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Kenneth Flamm

Proprietary Data Cited as Challenge for Broadband Mapping

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Editor’s Note: The following story was published in TR Daily on September 26, 2008, and is reprinted with the permission of Telecommunications Reports International, Inc. This article is and remains Copyright 2008 Telecommunications Reports International, Inc.

By Lynn Stanton, TR Daily

State and federal government programs to develop maps of broadband service availability at a granular level must overcome objections by carriers to revealing what they view as proprietary information, although carriers may actually find the resulting maps beneficial, panelists at the Broadband Census for America Conference said today.

Speaking at the conference held at the Washington office of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Art Brodsky, director-communications at Public Knowledge, criticized the carriers’ objections to broadband mapping projects by questioning the proprietary and competitive value of information on where carriers have already deployed broadband services. He noted that carriers are not being asked about future deployment plans, which would more clearly involve competitive concerns.

Drew Clark, executive director of BroadbandCensus.com, which was one of the sponsors of the conference, noted that the FCC and carriers have objected to attempts to obtain underlying carrier data on broadband deployment submitted to the FCC, arguing that disclosure causes competitive harm by permitting new entrants to better target those areas lacking broadband competition. Because the data submitted to the FCC has not been made publicly available, BroadbandCensus.com and others, including the Communication Workers of America’s Speed Matters program, have resorted to obtaining information directly from consumers, a process Mr. Clark termed “crowd-sourcing.” By submitting information on their own service at a particular location, and taking download and upload speed tests, individual users can participate in the development of broadband maps or databases.

Mr. Clark said the three purposes of BroadbandCensus.com are to aid the process of competition, serve policy-makers, and aid consumers.

Mark McElroy, chief operating officer of Connected Nation, said that a mapping program will be beneficial if it’s relevant to consumers, in that the map can tell them if they can get broadband at home; if it’s relevant to providers, in that it can let them know where and why they should extend their networks; and if it’s relevant to increased digital literacy, in that it can be used in conjunction with an effective demand stimulation effort.

Debbie Goldman, coordinator of the CWA’s Speed Matters, said that in developing broadband mapping and deployment policies, “the states are the laboratories because unfortunately we don’t have a national policy.”

Kenneth Flamm, a professor of public affairs the University of Texas-Austin, said that collecting information on broadband use “is a job actually for the federal government and the federal statistical agencies,” but that they lack adequate funding and don’t do a good job of keeping up with relatively new services. “There shouldn’t be an argument about whether the government going out to try to measure the state of the market is somehow infringing [on private companies] . . . There’s no private-public conflict here,” he added.

A member of the audience suggested the Internal Revenue Service and private online tax-filing companies could capture information on broadband connection rates with an “opt-in” speed-test at the time of filing. Mr. Flamm said that was a “clever idea.”

Speaking during the closing keynote, Eamonn Confrey, first secretary-information and communications policy at the Irish Embassy in Washington, explained his country’s broadband initiatives, which include its broadband.gov.ie website. The overall purpose of the site is to help consumers and small business, he said. While customers cannot order broadband service on the site, it does include links to broadband providers in their area. It also has a tool to check if digital subscriber line (DSL) service – the principal nonmobile broadband technology in Ireland – is available at the user’s fixed-line phone number.

The website also allows consumers “to register their demand for broadband,” so providers can see where there is demand.

“Initially, there was a lot of resistance from larger providers” to listing their services on the website, which is a voluntary process for providers, Mr. Confrey said. Eventually, however, they came to see it as a competitive disadvantage not to be listed there. The website “has proved to be a win-win for provider and consumer alike,” he added.

The government also recently launched a national broadband scheme to reach the remaining 10% of the population that does not have broadband service available, Mr. Confrey said. The government provides funding to induce broadband in those areas while setting requirements to ensure that “the winning company won’t be able to cherry-pick” within the contracted area.

Mr. Confrey emphasized that the Irish government views broadband deployment as “an economic competitiveness issue for us,” as the country seeks to retain employers like Yahoo, Inc., and Google, Inc., that are attracted by an English-speaking, “fairly well educated” workforce in Europe. “You simply won’t retain that kind of investment without the infrastructure,” he added.

- Lynn Stanton, lynn.stanton@wolterskluwer.com

TR Daily, September 26, 2008

Copyright © 2008, Telecommunications Reports International, Inc.

House Defers to Senate Broadband Data Bill; Final Bill Deletes Funding and National Map

in Broadband Data by

WASHINGTON, October 7 – Congress last week passed legislation, the “Broadband Data Improvement Act,” that seeks better information about high-speed internet connections through enhanced data collection by five separate government agencies.

But as passed by the Senate and the House, S. 1492 deleted all authorization of funds – an amount that had totaled $40 million for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012 in the Senate Commerce Committee version of the legislation.

Although S. 1492 was agreed to by the House, the bill undercut many of the key features of a companion House bill, the “Broadband Census of America Act,” H.R. 3919.

H.R. 3919 passed the House in November 2007. It would have forced the disclosure of company-by-company broadband data. It also would have created a national broadband map under the aegis of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, with details on broadband coverage by every broadband provider at the nine-digit ZIP code level. Both features are absent in the final bill.

The Senate finally passed S. 1492 on Friday, September 26 – the same day that many state officials and academics gathered in Washington at the “Broadband Census for America Conference” sponsored by BroadbandCensus.com, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin and Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program.

Until recently, Sen. Thomas Coburn, R-Okla., had opposed passage of S. 1492 on the grounds that the $40 million annual authorization was an unwarranted expenditure of federal monies.

The House passed a slightly-modified version of S. 1492 on Monday, September 29 – the same day that it initially rejected the $700 billion financial industry bailout package. Because of the changes, the Senate needed to clear the House-passed version. It did so last week, and the bill is currently before President Bush.

Sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, the Broadband Data Improvement Act has received wide-spread support across Congress. At a September 16 hearing, Inouye said that the measure “will give us the baseline statistics we need in order to eventually achieve the successful deployment of broadband…to all Americans.”

Some House members expressed disappointment about S. 1492’s failure to require comprehensive mapping of broadband and reporting on commercial providers on the local level.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., agreed with Inouye’s statement on the positive impact better data could have. Through an aide, Dingell said he would have preferred to create a nationwide map of broadband infrastructure and “remains hopeful we can work towards that goal as the legislation is implemented.”

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, expressed similar disappointment. In a statement, Markey said he “wish[ed] the Senate bill contained the more rigorous data collection and disclosure, as well as the mapping provisions that were contained in the House-passed bill.”

During House floor consideration of the bill on Monday, Markey was optimistic that such a comprehensive mapping effort might still be possible, arguing that “the Secretary of Commerce should create a website through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) depicting broadband inventory maps of all the States as outlined in the House-passed bill.”

The Commerce Department is one of several federal agencies that will now be tasked with improving national data on broadband services and utilizing that data to improve policies to enhance and expand the technological infrastructure, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Census Bureau (a nominally independent part of Commerce), the Government Accountability Office, and the Small Business Administration.

The Act also changes the language of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to require the FCC conduct an “annual” – in place of a “regular” – inquiry into broadband deployment and to list of all the 5-digit ZIP codes where broadband is not available in the U.S.

The reach of the Broadband Data Improvement Act could be global: the FCC is also directed to conduct studies on broadband services in 25 other nations and to report on difference and similarities between these nations and the U.S.

Likewise, the Census Bureau will have to expand its studies of America’s technology uses and include questions on computer ownership and broadband vs. dial-up adoption in its ongoing American Community Survey, according to the Act.

Progress on the Broadband Data Improvement Act came amidst heavy criticism of both the federal government’s broadband data collection methods and metrics as well as the United States’ arguably poor stature in broadband connectivity levels when compared to other nations.

The importance of improving the country’s broadband infrastructure was the subject of a recent hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, the same committee responsible for the markup of S. 1492. At the hearing, representatives from an array of consumer groups conveyed to senators the impact broadband has had on American’s lives through innovations like online education, telehealth applications, and increased employment opportunities. Broadband was even responsible for the delivery of one citizens testimony from Alaska, where citizens living on remote native American lands depend on high-speed internet for key access to virtual health care delivered from as far away as Dayton, Ohio.

Inouye concluded the hearing by stating that federal policies should better reflect the importance of broadband to the national communications system.

The following week, another set of experts gathered at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington at the Broadband Census for America Conference to discuss the importance of improving broadband data collection in order to better inform policy.

At the conference, broadband policy makers and economic experts like Professor Kenneth Flamm of the University of Texas discussed the challenge to the development of sound policy posed by the lack of quality data. “We really don’t have a lot of scientific data available on broadband right now,” Flamm said.

Former FCC Commissioner Rachelle Chong, currently a Public Utility Commission in California, presented a keynote address at conference focusing on California’s current efforts to collect granular data on broadband availability in the state. The effort seeks to improve upon the limited and highly criticized data published by the FCC.

On Capitol Hill, S. 1492 does not dictate any major reforms in the FCC methodology, a signal that Congress is largely satisfied with recent self-improvements the Commission said it would make. In June, the FCC released the details of a March order seeking collection of data about broadband availability at the census tract level. The FCC refuses to release the names of the broadband providers that offer service, citing “competitive harm” that would follow from such disclosure.

The FCC also seeks to include of speed tier data to better reflect the quality of service advertised by broadband providers.

The Broadband Data Improvement Act does attempt to improve further on some of the FCC’s metrics through other institutions. On speed and price, for example, S. 1492 calls for GAO to develop methods and metrics to measure the actual price per bit consumers receive and the actual broadband speeds they experience as well, as opposed to the advertised speeds.

While specific funding for these provisions awaits determination by the Appropriations Committee, the act does direct Commerce to establish a grants program that will match funds by state, municipal, or non-profit organizations intended for “initiatives to identify and track the availability and adoption of broadband services within each State.”

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) cited this final provision in particular on Wednesday when Ray Baum of the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, and chairman of the NARUC Telecommunications Committee, applauded Congress for acknowledging “the important role States play.” He added: “the information gained as a result of this bill will speed broadband-collection programs and help bring the power of the Internet to as many citizens as possible.”

Broadband Census Resources:

Broadband Census for America Conference: About Our Experts

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The Broadband Census for America Conference welcomes the nation’s foremost broadband policy-makers and experts on broadband data collection, distribution and mapping. Also see the official conference web page at http://broadbandcensus.com/conference.

Conference Bios and Key Resources:

  • Art Brodsky, Public Knowledge
    • Art Brodsky has been the communications director of Public Knowledge since February 2004. He is a veteran of Washington, D.C. telecommunications and Internet journalism and public relations.Art worked for 16 years with Communications Daily, a leading trade publication. He covered Congress through the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other major pieces of legislation. He also covered telephone regulation at the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and at state regulatory commissions. In addition, he has covered the online industry since before there was an Internet, coming in just after videotext died but before the World Wide Web. Art was later an editor with Congressional Quarterly, with responsibilities for the daily and Web coverage of telecom, tech and other issues. Art’s freelance work has appeared in publications as diverse as the Washington Post, Huffington Post, TomPaine.com, TPMcafe and the World Book encyclopedia. He was a commentator on the public radio program, Marketplace, and appeared on C-SPAN.On the PR front, Art worked as communications director for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and for the Washington, D.C. office of Qwest Communications International. He also does freelance PR work.Art graduated from the University of Maryland in December 1973 with High Honors and a degree in government and politics. He received a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in June 1975. He and his wife, Liz, live in Olney, MD. They have two daughters.
    • Resources:
      1. The Public Knowledge Policy Blog: Art and other PK analysts examine issues in telecom and media policy.
  • Jeffrey Campbell, Cisco Systems
    • Jeffrey A. Campbell is Senior Director, Technology and Trade Policy of Global Policy and Government Affairs for Cisco Systems, Inc., the global leader for networking for the Internet. Since 2001, he has been responsible for developing and implementing Cisco’s public policy agenda with respect to telecommunications, trade, security and technology issues. In addition to his expertise in telecommunications regulation, Mr. Campbell has been involved in public policy with respect to intellectual property law, Internet regulation, international trade and information technology regulation.Mr. Campbell is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Emerging Technologies Fund, the Family Online Safety Institute, and the Voice on the Net Coalition.Prior to this position at Cisco, Mr. Campbell headed the Washington government affairs office of Compaq Computer. Mr. Campbell began his career as a telecommunications regulatory attorney with the Washington, D.C. office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.Mr. Campbell received his B.A. in History from Yale University and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Rachelle Chong, California Public Utilities Commission
    • Commissioner Rachelle Chong began her career as a communications attorney practicing before both the FCC and the California PUC with private law firms. In 1994, President Clinton appointed her to the Federal Communications Commission, where she served until 1997. During her tenure at the FCC, the FCC implemented the Telecommunications Act of 1996, finalized digital television rules, and worked on the early wireless auctions. Commissioner Chong served on the FCC-NARUC Joint Board on Universal Service, which implemented the first E Rate programs. After the FCC, the Commissioner returned to law firm practice and then became General Counsel/VP Government Affairs for a Silicon Valley Internet-telephony start up. She later became an entrepreneur, opening a retail jewelry store and an ecommerce site. In 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the California Public Utilities Commission. She has led communications reform there including significant work involving consumer affairs and broadband initiatives. She served on the California Broadband Task Force, and currently serves on the FCC-NARUC Joint Conference on Advanced Service. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law.
  • Eamonn Confrey, Embassy of Ireland, Washington, DC
    • Eamonn Confrey has been First Secretary, Information & Communications Policy at the Embassy of Ireland, Washington D.C. since October 2006. He is on secondment from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in Ireland.Eamonn’s primary role is the provision of strategic analysis on ICT and Science & Technology policy developments in North America. He also chairs the Telecoms Attachés Group, an informal network of Washington telecoms diplomats.Prior to taking up his appointment in Washington, he worked in the Communications Division at the Department of Communications in Dublin. While there, his main role was to manage public investment in ICT infrastructure projects through the Regional Broadband Programme and to assist in the promotion of broadband connectivity and analysing regional connectivity issues in Ireland.He holds a B.A. (Hons) in History & Politics and a Masters degree in European Studies from University College Dublin. He also has a Higher Diploma in Information Technology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
    • Resources:
      1. Broadband Information from Ireland’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources: This site publishes comprehensive information on every broadband service provider in Ireland.
  • Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin
    • Dr. Kenneth Flamm is Professor and Dean Rusk Chair in International Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT-Austin. He is currently vice-chair of the National Research Council’s Panel on Comparative Innovation Policy, and is a member of its Science, Technology, and Economic Policy Board, its Committee on Assessing the Need for a Defense Stockpile, and its assessment panel on the Small Business Innovation Research Program. He also served recently on the NRC’s Committee on the Future of Supercomputing, and its Steering Group on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy. He has served as member and Chair of the NATO Science Committee’s Panel for Science and Technology Policy and Organization, and as a member of the Federal Networking Council Advisory Committee, the OECD’s Expert Working Party on High Performance Computers and Communications, various advisory committees and study groups of the National Science Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Defense Science Board, and the U.S. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment, and as a consultant to government agencies, international organizations, andd private corporations.Dr. Flamm is the author of numerous articles and books on the dynamics of international competition in high technology industries, and studies of the computer, semiconductor, and telecommunications industries, including his recent article written in conjunction with the Pew Internet and American Life Project, “Measuring Broadband: Improving Communications Policymaking through Better Data Collection.”He is a 1973 honors graduate of Stanford University and received a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. in 1979.
    • Resouces:
  • Debbie Goldman, Communications Workers of America
    • Debbie Goldman has worked for the past 16 years as a Research Economist with the Communications Workers of America where she is responsible for regulatory affairs and telecommunications policy. She currently coordinates the union’s Speed Matters campaign promoting affordable high-speed Internet for America.The Communications Workers of America is the union for the Information Age, representing 700,000 workers in communications, media, airlines, manufacturing, and public service.Ms. Goldman has advocated before the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, state regulatory commissions, and the U.S. Congress on a broad range of telecom policy issues, including broadband policy, media ownership, universal service, and mergers and acquisitions.Ms. Goldman served as President of the Alliance for Public Technology, a coalition of individuals and organizations supporting universal affordable access to broadband technology.Ms. Goldman holds Masters degrees in History (University of Maryland), Public Policy (University of Maryland) and Education (Stanford University). She earned her B.A. Magna Cum Laude from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) in 1973, majoring in History.
    • Resources:
      1. Report on Internet Speeds in All 50 States [PDF]: Research conducted by Consumer Workers of America through SpeedMatters.org (2008)
      2. Speed Matters: Affordable High Speed Internet for All [PDF], a Communication Workers of America Policy Paper (2006).
      3. SpeedMatters.org State Broadband Initiatives: Communication Workers of America survey of state broadband initiatives.
  • Larry Landis, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
    • Landis, a Republican, was appointed to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by the late Governor Frank O’Bannon (D-IN) in December, 2002, joining the Commission in January 2003 to fill an unexpired term. In July of 2004, he was reappointed to a full four-year term by former Governor Joe Kernan (D-IN)., and to a second full four-year term by Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) in December, 2007.Landis has served the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in a variety of telecommunications-related roles. He was named to the Telecommunications Committee in mid-2003, and was a member of NARUC’s Intercarrier Compensation Task Force from its inception, assuming the Vice Chair role three years ago. He was active in the Legislative Task Force of NARUC which developed a major position paper on telecommunications law reform entitled “Federalism and Telecom,” which advocates a realignment of federal and state regulatory roles by areas of core competency rather than traditional geographic/jurisdictional lines.In January of 2005, Landis was named to the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services, of which he is now State Chair, by former FCC Chairman Michael Powell. In November of 2005 he was nominated by NARUC and appointed to the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service by the current FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin. In May of 2008, Commissioner Landis was appointed to the NARUC Board of Directors.Landis is a cum laude graduate of Wabash College with a double major in political science and economics and has done graduate work at the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill and at Indiana University.
  • Dr. William Lehr, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • William Lehr is an economist and researcher in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he helps direct the Communications Futures Program (CFP). Dr. Lehr’s research focuses on the economic and policy implications of broadband Internet access, next generation Internet architecture, and radio spectrum management reform. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Lehr provides business strategy and litigation consulting services to public and private sector clients in the US and abroad. Dr. Lehr holds a PhD in Economics from Stanford and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School, and MSE, BA, and BS degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
    • Resources:
      1. Research on Broadband’s Economic Impact: Dr. Lehr has written extensively over the last decade on Broadband’s impact on GDP, employment, productivity, and other metrics.
  • Mark McElroy, Connected Nation
    • Mark McElroy is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Communications. Mark brings with him more than twenty years of experience in communications for both nonprofit and for profit organizations as well as a wide variety of professional roles and experiences. Mark has an earned PhD in organizational behavior, group learning, and philosophy. This, coupled with a bachelor’s degree in the sciences, has prepared him to contribute to a variety of settings. Mark has served as a vocational minister, managed a large cattle operation, produced and marketed grain, served as adjunct faculty for a graduate school, established a consulting practice, engineered curricular/educational materials, and authored a variety of articles in multiple fields for both general and professional audiences. He has written speeches, contributed to research, and edited books.
    • Resources:
  • James McConnaughey, NTIA
    • James McConnaughey serves as Chief Economist, National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s (NTIA) Office of Policy Analysis and Development, at the US Department of Commerce. Prior to NTIA (where he also was Senior Economist), he was Research Manager at Bethesda Research Institute and Senior Economist at the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. McConnaughey has worked on a variety of issues related to regulatory reform, competition, and universal service. In recent years, he has focused particularly on issues related to Internet access and usage, including broadband, and universal service. He led the teams that developed the six Commerce Department Internet and broadband studies, most recently A NATION ONLINE: ENTERING THE BROADBAND AGE (2004). McConnaughey earned a B.S. (with high honors) and an M.A. in economics from the University of Maryland and the George Washington University, respectively, and an M.P.A. (with high honors) as Robert Seamans Fellow for Technology & Public Policy and Lucius Littauer Scholar at Harvard University.
  • Jane Smith Patterson, e-NC Authority
    • Jane’s career has concentrated on the areas of information technology infrastructure and its impact on operations of government, industry and education. She has consulted with more than 20 countries worldwide and 38 states relating to the design and operation of information networks. She was the major visionary and leader in the development and implementation of the North Carolina Information Highway (NCIH), the first switched broadband ATM-Sonet deployment in the world. NCIH was a 1996 Global Information Infrastructure Awards Finalist. Jane chaired the Mega Project on Applications and served as a member of the U.S. National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, appointed by both President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore.She was recognized in 1995 as one of the top women in computing in the United States. Jane was selected by the National Academy of Public Administration and the Alliance for Redesigning Government to receive its Public Innovator Award for 1997 for her work in advancing the use of information technology in redesigning the delivery of government services and the operations of government. In 1983, Jane was named a Distinguished Alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill and became the first woman to deliver the main address at University Day in the history of the University. Jane is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Jane has also focused on the issue of regional innovation and currently serves on the Advisory Council on Regional Innovation of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and the board of Regional Technology Strategies. The e-NC Authority program she directs won an Innovator Award from the Southern Growth Policies Board in 2006 and a 2007 Techie Award from the national Nonprofit Technology Network.

      Jane Patterson has completed educational programs at UNC-Chapel Hill, Harvard University and N.C. State University. She is a strong subscriber to the practice of life-long learning and is always taking new courses of study. She has published articles and chapters of books on information infrastructure policy and applications in Japan, England, Europe and the United States.

    • Resources:
  • Jon Peha, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Jon M. Peha is incoming Chief Technologist at the Federal Communications Commission, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He consults for industry and government agencies around the world. Dr. Peha has addressed telecom and e-commerce issues on legislative staff in the US Congress, and helped launch a US Government interagency program to assist developing countries with information infrastructure. He has also served as Chief Technical Officer of three high-tech start-ups, and as a member of technical staff at SRI International, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Microsoft. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
    • Resources:
  • Jean Plymale, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
    • Jean has 30 years of experience working in diverse areas of information technology. In her current position with Virginia Tech’s eCorridors program, Jean works closely with community, state and public sector entities to facilitate the understanding, acquisition and deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in underserved regions. Prior to joining the eCorridors program Jean worked at the Virginia Tech Computing Center as a Senior System Engineer where she managed UNIX and mainframe systems and applications. Ms. Plymale has a BA, MA and an advanced certificate in politics and policy of science and technology from Virginia Tech.
    • Resources:
      1. Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Hompage: A program designed to facilitate and promote the ability for every person, organization, and community in Virginia and beyond to have the capability, at a reasonable cost, to produce and access high volume information and services in the networked world.
  • Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
    • Jim Puzzanghera covers tech and media policy from Washington, D.C.He joined the Times in 2006 from the San Jose Mercury News, where he spent eight years as the paper’s Washington bureau chief. Before that, he worked for the Mercury News in Silicon Valley during the dawn of the dot.com boom, when homes and lunches in Palo Alto were still somewhat affordable.He lives in Virginia with his wife and two boys, who, when he’s not forcing them to play outside, constantly teach him new things about the Web and video games.
    • Resources:
      1. “US in Slow Lane on Net,” Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2007: Jim’s article on broadband policy, data and mapping.
  • Brenda Van Gelder, Virginia Tech University
    • During her 20 years of employment with the University, Ms. van Gelder has participated as a member of a number of national working groups focused on broadband policy issues, and has directed a number of special research efforts focused on policy and regulatory issues associated with advanced telecommunications networks. Ms. van Gelder has made numerous presentations to key legislators, FCC officials, and community leaders regarding the policy issues associated with advanced network infrastructure leveraging various technologies. She has served on multi-university projects to assess resiliency and vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure for regions of Virginia in the context of disaster recovery or emergencies. Her most recent activities involve policy and implementation issues related to the convergence of physical security and logical security, as well as public safety initiatives involving information technologies at Virginia Tech. Ms. van Gelder has a Masters degree from Virginia Tech in Marketing/Business Administration.
    • Resources:
      1. eCorridors’ Community Broadband Map: An interactive national map of consumer-reported broadband service.
      2. eCorridors’ Maps and Research on Broadband Service in Virginia: Utilizing consumer-generated data, Virginia Tech’s eCorridors program has produced a number of maps analyzing broadband service in the state.
      3. eCorridors’ Summary Report: Includes an executive summary of the organization’s broadband data analysis and a link to the full report.
  • Carol Wilson, Telephony Online
    • Carol Wilson is Editor-in-Chief of Telephony magazine. She returned to Telephony in 2004 as editor-at-large. She has been covering the telecommunications industry for the past 20 years. Over that period of time, she has been a founding editor of two magazines–Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy–as well as a news and information Web site, Broadband Edge. Carol began her telecom career as news editor at Telephony in 1985, becoming Editor three years later.

BroadbandCensus.com Wishes You a Happy One Web Week!

in Expert Opinion by

Blog Entries

WASHINGTON, September 22 – Today is September 22, 2008. Happy One Web Day and Happy One Web Week!

BroadbandCensus.com has been involved in the preparations for One Web Day since the beginning of summer. We believe that this day marks an opportunity for all internet users to pause, take stock, and ask themselves: what are my broadband internet options? BroadbandCensus.com, a free web service, can help you answer that question.

The message that BroadbandCensus.com brings to One Web Day is three-fold:

  1. 1. Take the Broadband Census! As part of One Web Day, we encourage everyone to go to http://broadbandcensus.com/census/form, and answer a seven-question survey. You will then have the opportunity to take our free speed test, which allows you to compare your promised with your actual internet speeds.
  1. 2. We are wishing you a One Web Week because of our Broadband Census for America Conference THIS FRIDAY, September 22, 8:30 a.m. at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. See http://broadbandcensus.com/conference.
  1. Sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin, Virginia Tech and BroadbandCensus.com, the Broadband Census for America Conference will be the first major event about publicly-available data about broadband connections. Featured speakers at the event include:
  1. • Eamonn Confrey, First Secretary, Information and Communications Policy, Embassy of Ireland.
  2. • Rachelle Chong, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission
  3. • Professor Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin
  4. • Dr. William Lehr, Economist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. • James McConnaughey, Chief Economist, National Telecommunications Information Administration
  1. For the first time, officials from both Connected Nation and their critics at Public Knowledge will share the stage to discuss broadband mapping.
  1. 3. As part of the lead up to One Web Week, BroadbandCensus.com has begun publishing a series of state-by-state articles profiling the broadband deployment and data in each of the 50 United States. We’ve profiled about one-third of the country so far, and plan to keep going until we’ve done all of them.
  1. Click here for the complete (and growing) list of articles. The article-by-article list is below.

Finally, let me conclude a personal note: About eight months ago, I launched BroadbandCensus.com because I believe that the public needs better local broadband information.

We are making huge progress in helping policy-makers understand the central importance of broadband — and about how publicly-available data can help drive broadband availability, competition, faster speeds and lower prices. If there is one thing that everyone says they agree upon in this debate, it is the need for BETTER BROADBAND DATA. BroadbandCensus.com is all about making broadband data free and publicly available.

We hope you will get involved with BroadbandCensus.com. Here are three simple things you can do to help:

Broadband Census in the States:

Agenda for Broadband Census for America Conference on September 26, 2008

in Press Releases by

Key Academics, State Officials and Broadband Data Collectors to Speak

Embassy of Ireland to Give Luncheon Keynote Address on Publicly-Available Broadband Data

Coverage of the Broadband Census for America Conference

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2008 – Many of the nation’s foremost broadband policy-makers and experts will analyze and discuss best practices for improving the collection and sharing of public data about high-speed internet access at the Broadband Census for America Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday, September 26, 2008.

Panelists at the half-day conference include Rachelle Chong, California Public Utility Commissioner; broadband data pioneer Professor Kenneth Flamm of the University of Texas at Austin; Dr. William Lehr, an economist and broadband expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jane Smith Patterson, executive director of the e-NC Authority; Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner Larry Landis, who is also the state chair of a telecommunications regulatory task force charged with coordinating state efforts to collect broadband data and preparing reports on broadband to Congress; and National Telecommunications and Information Administration Chief Economist James McConnaughey.

Eamonn Confrey, the First Secretary for Information and Communications Policy at the Embassy of Ireland, will present the luncheon keynote: an overview of his nation’s efforts to collect data on broadband service in Ireland through a comprehensive web site with availability, pricing and speed data about carriers.

Also participating on the panels will be representatives from BroadbandCensus.com, the California Broadband Task Force, Connected Nation, Communications Workers of America’s Speed Matters, Public Knowledge, and Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program.

As policy-makers around the world seek innovative approaches to enhancing and expanding broadband service, they also seek accurate data and maps of the digital infrastructure. Increasingly, experts believe that universal broadband is a crucial ingredient to global economic competitiveness.

These efforts are apparent here in the United States with the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rules to collect more localized data on broadband service and the U.S. House of Representatives introducing the “Broadband Census of America Act,” which would require a comprehensive national inventory of broadband availability and competition.

The conference will be held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science at 12th and H Streets, NW, and is sponsored by BroadbandCensus.com, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin’s Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and the Virginia Tech eCorridors Program.

The event will bring together government officials, academic researchers and other key stakeholders for a half-day conference that seeks to improve our understanding of current practices in broadband data collection and discuss ways of improving and expanding publicly-available data within the United States.

The conference program features the following speakers:

  • Eamonn Confrey, First Secretary, Information and Communications Policy, Embassy of Ireland. Mr. Confrey has confirmed as the luncheon speaker on “Mapping out Broadband for Consumers: The Irish Experience.”
  • Commissioner Rachelle Chong, current Commissioner of the California state Public Utilities Commission and former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, will speak on “Section 706 Through the Years: A Perspective from a Serial Regulator.”

The conference will also feature two panel discussions. Panelists scheduled to speak on the first panel, titled “Does America Need a Broadband Census?”, include the following:

  • Art Brodsky, Communications Director, Public Knowledge
  • Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Professor Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin, coauthor, “Measuring Broadband: Improving Communications Policymaking through Better Data Collection,” (Pew Internet and American Life Project: 2007)
  • Debbie Goldman, Speed Matters Coordinator, Communications Workers of America
  • Larry Landis, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner; also State Chair, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners-FCC Joint Conference on Advanced Services
  • Mark McElroy, Chief Operating Officer, Connected Nation
  • This panel will be moderated by Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times

Panelists scheduled to speak on the second panel, “How Should America Conduct a Broadband Census?”, include the following:

  • Jeffrey Campbell, Director, Technology and Communications Policy, Cisco Systems
  • Dr. William Lehr, Economist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • James McConnaughey, Senior Economist, National Telecommunications Information Administration
  • Jane Smith Patterson, Executive Director, e-NC Authority
  • Jean Plymale, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
  • This panel will be moderated by Carol Wilson, Telephony Online.

Click HERE for complete bios and background materials.

The Broadband Census for America Conference will be held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science at 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC. (The building is at the corner of 12th Street and H Street, NW.)

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 1 p.m., providing ample time for those seeking to make the short commute from Washington to the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference in Arlington, Virginia.

For More Information: Drew Bennett, 202-580-8196, bennett@broadbandcensus.com

Pricing:

  • ACADEMIC (Includes faculty, staff, and students at universities and secondary institutions) – NO CHARGE
  • GOVERNMENT (Includes international, federal, state and local government officials) – NO CHARGE
  • INDUSTRY – $295
  • NON-PROFIT (including individuals) ** – $195;
  • PRESS – NO CHARGE

**Non-profit organizations that feel they could not attend otherwise may apply for a waiver of conference fee.

To place your reservation to attend, please e-mail: conference@broadbandcensus.com. Checks may be made payable to Broadband Census LLC, 1705 Warner Ave., McLean, VA 22101.

Industry Sponsor

CCMI is the industry’s trusted source for communications data, information and applications. Communications service providers and enterprise users rely on CCMI data and training to operate more efficiently, make better decisions and stay abreast of communications technologies and trends. With extensive industry contacts, rigorous quality standards and a veteran staff, CCMI guarantees you get reliable content, world-class service and unparalleled value. For more information, visit http://www.ccmi.com.

Nonprofit Sponsors

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is the country’s premier voice in education technology leadership, serving K-12 technology leaders who through their strategic use of technology, improve teaching and learning. CoSN’s membership includes key education technology leaders (often called Chief Technology Officers—CTOs) in leading-edge school districts, as well as policy makers, private sector leaders. For more information, visit http://www.cosn.org or call 1-866-267-8747.

OneWebDay is an Earth Day for the internet. The idea behind OneWebDay is to focus attention on a key internet value (this year, online participation in democracy), focus attention on local internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills), and create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the internet. For more information, visit http://www.onewebday.org.

Research Sponsor

Emerging Media Dynamics is a strategic advisory services practice aimed at helping cable, telco, wireless, satellite, technology and content companies gain an edge in the emerging world of IP media. It provides data-rich, well-informed and up-to-the-minute customized reports, analyses and presentations that decipher, interpret and explain the rush of corporate, technological and policy changes driving the development of cutting-edge communications applications. For more information, visit http://www.emediadynamics.com.

Media Sponsor

The leading publisher in the field of communications law since 1948, Pike & Fischer provides the expert legal analysis that attorneys, engineers, and managers require. Pike & Fischer’s market analysts report the most significant business news and trends affecting the rapidly evolving telecommunications and broadband sectors. Our news, historical data, and on-call research provide the raw materials necessary for sound decision-making. For more information, visit http://pf.com.

Broadband Census for America Conference Details

Location:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC
(The building is at the corner of 12th Street and H Street, NW.)

Time:
Friday, September 26, 2008
8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Conference Agenda [subject to minor changes]:
8:30 a.m. Welcome to the Broadband Census for America

  • Drew Clark, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Jon Peha, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Brenda van Gelder, Virginia Tech
  • Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin

8:40 a.m. Keynote Speech: “Section 706 Through the Years: A Perspective from a Serial Regulator,”

  • Commissioner Rachelle Chong, California State Public Utilities Commission

9:10 a.m. Questions for and Answers from Commissioner Chong

9:20 a.m. Panel I: Does America Need a Broadband Census?

  • Art Brodsky, Communications Director, Public Knowledge
  • Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin, coauthor, “Measuring Broadband: Improving Communications Policymaking through Better Data Collection,” (Pew Internet and American Life Project: 2007).
  • Debbie Goldman, Speed Matters Coordinator, Communications Workers of America
  • Larry Landis, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner; also State Chair, NARUC-FCC Joint Conference on Advanced Services
  • Mark McElroy, Chief Operating Officer, Connected Nation
  • Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times (Moderator)

10:30 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. Panel II: HOW Should America Conduct a Broadband Census?

  • Jeffrey Campbell, Director, Technology and Communications Policy, Cisco Systems
  • Dr. William Lehrer, Economist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • James McConnaughey, Chief Economist, National Telecommunications Information Administration
  • Jane Smith Patterson, Executive Director, e-NC Authority
  • Jean Plymale, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
  • Carol Wilson, Telephony Online (Moderator)

Noon Luncheon Keynote: “Mapping out Broadband for Consumers: The Irish Experience”

  • Eamonn Confrey, First Secretary, Information and Communications Policy, Embassy of Ireland

12:30 p.m. Questions for and Answers from Mr. Confrey

1 p.m. Adjourn

Program Committee:

  • Drew Bennett, Special Assistant, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Professor Kenneth Flamm, Director, Technology, Innovation and Global Security Program, Robert S. Strauss Center, University of Texas at Austin
  • Brenda van Gelder, Director, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
  • John Horrigan, Associate Director for Research, Pew Internet Project; and Chair, 2008 Telecommunications Policy Research Conference
  • Sascha Meinrath, Research Director, New America Foundation; and President, Ethos Wireless
  • Professor Jon Peha, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jean Plymale, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
  • Scott Wallsten, Vice President for Research, Technology Policy Institute

Press Release Referenced:

About the Sponsors

Broadband Census.com:

BroadbandCensus.com is a free web service providing information and news about local broadband speeds, availability, competition and quality of service. Organized by technology journalist Drew Clark as Broadband Census LLC (a Limited Liability Company in the Commonwealth of Virginia), BroadbandCensus.com is independent of all internet providers, receives no funding from carriers, and takes no position on telecommunications policy issues. For more information, visit http://broadbandcensus.com/home/aboutus.

Carnegie Mellon University:

Carnegie Mellon University’s Engineering and Public Policy Department is a unique program within the Engineering College that addresses important problems in technology and policy in which the technical details are of central importance. Areas of focus include information and communication technology policy, energy and environmental systems, risk analysis and communication, and technological innovation and R&D policy. For more information, visit http://www.epp.cmu.edu.

Robert S. Strauss Center:

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin aims to provide the imagination, leadership and intellectual innovation required to meet the challenges of the 21st century, engaging the best minds in academia, government and the private sector in developing practical solutions to the pressing problems of an increasingly globalized world. The Strauss Center’s Technology, Innovation and Global Security Program supports policy-oriented research and outreach programs on how to sustain innovation and better utilize modern technology to benefit an increasingly international economic and social system. For more information, visit http://www.RobertStraussCenter.org.

Virginia Tech eCorridors Program:

eCorridors is an outreach program of Virginia Tech that was established in 2000. Its activities include telecommunications policy, communications infrastructure, research and other computing applications as well as community networks and economic development in a networked world. eCorridors is a primary means through which government, private sector industry and community stakeholders participate and collaborate with Virginia Tech researchers and IT professionals. For more information, visit http://www.ecorridors.vt.edu.

Announcing a Half-Day Conference About Universal Broadband Data on September 26, 2008

in Press Releases by

‘Broadband Census for America’ Conference to Focus on Sharing Publicly-Available Broadband Data

Save the Date Announcement

Editor’s Note: The agenda for the Broadband Census for America Conference was released on September 8, 2008, and is available at http://broadbandcensus.com/blog/?p=569. Please visit the page for fuller details about the conference program.

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2008 – BroadbandCensus.com, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin’s Robert S. Strauss Center, and the Virginia Tech eCorridors Program invite government officials, academic researchers and other key stakeholders to a half-day conference on collecting and sharing public data about high-speed internet access.

The conference, “Broadband Census for America,” aims to assemble state, local and federal officials engaged in gathering and mapping information about broadband availability, competition, speeds, prices and quality of service. Academic researchers will lend their perspective on the importance of universal broadband data.

Keynote speakers scheduled to address the conference include:

  • Eamonn Confrey, First Secretary, Information and Communications Policy, Embassy of Ireland. Mr. Confrey has confirmed as the luncheon speaker on “Mapping out Broadband for Consumers: The Irish Experience.”
  • Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey*, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. (*Invited to present opening keynote.)

The conference will also feature two panel discussions assembling key officials from academia, the states, the federal government and private-sector initiatives to publish broadband information.

The panel titles are: “Why Does America Need a Broadband Census?” and “How Should America Conduct a Broadband Census?” More details will be forthcoming.

Broadband Census for America” is being held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science at 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC. (The building is at the corner of 12th Street and H Street, NW.)

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 1 p.m., providing ample time for those seeking to make the short commute from Washington to the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference in Arlington, Virginia.

To place your reservation to attend, please e-mail: conference@broadbandcensus.com

‘Broadband Census for America’ Conference Details

Location:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC
(The building is at the corner of 12th Street and H Street, NW.)

Time:
Friday, September 26, 2008
8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Program Committee:

  • Drew Bennett, Special Assistant, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com
  • Professor Kenneth Flamm, Director, Techology, Innovation and Global Security Program, Robert S. Strauss Center
  • Brenda van Gelder, Director, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
  • John Horrigan, Associate Director for Research, Pew Internet Project; and Chair, 2008 Telecommunications Policy Research Conference
  • Sascha Meinrath, Research Director, New America Foundation; and President, Ethos Wireless
  • Professor Jon Peha, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jean Plymale, Senior Systems Engineer, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program
  • Scott Wallsten, Vice President for Research, Technology Policy Institute

Pricing:

  • ACADEMIC (Includes faculty, staff, and students at universities and secondary institutions) – NO CHARGE
  • GOVERNMENT (Includes international, federal, state and local government officials) – NO CHARGE
  • INDUSTRY – $295
  • NON-PROFIT^ – $195
  • PRESS – NO CHARGE

^Non-profit organizations that feel they could not attend otherwise may apply for a waiver of conference fee.

Press Release Referenced:

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