporting network elements last mile providers and their subscribers will gain access to the national Internet backbone at lower costs.
  • Cellular Network Partnerships | Barber County Mobile Broadband | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $559,405 | Cellular Network Partners proposes to provide wireless broadband services in southwest Kansas. The $1,130,112 wireless project provides data and voice services to unserved and underserved areas. The shovel ready project will add 2 new construction jobs and 1 sustained jobs.
  • Miami County Medical Center | Broadband and Enhanced Medical Care (Equipment for Network only) | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $141,116 | This preoject seeks toimprove the speed and efficiency of connectivity through the application and upgrading of T-1 lines between Olathe Medical Center and Miami County Medical Center and replace DSL lines for connectivity with 8 rural cllinics and 1 outpatient rehab facility serving the rural populations of Linn, Franklin and Miami County (Kansas)

Illinois

The October 14 letter to the NTIA by Gov. Pat Quinn (PDF): btop_prioritization

Below is a list of the 31 projects recommended by the state of Illinois:

18 highly recommended Infrastructure projects (alphabetical order):

  • 4SIWI LLC | 4SIWI 5 County Expansion proposal
  • Aurora, Illinois | Aurora Municipal Broadband for Education, Economic Development, Healthcare and the Digital Divide
  • Blackhawk Hills Resource Conservation & Development | Blackhawk Hills Fiber Optic System
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois | Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband – Below Ground (UC2B Middle Mile & Last Mile Infrastructure)
  • Carl Sandburg College | EduNet Wireless Wide Area Network Expansion
  • Central Management Services | Illinois Century Network BIG: Bringing Illinois Gigaspeeds
  • City of Highland | FTTx Broadband Service to Underserved of Rural Highland, IL
  • City of Rockford | Greater Rockford Area Fiber Optic System
  • DeKalb County Government | DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority Broadband
  • Delta Communications, LLC dba Clearwave Communications | Southern Illinois Middle Mile
  • Gargoyle Technologies, Inc. dba Volo Broadband | Champaign County Broadband Backbone
  • Gargoyle Technologies, Inc. dba Volo Broadband | Champaign County Volo
  • Geneseo Communications, Inc. | Rural Illinois Community Connect
  • Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative | West Central Illinois Broadband
  • Norlight Telecommunications, Inc. | Rural High-Speed Ethernet Network – Southern Illinois
  • SmartChicago Broadband Infrastructure | SmartChicago Broadband Infrastructure
  • South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association | SSMMA Regional Broadband Connectivity Project
  • Tel-Star Cablevision Inc. | QCRB (Quad County Rural Broadband)

9 highly recommended Public Computer Center projects (alphabetical order):

  • B&J Computers Inc. | B&J Training Center
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois | Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband Above Ground
  • Center of Higher Development | Connecting, Widening, and Strengthening Communities
  • Housing Authority of the City of Rock Island | One Stop Technology Centers
  • Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative | West Central Illinois Computer Centers
  • Lawndale Business and Local Development Corp. | Lawndale Network Training Centers
  • Lumity | Lumity Community Centers Of Excellence Program
  • SmartChicago Public Computer Centers | SmartChicago Public Computer Centers
  • Zion-Benton Public Library District | Steps to Success

4 highly recommended Sustainable Broadband Adoption projects (alphabetical order):

  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois | Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband Above Ground SBA
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute | Broadband at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute Learning Resource and Research Center
  • Connect SI Foundation, Inc. | Connect SI Content Development Team (CDT)
  • SmartChicago Sustainable Broadband Adoption | SmartChicago Sustainable Broadband Adoption

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.[/private_Premium Content][/private_Free Trial]

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American Library Association to Hold BTOP Webinar, Releases 'Nuts and Bolts' Guide

in Broadband Stimulus/Broadband's Impact/NTIA by

WASHINGTON, August 5, 2009 – The American Libraries Association will hold its third and final webinar on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET, before the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) first-round applications are due on Friday, August 14. This webinar will focus on the “nuts and bolts” of the application process for libraries.

The ALA on Wednesday released “A Note on Resources about Jobs and the Economy: Assistance for the Library Community in Their Applications to the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program,” supporting the webinar materials.

This document is in tandem with an informational guide already posted the association.

“We want to ensure every library interested in BTOP funding has the knowledge and guidance necessary for a successful application,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office.

While informing the library community about the Notice of Funding Availability and application guidelines, the ALA Washington Office has also advocated for improvements to the BTOP Broadband Infrastructure Program so that libraries are more likely to apply and receive funding in the second and third rounds of the grant program.

Also on Wednesday, the ALA highlighted “U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services,” a report which found that 61 percent of libraries report providing access to government information as one of the most critical internet services they provide. The study also points to the increasing public dependence on library computers, highlighting another ALA study that reported the public library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of America’s communities.

Additional ALA resources can be found at www.ala.org/knowyourstimulus.

Government Should Promote Broadband Adoption and Focus on the Unserved, Says Cable Chief

in Broadband Stimulus/Broadband's Impact/NTIA by

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2009 – Broadband stimulus funds should be prioritized to unserved areas and encourage greater adoption, National Cable and Telecommunications Association president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow wrote in a Thursday letter to members of Congress.

McSlarrow wrote to express NCTA’s enthusiastic support for the broadband stimulus programs, while informing lawmakers of the group’s preferred direction for grant programs.

“Our industry applauds the renewed focus on broadband” that the stimulus funding represents, McSlarrow wrote. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, signed by President Obama on February 17, allocates $7.2 billion for broadband programs to be administered by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service, with input from the Federal Communications Commission.

Congress should be a vigilant watchdog of the broadband grant funding, McSlarrow said. He suggested that lawmakers build “a framework within which these agencies, with appropriate oversight by Congress, can ensure accountability and most effectively meet the objectives of the Recovery Act with regard to broadband deployment and adoption.”

Extending service to the “small percentage of the nation’s homes with no physical access to broadband” should be the first priority of the grant programs, McSlarrow wrote.

McSlarrow emphasized that once the network is built, Congress must look to overcoming other barriers that prevent more widespread broadband adoption: “the lack of a computer or other equipment needed to connect to the Internet, low levels of basic ‘digital literacy’, and the lack of perceived value in broadband services.”

Funds remaining after build-out should be spent on “supporting programs that enable underserved populations to acquire and make effective use of broadband services where it already available,” he said.

In an interview, McSlarrow elaborated that the federal government should use its position to promote the benefits of broadband services. Consumers would see government as “more objective” in illustrating how broadband is relevant in their lives, or “why broadband matters not just to the country, but also to them as individuals.”

McSlarrow cited a Pew Internet & American Life Project study while suggesting a major factor behind low broadband adoption in many communities is those consumers “just don’t understand why it matters to them,” according to McSlarrow.

If government is to invest in building out broadband networks, McSlarrow said it should use a proportionate amount of resources to encourage more widespread adoption to overcome a perceived lack of relevance to some consumers. “If you’re going to… get everybody connected, you’ve got [to] go right after that specific challenge,” he said.

The new administration’s high regard for the usefulness of broadband should have ordinary people paying attention: “The fact that President Obama says broadband is important – that’s a statement that people are going to filter into their own lives.”

Despite the problems that lay ahead in getting all Americans to be active online, McSlarrow was optimistic about the benefits of expanding broadband beyond the 65 percent of Americans who already subscribe to high-speed services. “The truth is, we only have a faint glimpse of what’s to come if you have an America… that is completely connected,” he said. “We don’t even know what’s around the corner.”

In a separate interview, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said that the FCC should take a “comprehensive approach” in working together with other agencies to develop a national broadband strategy.

Adelstein suggested such a strategy should work “on both the demand side and the supply side,” in order to reach underserved populations: “I think a big part of looking at smart nationwide broadband deployment involves…not only ensuring that people understand not only the benefits of broadband but are encouraged to use it.”

Adelstein said government could increase demand for broadband services is by developing solutions “that help people use broadband to interact with the government.” Aggressive deployment of e-government programs could help assure broadband providers that there would be sufficient demand for their services once networks are built out, he said.

Reports in the telecommunications trade press place Adelstein, formerly an advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., on the short list to run the Rural Utilities Service after his second term at the FCC expires this June.

But Adelstein said he is focused on the goal of developing a national broadband plan – an initiative he has championed for most of his tenure at the commission. Adelstein wouldn’t comment on what he called “future possibilities” at the Agriculture department: “I’m focused on what I’m doing here.”

Broadband Breakfast Club

March Meeting: Broadband Competition: Do We Have It, and How Do We Get More of It?

BroadbandCensus.com presents the March meeting of the Broadband Breakfast Club at Old Ebbitt Grill on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at 8 a.m. Because of the Commerce Department/Agriculture Department/FCC Public Meeting on broadband stimulus from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Broadband Breakfast Club will adjourn at 9:30 a.m.

  • NEW! – James Baller, President of Baller Herbst Law Group, will provide a brief summary of the progress of the U.S. Broadband Coalition
  • Art Brodsky, Communication Director, Public Knowledge
  • Kathleen Ham, Vice President, Federal Regulatory, T-Mobile USA
  • Brent Olson, Assistant Vice President, Public Policy, AT&T
  • Emmett O’Keefe, Director, Federal Public Policy, Amazon.com
  • Scott Wallsten, Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute

Webcasts of the Broadband Breakfast Club Produced in Partnership with:

TV Mainstream

What Role Does Entertainment, E-government, and Telemedicine Play in Driving Broadband?

in Broadband Calendar by

Officials from Walt Disney, Public Technology Institute, Institute for e-Health Policy, App-Rising.com and BroadbandCensus.com at Broadband Breakfast Club on December 9

Press Releases

WASHINGTON, December 2, 2008 – Officials representing the users of high-speed internet services – particularly in the fields of entertainment, e-government, and telemedicine – will appear at the next monthly event of the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, December 9.

The panelists are Susan Fox, vice president of government relations for Walt Disney; Neal Neuberger, executive director of the Institute for e-Health Policy; Alan Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute; and Geoff Daily, a telecom blogger at App-Rising.com.

The discussion will be centered around the theme of “How Applications and Broadband Mapping Harness Demand for High-Speed Internet.” As with each monthly meeting of the breakfast club, the discussion will take place at the Old Ebbitt Grill, at 675 15th Street NW, in Washington.

Breakfast host and moderator Drew Clark, executive director of BroadbandCensus.com, will join in the discussion and offer his perspective on how broadband mapping can help aggregate demand for high-speed services.

Adoption of broadband is widely regarded as one of at least three core components of a national broadband strategy that also includes access (broadband is universally available) and affordability (prices for broadband are falling, as with other information-economy goods).

The Broadband Breakfast Club discussion on December 9 aims to energetically dive into the issue of broadband adoption. What applications are necessary to drive demand? What can policy-makers do to promote broadband demand? What role can information about availability and affordability – such as the free data on BroadbandCensus.com – play in harnessing this demand into new high-speed subscribers?

Beginning at 8 a.m., an American plus Continental breakfast is available downstairs in the Cabinet Room. This is followed by a discussion, beginning around 8:40 a.m. and ending at 10 a.m. The breakfast club  meets on the second Tuesday of each month until March 2009. The registration page for the event is http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com.

The November meeting, “Should Government Funding Be Part of a National Broadband Plan?” featured a discussion with Stan Fendley of Corning, Kyle McSlarrow of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and telecommunications consultant John Windhausen, Jr.

The meeting on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, will be on “What Will Broadband Do to the Universal Service Fund?” It will feature Gregory Rohde, Executive Director, E-Copernicus/E9-1-1 Institute, and other panelists.

The meeting on Tuesday, February 10, 2009, will be on “The Role of Wireless Frequencies in Widespread Broadband Deployment.”

The meeting on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, will be on “Broadband Competition: Do We Have It, and How Do We Get More of It?” and will feature James Baller, president of Baller Herbst Law Group; Art Brodsky, communication director of Public Knowledge; Scott Wallsten, vice president for research and senior fellow, Technology Policy Institute; and others.

Registration for future breakfasts is available at http://broadbandbreakfastclub.eventbrite.com.

Because of the limited size of the venue, seated attendance will be reserved the first 45 individuals to register. There are no restrictions on who may register to attend. With the exception of speakers, there is a $45.00 charge (plus a modest Eventbrite fee) to attend. The events are on the record.

About BroadbandCensus.com

BroadbandCensus.com is a free information and news service, launched in January 2008, that provides the public with an objective measure of where broadband is available, which carriers offer it, whether their actual speeds match their promised speeds, and how consumers rate their service quality.

BroadbandCensus.com provides data and reporting about broadband in the states, and about telecommunications policy issues. BroadbandCensus.com uses “crowdsourcing” to allow internet users to share information about their internet experiences. Take the Broadband Census today at http://broadbandcensus.com/census/form.

To Make Government More Transparent, 'Embarrass' Federal Agencies

in Broadband's Impact by

By William G. Korver, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com

WASHINGTON, July 31 – Part of the job of Congress is to “embarrass” federal agencies whose projects are often late and over budget, the chairman of a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee said Thursday.

Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., the chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, went so far as to say that some federal agencies need “a swift kick in the pants.”

Carper was the only senator to attend the hearing.

But Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology in the Office of Management and Budget, disagreed.

The OMB’s role is not one of “an auditor,” and does not act out of a desire to “embarrass or shame” any particular agency, said Evans. The OMB has less than forthcoming about some agency mishaps because the OMB has not had all available data.

David Powner, the director of information technology management issues for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), said that the Bush administration had proven itself to be “reluctant to highlight [the] shortfalls” encountered by various agencies. He said that the government need to promote greater transparency by federal agencies.

The hearing came against the backdrop of reports indicating that $57 billion in federal information technology (IT) spending was in danger of failing. That sum represents 81 percent of the total federal IT budget.

Thomas Jarrett, the secretary and chief information officer for Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information, also said that Congress should not be concerned about “shaming” federal agencies as much good may come from the less than comfortable situation.

Norm Brown, executive director of the Center For Program Transformation, said that increased visibility on inadequate government performance was necessary.

A “train wreck” would be the result if transparency is not made a more pressing goal in the country, Brown warned.

However, Alfred Grasso, CEO of the Mitre Corporation, cautioned that some of the low scores could be because the lower-scoring agencies work may be on the level of Advanced Placement classes, while the agencies with higher marks are involved in standard-level activities.

Brown was supportive of Carper’s idea of creating an “IT strike team” to partner with OMB.

National Tech Policy: Which Way Forward?

in Expert Opinion by

Blog Entries

NEW YORK, June 24, Afternoon Panel -This afternoon, the Personal Democracy Forum features a panel with some of the leading minds in technologies policy and moderator Andrew Rasiej wants to know “what would you do as part of a new administration to impact tech policy on day 1 in 2009?”

One of the original Internet architects and current evangelizer for Google, Vint Cerf, would “get rid of the FCC and get Congress to work”; Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch would start with an IP bill of rights; Alec Ross, who advises Senator Barack Obama, would appoint a Chief Technology Officer; Josh Silver, co-founder of Free Press, would use the Presidential bully-pulpit to explain issues of digital policy to Americans (oh, and Josh would also open up White Spaces, protect muni-broadband, institute net neutrality, and add broadband to the Universal Service policy…); Claudio Prado, who has served in the Ministry of Brazil, would work on explaining tech policy to the rest of his government and make sure every Ministry understands what “Peeracy” is (note: it’s a peer to peer movement and pirates are not allowed).

Alec’s recommendation induces some comments from Vint Cerf and some members of the audience regarding the potential conflict with having a top-down CTO administer bottom-up and distributive technologies. Alec concedes that a tech politcy, particularly not Barack Obama’s tech policy, does not start or end with a CTO and that the goal of universal broadband would be just as important.

There was a great deal of convergence among the panelists around the idea that governments must change their ways of thinking about technology and policy in order to transform technology policy. Claudio describes 20th century, industrial thinking as being a barrier to such a transformation and that people from outside of government are sometimes more fit to help in this regard. Erick seems to agree with this in his recommendation that “one of the five FCC comissioners needs to be an engineer and not a lawyer.” Alec follows-up these points by submitting that Vint Cerf’s initiative announced earlier today, Internet For Everyone, is an example of people outside of government having a better understanding of the public good when it comes to technology

Picking up on Mr. Cerf’s earlier statements regarding the ideals embodied by Internet For Everyone, an audience member asks the panel what the killer app will be of the Internet of the future, the “Internet of Many Things.” (Note: this is referring to the many different devices, from toasters to phones to heating and air that will be connected to the Internet in the near future).

Alec submits that the Internet needs “public purpose content” and that it will arrive in the future. He has started an NGO that is attempting to do just that (be the PBS/NPR for the Internet), but Vint disagrees a bit and says that “content comes from the users and we’re already at the tipping point” – there is plenty on the net for everyone. For Mr. Cerf, the coming killer apps are security, authenticity, and device management.

Audience member and Columbia Professor Tim Wu wants to know if the panel thinks tech policy will ever be more to a campaign or national policy than just a third-tier or “geek issue.” Mr. Cerf thinks it might be more than that one day, but wonders aloud if that will necessarily improve tech policy outcomes. Claudio suspects the question implies narrow thinking about how Internet policy issues can be addressed and submits that the Internet is a transnational issue and needs a transnational discussion.

Panelists and audience members alike call for a consideration of the goals of tech policy in order to determine the approach to it. Josh Silver sums it up in four words: fast, affordable, open Internet. For Alec Ross, tech policy should aim to create a citizen-centered government. Claudio Prado would simply like to see a tech policy that empowers people while Erick demands that technologies and policy contribute to better, more efficient governance.

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