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‘The Wired Home and Wireless Policy’ Breakfast – Convergence Legislation and Consumer Adoption

in Broadband and Democratization/Broadband TV/Broadband Updates/FCC/FCC Comments/Mobile Broadband/Spectrum/The Innovation Economy/Wireless by

WASHINGTON January 17, 2012 – BroadbandBreakfast.com kicked off a new year of the Broadband Breakfast Club fresh off the heals of the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas with a Breakfast on “The Wired Home and Wired Policy” featuring the Presidents of four major technology and telecommunications trade associations and the Wireless Telecommunication Bureau Chief of the Federal Communications Commission, Rick Kaplan.

Event Highlights

 

Complete Program

As Kaplan stated right out off the bat, we “can’t escape the impact of mobile broadband on mobile technology.”  The US, Kaplan said, is the leader in world mobile, but, “we should not be satisfied with being today’s leader in mobile, this sector is moving so fast we must be equipped with an aggressive and forward- looking game plan to maintain our world leadership.”

Kaplan noted that the three elements of any plan to keep the US at the forefront of the mobile revolution include 1) maintaining a strong infrastructure for continued deployment, 2) ensuring healthy competition in the marketplace and 3) achieving universal broadband adoption.

Kaplan decided to focus on the first element of spectrum infrastructure.  He noted that spectrum incentive auctions have the potential to free up 120MHz of the 500MHz that will be needed over the next 10 years.  The question is, whether Congress will pass the legislation giving the FCC authority to free up this spectrum:

“In Congress there are two sticking points holding up the legislation, the first is whether some spectrum cleared will be earmarked for licensed as well as unlicensed use and second, whether Congress should take this opportunity to circumscribe the FCC’s authority to foster competition in the market place through auctions,” stated Kaplan.

While the wireless bureau does not have authority over unlicensed spectrum, Kaplan noted, it is clear that the value of unlicensed use is huge. He continued by adding that the FCC recognizes every wireless provider is going to need more spectrum.  Stripping the FCC of authority to manage spectrum and allowing one or two companies to own all the most valuable spectrum would be the demise of our mobile leadership.

Kaplan closed out his comments by stating that incentive auctions are only part of the plan to get us to 500MHz of new spectrum and added that there are three other areas, as important as incentive auctions, that will get us to our mobile goals.

“First we must identify and lock up the last few quick and lasting spectrum wins available,” Kaplan pointed to the 1755-170MHz band as well as the 2GHz band.  Reassessing band plans and shifting bands will be essential to unlocking additional previously undervalued spectrum.

Second, Kaplan said that we need to be open to new models for opening up spectrum. “A shift in mindset must be made to accept the notion that spectrum bands can and must be shared between and among commercial and federal users.”

Third, Kaplan suggested that we need to tackle those legacy systems not making the most of the spectrum in use.

Kaplan then joined the panel of trade association presidents including Fred Campbell, President & CEO of Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI), Walter McCormick, President & CEO, USTelecom, Grant Seiffert, President, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and Gary Shapiro, President & CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).  Drew Clark, Chairman and Publisher of Broadbandbreakfast.com moderated the discussion.

Clark began the discussion by asking Shapiro about his impressions of the Consumer Electronics Show.  Shapiro noted that there were an overwhelming number of new devices and technologies that used spectrum and assumed the availability of mobile broadband.  Smart phones use 25 times the data stream that regular cell phones use and tablets use 120 times as much.  Of the 20,000 new products at CES, stated Shapiro, “half of them assumed there will be sufficient spectrum to work in the future and that assumption seems to be increasingly flawed.”

Clark asked the panelists to comment on the integrated aspect of the world we live in where wireless towers are fed by wires. McCormick from USTelecom pointed out that in order “to get capacity for all of the new devices in the wired home we need to get wired info out as close to the end user as possible.  Over 99% of all wireless communications connect with wired infrastructure.  We know wireless communications are slated to grow 26 fold over the next 5 years.  The only way to have the needed robustness in the wireless world is to have continued investment in fiber based wired infrastructure.”

Seiffert from TIA expressed concerns about uncertainty in the marketplace that will lead to volatility regarding investment in his companies’ equipment and services if the spectrum issues are not resolved.  He stressed the need for Congress to get the ball rolling on passing legislation that would give the FCC authority to hold the incentive auctions.

Campbell followed up on uncertainty.  “Uncertainty is being driven by uncertainty in the way we expect people to use networks.” Campbell added, ‘it is changing very rapidly. As an example, Campbell noted that while enterprises have been using the cloud for a long time, it is becoming a bigger deal because consumers are finally beginning to adopt it for personal use. “Consumers start to adopt new usage styles and patterns that are driving demand more than anything else. Consumer adoption is going to force the industry to adapt to what they want to do.”

Clark then asked the panelists to discuss the issue of usage caps and whether people are driving their usage back to the wired home because of it.

Kaplan was blunt in saying that data caps were going to grow if more spectrum is not freed up, ‘those are the parade of horribles we are worried about.”

McCormick made an interesting point in challenging the business models that we use support our increasing need for mobile broadband.  He said that ISPs have historically depended upon a model where the end user pays.  “The questions going forward,” said McCormick, “is if more capacity is required, do you keep ratcheting up what the end user pays for the service?”

McCormick pointed to the broadcasters; he said that in our country some of the most successful businesses have been free and built on advertising models. “We talk about search engines being available for free but they are not really free they are ad supported.  The biggest challenge going forward is to come up with the right kind of business models to continue to provide the levels of capital necessary for this extraordinary deployment.”

Telecommunications companies have invested 600 billion in the past 10 years to build out their infrastructure according to McCormick.  Last year the industry spent 65 billion. This investment from the private sector, said McCormick, dwarfs the amount the government has spent on prior major infrastructure projects that have been the hallmarks of our countries development.  Another reason to think about the shape of business plans going forward, is whether they are going to result in providing consumers with the value that they want, without loading every single cost onto the end user.

Campbell also made an interesting point about partnerships and future integration between wired and wireless networks.  He said, that consumers want multiple screens and they want them all to connect.  Consumers are asking how big a screen do I need, what do I need to do with that screen and how mobile do I need it to be.  The fact that the screens themselves are becoming so interchangeable, noted Campbell, means that there has to be a lot more integration between the wired and the wireless networks that support the different screens.

Moderator Drew Clark returned to the topic of the spectrum auctions and legislation in congress.

Kaplan reiterated that there is a bipartisan bill currently in the Senate that seeks to preserve the flexibility that the FCC has had for years.  He reiterated his point from earlier that not all spectrum is created equal and that unlicensed spectrum use has been extremely valuable in fueling innovation and assisting in the convergence between wired and wireless.

Campbell added some thoughts on the topic of unlicensed vs. licensed uses; he believes that white spaces in the DTV spectrum would be different than other unlicensed uses that tend to be shared, or in bands with some other primary service, and that were typically viewed as a short range consumer type of service.  “White spaces in the DTV band can play a longer-range roll,” he said, mentioning hotspot 2.0 as an example. Campbell thinks that whitespaces in these bands can be extremely valuable.  He pointed out that the FCC does not look at unlicensed potential when it does an aggregated spectrum analysis.

When asked about restricting entities from participating in an auction, Kaplan explained that everyone needs spectrum.  The FCC needs to find a way to free up as much spectrum as possible so that every company can get access.  He added that the FCC would make sure that no one would be locked out of an auction, the flipside concern however is that there will be no constraint on the amount of spectrum any one company can obtain.  That, he said, is a question for public debate.  Without FCC authority to monitor auctions we might end up with a result that nobody wants, it is the competitive aspect of the marketplace today that has led to the incredible innovation that exists.

Regarding progress in getting the government to reallocate spectrum bands for more efficient use, Kaplan applauded the NTIA for doing a very good job having been assigned an incredibly difficult task.  Kaplan heeded that the “reality is that we are not going to be able to keep clearing swaths of spectrum for mobile broadband use.”  We must figure out a way to share spectrum and that is where the next focus should be.

Clark posed another question to the speakers about the wired home. “Consumers aren’t using the high bandwidth applications that fiber is capable of yet they are using their wireless devices to the nth degree and running into capacity issues, with regard to the home what are you hearing about the applications people want to use in the home?”

“Downloading a movie to watch on your iPad takes a while,” said Shapiro.  He believes that consumers do not really think about the underlying issues, they just want what works the best.  Shapiro suggested that many wireless solutions do not have a great history of success with audio and video for example, he added that they might not always work the way people expect them to work.

Shapiro also explained the switch from internet protocol 4 to internet protocol 6, “what this allows is a lot of machine to machine communication.”  These communications can tackle issues of home safety, medical monitoring and energy efficiency.  Those devises do require greater bandwidth that is flowing all the time.

McCormick agreed that the type of Apps needed for medicine are larger and can only be supported through fiber.

When asked about policy issues that will support greater fiber and broadband investment, McCormick said that competition drives investment. “It is important that those that invest in broadband are free to offer over broadband everything that they can offer…the government should look at their interest in competition as being aligned with what government policies best support investment.”

 

BroadbandBreakfast.com Hosts Broadband Breakfast Club Event ‘The Wired Home and Wireless Policy’ Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 in Washington, DC

in Broadband and Democratization/Broadband Calendar/Broadband's Impact/FCC/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 – The internet policy news and events service BroadbandBreakfast.com will hold its January 2012 Broadband Breakfast Club event

The Wired Home and Wireless Policy on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 from 8 am – 10 am.

American and Continental breakfasts are included. The program begins shortly after 8:30 a.m. Tickets to the event are $45.00 plus a small online fee.

Registration is available at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com

The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by Comcast, Google, ICF International (ICFI), Intel, The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and US Telecom.

The Broadband Breakfast Club series meets on the third Tuesday of each month (except for August and December).

The Broadband Breakfast Club schedule can be viewed at http://broadbandbreakfastseries.eventbrite.com

Read our website for broadband news and event write-ups http://www.broadbandbreakfast.com

Videos of our previous events are available at: http://broadbandbreakfast.com/category/broadband-tv/

January 2012 Broadband Breakfast Club Event Description

Convergence in electronic devices has accelerated. Televisions, telephones and computers are all digital devices sharing content. How can the nation’s wireless policies better advance connected homes?

This provocative session will be moderated by Drew Clark, Chairman and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and feature keynote speaker Rick Kaplan, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and top executives of major telecom groups: Grant Seiffert, President of Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Walter J. McCormick, President & CEO of USTelecom and Fred B. Campbell, President & CEO of the Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI). Mr. Kaplan will also stay for the panel discussion.

These experts will consider the issue of broadband adoption for consumers, particularly in the home.

On the heel of the Consumer Electronics Show, part of the discussion will be about devices, from the Droids to the iPhones to the laptops to the televisions. The other part of the discussion will be about the networks — both wired and wireless — and how high-capacity networks feed an ecosystem that enables more powerful uses for a range of consumer-friendly applications.

The session aims to stitch together both the “wired home” and the “wireless policy” discussions on broadband. For example, we will consider both licensed and unlicensed radio frequencies for mobile-friendly devices, as well as high-capacity uses (e.g. health care and video conferencing), for landlines and for wireless broadband.

Keynote Speaker:

Rick Kaplan, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Rick Kaplan assumed his position at the FCC in June 2011. Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Kaplan served as Chief Counsel to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, where he managed the Commission’s overall agenda, was responsible for policy coordination among the Bureaus and Offices, advised the Chairman on wireless, engineering and technology, and public safety issues. Before joining the Chairman’s staff, Mr. Kaplan was the Chief of Staff and Media Legal Advisor for Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, and served as deputy coordinator of the FCC DTV task force, where he oversaw a number of aspects of the Commission’s role in the nation’s successful transition to digital television. He practiced regulatory law and appellate litigation at Sidley Austin LLP, and served in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Kaplan began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Kaplan founded and operated a sports management and public relations agency that represented and served professional athletes and sports-related organizations.

Panelists:

Walter B. McCormick, Jr.
President & CEO
USTelecom

Walter B. McCormick, Jr., is the President & CEO of USTelecom, the nation’s premier telecommunications industry trade association, representing broadband service providers, manufacturers and suppliers in the new world of Internet-based communications and entertainment. A respected Washington veteran with more than 25 year’s experience in telecommunications, Mr. McCormick joined USTelecom in 2001 and has led the organization’s growth into one of the top trade associations in the nation’s capital. Washingtonian magazine has profiled Mr. McCormick as a trade association executive with “real clout.” The Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, has featured Mr. McCormick as a “Hill Mover of the Month” and labeled him as a “rainmaker” – one of the “top trade association lobbyists” in Washington. He has been recognized by Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law. Prior to joining USTelecom, Mr. McCormick served as President & CEO of the American Trucking Associations. There he led a broad corporate restructuring that resulted in record dues revenues, increased stature for the industry, and significant legislative victories. His background also includes service as a member of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee; as General Counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation; and as a partner with Bryan Cave LLP – an international law firm of more than 500 lawyers, where he headed the practice group on Regulatory Affairs, Public Policy and Legislation. During his tenure on the professional staff of the U.S. Senate, he was recognized by Roll Call magazine as one of the 50 most influential staffers on Capitol Hill. Mr. McCormick holds degrees in journalism and law from the University of Missouri. He has studied international economics and political science at Georgetown University, and has completed the program for senior managers in government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Rockhurst University, the Federal Communications Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar and the Missouri Bar.

Grant Seiffert
President
Telecommunications Industry Association

As President of TIA, Grant Seiffert oversees the policy, standards, tradeshow and marketing efforts for the leading advocate in Washington, D.C., for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. TIA’s member companies represent the entire supply chain of the ICT industry; these companies manufacture products, provide services and offer applications that transmit content by video, voice and data, thereby merging communications and entertainment options. As leaders in the industry, the companies and organizations participating in TIA develop and deliver communications innovations for consumers, government users and businesses alike, while improving productivity and access to information around the world. Seiffert joined TIA in 1996 as director of government relations. His main priority was the representation of the equipment industry’s interests, particularly regarding competitive issues during implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He was promoted to vice president in 1998, directing domestic and global policy to help the association’s supplier members gain marketing opportunities around the world. In that role, he oversaw policy, including interaction with the U.S. Congress, the FCC and the Administration, as well as with international regulatory bodies and government leaders and fulfilling the senior management role for association membership and TIA tradeshows. He succeeded Matt Flanigan as president of TIA in January 2007. Prior to joining TIA, Seiffert served five years with Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). Seiffert serves on the Executive Committee of Connected Nation, the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) CEO Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEP) and the Board of the National Science & Technology Education Partnership (NSTEP). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Radford University.

Fred Campbell
President & CEO
Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI)

Fred Campbell has been President and CEO of the WCAI since August 2008. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law where he teaches spectrum law and policy. Mr. Campbell previously served as Wireless Bureau Chief at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2006-2008. In that position he developed and implemented the 700 MHz auction, the largest and most successful auction in the history of the FCC, and many other innovative wireless broadband policies, including open platform requirements, anonymous and combinatorial bidding in spectrum auctions, a power spectral density approach to power limits, non-exclusive licensing using a contention-based protocol in the 3.65 GHz band, the classification of wireless broadband as an information service, and a revised initial spectrum aggregation screen. Prior to heading the Wireless Bureau, Mr. Campbell spent two years as Wireless Legal Advisor to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Before joining the FCC, Campbell was an attorney with the law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, where he advised on a broad range of legal issues associated with the provision of domestic and international telecommunications services. Campbell previously practiced commercial litigation with the law firm of Wolfe Snowden and clerked for Justice William M. Connolly of the Nebraska Supreme Court. He earned his B.A. from the State University of New York and his J.D., with high distinction, from the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Additional speakers have been invited

Moderator:

Drew Clark
Chairman & Publisher
BroadbandBreakfast.com

Drew Clark has a long-standing reputation for fairness and depth in his reporting. He worked for the National Journal Group for eight years, ran the telecommunications and media ownership project of the Center for Public Integrity, and was Assistant Director of the Information Economy Project at George Mason University. He has written widely on the politics of telecom, media and technology for a variety of publications, including the Washington Post, GigaOm, Slate, and Ars Technica. Drew launched BroadbandCensus.com, BroadbandBreakfast.com’s parent, in January 2008 as a means of providing objective information about broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition.

For More Information Contact:

Sylvia Syracuse
Director of Marketing and Events
BroadbandBreakfast.com
Sylvia@broadbandcensus.com
646-262-4630

AT&T’s Newly Proposed Economic Model For Merger Riles Opposition

in FCC/Media ownership/Mobile Broadband/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 – Sen. Al Franken (D-MN.) sent a filing to the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice Tuesday requesting the denial of the merger between wireless carriers AT&T and T-Mobile.

Less than 24 hours after AT&T submitted its most recent economic model to the FCC and DOJ for the proposed merger with T-Mobile, the junior senator from Minnesota weighed in on the conflict, stating that the merger would drive up prices for consumers and likely cost thousands of jobs.

“This transaction is not in the public interest,” Sen. Franken said in his filing.  “T-Mobile offers consistently lower prices than AT&T and is a strong competitive force that keeps AT&T’s consumer retail prices from creeping ever higher. By eliminating T-Mobile from the market, AT&T removes a crucial ‘maverick.’ T-Mobile pressures the larger providers both to offer better products and to do so at a lower price.”

Sprint released a statement critical of AT&T’s new economic model the same day, calling it an attempt to “distract regulators, politicians and consumers” from the negative consequences of the proposed merger.

“Its latest model, clearly constructed with predetermined results in mind, does nothing to change the negative consequences of the takeover for consumers in the form of higher prices, reduced innovation and decreased investment,” said the carrier through the release.

Rick Kaplan, Chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, seemed to agree with Sprint’s assertions in a July 20 letter to one of AT&T’s attorneys.

“Indeed, AT&T is now expressly relying on these models to bolster its arguments concerning the size of the efficiencies made possible by the merger as weighed against the potential anti-competitive effects,” wrote Kaplan.

AT&T’s new economic models, submitted to the FCC and DOJ on July 25, showed the impact the merger would have in 15 markets, including Washington, D.C. AT&T argues that the proposed merger would broaden currently strained network capacity, improving user experience on smart phones and wireless tablets.

FCC Announces Shakeups in Division Posts

in FCC/People by

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011 –The Federal Communications Commission announced a flurry of new hiring in some of the agency’s top spots this week with new blood due to take over three of the Commission’s upper-level posts.

Tuesday Rick Kaplan as the new Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. On Monday, Robert Naylor was announced as the new Chief Information Officer, and Marius Schwartz as the new Chief Economist in the Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis (OSP).

The recent lineup change by the FCC was announced in three separate press releases in less than 24 hours.

Ruth Milkman, Kaplan’s predecessor, will serve under a new title as Special Counsel to the Chairman for Innovation in Government. Among her responsibilities, Milkman will lead a team to develop proposals for procedural, regulatory and statutory changes to further innovation.

Milkman played a key role in the agency’s spectrum policy development, as well as in the area of auctions.  Kaplan, currently Chief Counsel and Senior Legal Advisor to Chairman Genachowski, played an integral part in the Commission’s policymaking over the last year. Kaplan also worked on the DTV transition.

“It is an exciting and critical time for wireless communications, and I am pleased that Rick accepted this leadership position to continue Ruth Milkman’s excellent work in one of the most important sectors of our economy,” said Genachowski.

Robert Naylor’s new role as the Commission’s Chief Information Officer will provide the vision and leadership necessary for the agency’s cloud-computing modernization efforts, according to FCC Managing Director Steven VanRoekel.

“His work will make our operational expenditures more effective in out years, providing a reliable means of engagement for the consumers and industries we serve,” said VanRoekel.

Schwartz, Professor of Economics at Georgetown University, was hired as the Chief Economist in the Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis for his economic expertise and wide range of telecommunications experience.

Jonathan Baker, who is the outgoing Chief Economist, and Gregory Rosston, Deputy Director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, will both serve as Senior Economists for Transactions to work on the Commission’s reviews of the AT&T-T-Mobile and AT&T-Qualcomm transactions.

Chairman Genachowski said, “The Commission has come to rely heavily on the analyses of the Chief Economist and his role in building the agency’s economic capabilities, and I look forward to that continuing under Marius.”

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