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National Association of Telecommunications Officers and

National Broadband Strategy Week Begins Today, 10 a.m., in Dirksen Senate Building

in Broadband Stimulus by

WASHINGTON, December 2 – A total of 55 companies and non-profit organizations, including major corporate entities such as AT&T, Cisco Systems, Google, Intel and Verizon Communications, have signed on to a “call to action for a national broadband strategy.”

The document has been crafted by a wide range of parties over the past year under the stewardship of James Baller, senior principal of the Baller Herbst Law Group, and the final version was released late Monday.

Verizon was a last-minute addition to the group of signatories, having joined the list in between the first and the second public versions e-mailed by Baller.

Among the major trade groups that signed on to the “call to action” were the wireless association CTIA, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the Utilities Telecom Council, and the Wireless Communications Associations International

Among the major non-profit groups include American Library Association, Communications Workers of America, EDUCAUSE, Free Press, OneEconomy, Connected Nation, Internet2, Media Access Project, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the New America Foundation and Public Knowledge.

BroadbandCensus.com is also a signatory to the “call to action.”

Baller released the final version in anticipation of a 10 a.m. press conference in room G-50 of the Dirkson Senate Office Building.

“What’s most remarkable about this initiative is that so large and diverse a group of organizations agreed not only on the terms of our call to action statement, but also to continue to work together to build consensus on the substance of a national broadband strategy,” Baller said in a statement.

He also said that the call to action commits its signatories “to continue to work together to address key issues and priorities and to hold an event to present more specific recommendations to President Obama, Congress and the American people.”

The “call to action” includes general principles about the need for advanced communications capabilities, highlights the fact that “too many Americans still do not have access to affordable broadband,” and sets five goals for a comprehensive government strategy that would promote broadband.

The five goals are that (a) every American home and institution should have access to broadband, (b) access to the Internet should be open to all users and content providers, (c) network operators “must have the right to manage their networks responsibly, pursuant to clear and workable guidelines and standards,” (d) the broadband marketplace “should be” competitive; and (e) U.S. broadband networks should have the performance and capacity necessary to allow this country to be competitive in the global marketplace.

The document then outlines policies to stimulate investment, policies to stimulate adoption and use, and measures for “a system for regular and timely collection and publication of data” on broadband deployment, adoption and use.

The meeting of the call to action for a national broadband strategy isn’t the only major broadband-related event being held in the coming week. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute is presenting a “Call for Solutions” in Northampton, Mass., on ways to enable broadband throughout western Massachusetts.  And on Saturday, the Internet for Everyone group, coordinated by Free Press and supported by Google, is hosting a “Town Hall Meeting” in Los Angeles designed to “kick-start the movement to make an internet connection a right of every American.”

And on Tuesday, December 9, BroadbandCensus.com is hosting the second of its five-part series, the Broadband Breakfast Club, on “How Broadband Applications and Mapping Harness Demand for High-Speed Internet” in Washington. The event will take place at the Old Ebbitt Grill from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and will feature speakers from App-Rising, the Public Technology Institute and Walt Disney.

Broadband Breakfast Club:

Editor’s Note: Join the next Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, December 9, on how broadband applications – including telemedicine – can harness demand for high-speed internet services. Register at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com

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Broadband Census Articles and Documents of Interest:

BroadbandCensus.com Partners With National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors

in Press Releases by

Groups Work Together to Provide Public With Better Data About Broadband Options

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC, July 22, 2008 – BroadbandCensus.com and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors (NATOA) announced that they are working together to help provide the public with better data about their high-speed internet options.

BroadbandCensus.com is a free, consumer-focused web service that allows the public to learn and share information about where individual broadband companies provide service. NATOA is a national trade association that represents local government jurisdictions and consortiums.

BroadbandCensus.com provides the public and policy-makers with information and news about the companies that offer broadband, the quality of their service, and how actual internet speeds compare against promised speeds. Consumers are invited to post comments about their carriers on the site.

“NATOA members are experts on the state of broadband deployment within their counties and cities,” said Drew Clark, BroadbadbandCensus.com Executive Director. “They will provide a crucial set of eyes and ears to help ensure the accuracy of company-specific broadband information.”

“Local governments have always played an essential role in ensuring that the benefits of communications infrastructure would be available in communities across the United States,” said Libby Beaty, NATOA Executive Director. “BroadbandCensus.com provides a platform for NATOA members to improve the scope and scale of publicly-available broadband data.”

BroadbandCensus.com and NATOA have developed an online system allowing NATOA members to record detailed information about local broadband deployments for the public to view. This information is vital to a transparent, competitive and universally accessible internet.

About BroadbandCensus.com:

BroadbandCensus.com provides news and information about broadband technology and internet policy. Since January 2008, BroadbandCensus.com has been building a public, transparent and freely accessible database about local broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition. For more about BroadbandCensus.com, visit http://broadbandcensus.com/about-us.

About the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors:

NATOA promotes community interests in communications. A national trade association based in Alexandria, Va., NATOA represents local government jurisdictions and consortiums, including elected and appointed officials and staff, who oversee communications and cable television franchising. For more about NATOA, visit http://www.natoa.org.

Contact:

Drew Clark, Executive Director
BroadbandCensus.com
E-mail: drew at broadbandcensus.com
Telephone: 202-580-8196

Press Release Referenced in this Article:

NATOA Announces Adoption of Broadband Principles, Partnership Initiatives and Actions (Press Release, July 18, 2008)

Cable Industry and Cable Regulators Lament Power of Federal Communications Commission

in FCC/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, June 10 – The Federal Communications Commission has gone all out in its efforts against cable television operators, two speakers close to the cable industry said Thursday at a conference of the Alliance for Community Media here.

The unprecedented power accumulated by the FCC “should strike fear on all of us,” said Libby Beaty, executive director of the National Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisors. The agency “has gone after local government and cable TV.”

NATOA represents local officials that supervise cable television franchises, and has been critical of FCC moves to bypass local franchise authorities.

“The worst thing in the world is to get the government involved” in the cable television business, said Dan Brenner, senior vice president for law and regulatory policy with the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which represents leading cable operators.

“It’s micromanaging that we want [to] avoid,” he said.

Brenner said that the cable industry has changed the way Americans watch television. Irrespective of the looming February 19, 2009, deadline for the transition to digital broadcast television, for the most part the cable industry has already made its own transition, he said.

Beaty also said that public, educational and government channels (PEG) on cable systems provide key local content on cable television. The Alliance for Community Media brings together television programmers who offer alternative content on local PEG channels.

As an audience member pointed out that local PEG channels produce ten times more programming than do local broadcast stations.

Panelists, including Rick Chessen, senior legal advisor to Commissioner Michael Copps, agreed, and urged audience members to send videos, pictures and other briefing material to the FCC and to legislators in order to highlight this fact.

The more somebody makes their issues known to their member of Congress, the more that congressperson will care – providing that it affects the members’ constituents, said Beaty.

With regard to broadband, or the high-speed Internet services available via cable modems, Beaty said that her group’s focus was on “deployment and adoption.” She said that network neutrality still “has different meanings and all depends on who you talk to and what [is] the context.”

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