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Telecommunications Industry Association

Broadband Roundup: House Communications Committee Seeks Comments from Trade Groups on Telecom Law

in Broadband Roundup/Broadband's Impact/FCC/Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – The House Energy and Commerce Committee put forward an opportunity for individuals and interest groups to offer comment on telecommunications policy, and many individuals and trade groups took advantage of the opportunity, The Hill reported

The Telecommunications Industry Association said that in 1996, lawmakers didn’t grasp the manner in which new technologies “directly challenge each other in the marketplace,”

“A legislative focus on specific, well-defined public interest objectives will ultimately prove more durable in achieving those objectives as technology evolves, rather than an approach which micro-manages how content providers, network operators, and customers should relate to each other,” said the group representing equipment manufacturers.

CTIA – The Wireless Association suggested the FCC adopt a minimal regulation.

“To accommodate this changing landscape, competition should be defined flexibly to include an examination of what consumers consider product substitutes, including services offered by non-carrier providers,” the group said.

Sprint said in a press release that it just reached agreements with 12 rural and regional network carriers on their fourth-generation LTE networks.

“These agreements seek to increase wireless competition by providing the carriers – and their customers – low-cost access to Sprint’s nationwide 4G LTE network and an opportunity to pursue an expanded utilization of 4G LTE across America where the cost of building such networks and the roaming costs are often prohibitively expensive,” read the press release

Dubbed the rural roaming preferred program, the effort was developed in conjunction with Competitive Carriers Association and now extends to “23 states, over 350, 000 square miles and a population of over 34 million people.”

Apple said it is asking schools to apply for its portion of the ConnectED program to improve connectivity and technology in schools, The Washington Post reported.

The company has already invested $100 million to the program and will be contributing further by providing iPads, MacBooks, software and technical training to “schools with a high percentage of students in lunch assistance programs.”

Ron Carruth, superintendent for the Whittier County School District in Whittier, Calif., said “we are looking to partner with schools that share our vision of using technology to transform education. If a school is selected, we will provide it with Apple products, education content and wireless infrastructure, and we will work closely with teachers to further their professional development.”

The applications are due on June 20.

In other news, a study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation found that about one-third of Americans are not competent in the use of computers and the internet. That’s nearly twice the number of people without internet access.

The report urged increased investments into digital skills education by the public and private sectors.

America is Lagging in Global Broadband Because of Antiquated Infrastructure: TIA Video on Capacity

in FCC/Rural Utilities Service/Universal Service by

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2013 – America is lagging behind a number of foreign countries in terms of broadband penetration, according to a Telecommunications Industry Association documentary entitled “Broadband Capacity: Are We Ready?”

According to the video, America’s deficiency is due to the fact that America pioneered the system and therefore has a more antiquated infrastructure, whereas many other countries established networks later, taking advantage of newer technology.

As broadband modernized, certain areas, primarily rural and low-income, have been left behind. While government funds have been made available to help expand coverage to these areas – particularly through the Universal Service Fund  — many carriers have rejected the funding in order to avoid compliance with certain requirements. Other strategies should be used to establish broadband coverage, said the video.

While rural areas struggle to keep up, even the most advanced systems have problems, said the video. It focused on a school district that has adopted a high-speed broadband system and has struggled to meet the high cost of securing the network.

Although the spectrum crunch was expected to mark the end of broadband expansion, the documentary discusses how the industry has adapted to survive. Incentive auctions are held to sell off under-utilized spectrum space. While this process will take some time, significant innovations have been made in the meantime to maximize efficient use of the spectrum.

Smart Grid’s Future Relies on Consumer Acceptance, Environmental Benefits

in Broadband's Impact/FCC/Smart Grid by

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2010 – At BroadbandBreakfast.com’s breakfast club this week, experts in the smart grid field said issues such as consumer adoption, environmental benefits and privacy concerns would decide the future of grid development.

In Nick Sinai’s keynote speech, he stressed the importance that broadband will play in creating a smart, strong and secure electrical grid system. Sinai, who is the energy and environment director of the Federal Communications Commission’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative, said both the United States’ economic prosperity and its environmental health depend upon better management of electricity use.

The nation needs broadband to manage the grid, he said. Currently, identifying problems with electricity depends upon customers calling their utility providers, according to Sinai. However, sensors operating through broadband could immediately alert utilities to electrical outages and allow the problems to be fixed quickly.

The environmental benefit of developing the grid to be 5 percent more efficient than it is now would be equivalent to taking 50 million cars off the road.

Sinai said it is essential to reach the consumers with this new technology, adding that, “The most profound impact is through smarter homes and buildings,” which he said were more personal. Smart electricity-monitoring meters that people can see and manage through broadband are likely to have a bigger impact on them than just electricity conservation education.

Cynthia Brumfield, director of research at the Utilities Telecom Council, moderated the event and asked the panelists to identify positive and negative influences for smart grid development.

Larry Plumb, executive director of emerging issues and technology policy at Verizon Communications said the complexity of smart grid technologies is both good and troublesome. While it may be difficult for consumers to grasp the technicality of smart grid, the complexity and issues associated with the grid will spur innovation and new smart grid products.

According to Joseph Anderson, consumer adoption is one of the most important issues facing smart grid development. Anderson, who is an energy and environment consultant with the Telecommunications Industry Association, said that smart grid issues touch everyone in the country because almost everyone uses electricity and broadband. He also cited the thousands of jobs that smart grid development can create.

Brett Kilbourne, director of regulatory services and associate counsel of the Utilities Telecom Council, also advocated greater efforts to make consumers feel more empowered when it comes to smart grid. He added that utilities are increasingly embracing smart grid as the demand for electricity goes up and it becomes more difficult to generate more energy. He said, “We need to address the nuts and bolts of smart grid issues before looking at the policy.”

The utility representative on the panel, Bob Hance, said that most people are offended by the idea that there is not already an existing functional smart grid system. As the president and CEO of Midwest Energy Cooperative, he cited privacy concerns that some consumers have in regard to the smart grid. He said that people do not want the utilities or anyone else to know what they are doing in their home, even when and how much electricity they use. Hance said consumer involvement is essential, and that while customers may use their mobile phones to program their DVRs, they are more hesitant to control their home energy use from a remote location.

Solving the Riddle of Broadband Adoption Cuts Across Technologies and Demographics

in Broadband Calendar/Broadband TV/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, December 10, 2009 – Broadband Census News LLC on Thursday released, for FREE, the full-length video of the Broadband Breakfast Club event on December 8, 2009: “Setting the Table for the National Broadband Plan: Bridging the Digital Divide.”

The event is available on BroadbandBreakfast.com at the following link.

The event featured welcoming remarks by Rep. Diane E. Watson, D-Calif., addressing the significant of broadband inclusion in the international context; keynote remarks by Brian David, head of the FCC Omnibus Broadband Initiative’s section dealing with Adoption and Usage; plus a panel that included:

  • Robert Cornell, Washington Island Electric Cooperative
  • Alan Inouye, Director, Office of Information Technology Policy, American Library Association
  • Bruce Lincoln, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Columbia University
  • Karen Archer Perry, Founder and President, Karacomm
Robert Cornell, Washington Island Electric Cooperative
Alan Inouye, Director, Office of Information Technology Policy, American Library Association
Bruce Lincoln, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Columbia University
Karen Archer Perry, Founder and President, Karacomm

To register for the next Broadband Breakfast Club, to be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2009, please visit http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.comThe Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by the Telecommunications Industry Association, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc., and the Benton Foundation.

For further information about sponsorship, contact sales@broadbandcensus.com, or call 202-580-8196. The Broadband Breakfast Club is Copyright © Broadband Census News LLC.

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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