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Institute for Local Self-Reliance Releases Wireless Fact Sheet to Educate Policy Makers

in Mobile Broadband/Spectrum/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2013 – The Institute for Local Self-Reliance released a fact sheet describing the basic principles behind wireless internet technology and policy on June 17.

The fact sheet defines the basic terminology associated with wireless internet such as fixed wireless and data caps. It describes the differences between licensed and unlicensed spectrum and breaks down certain types of licensed spectrum, such as 3G, 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE).

The Institute’s fact sheet also works to dispel certain misconceptions about wireless, such as the common but incorrect use of the terms “wireless” and “Wi-Fi” interchangeably. The Minneapolis-based non-profit organization promotes community-based approaches to telecommunications and broadband infrastructure.

The fact sheet also describes the concept of data caps on wireless networks. It briefly discusses the conflict between carriers and consumers over whether the caps are put in place to reduce congestion or to raise revenue.

Speeds of multiple types of wireless connections as well as cable are also displayed. In both upload and download speeds, cable was generally superior to wireless, although 4G in some instances may surpass cable in upload speeds.

The fact sheet conveys ILSR’s view that wireless networks alone are not sufficient in providing broadband coverage. In addition to the general speed deficiency when compared to cable, the fact sheet highlight the need for fiber backhaul to support wireless networks, the problem of physical objects blocking wireless signals, the latency and high cost of satellite internet service, and the issue of spectrum congestion.

The institute designed the sheet to help educate both consumers and policy makers in making their decisions.

Video: Mobile Health Broadband Breakfast Club – April 16th, 2013

in Broadband and Democratization/Broadband TV/Broadband's Impact/Events/Health/Mobile Broadband/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 – The broadband policy news and events service BroadbandBreakfast.com held its April 2013 Broadband Breakfast Club event:

“Mobile Health: Will Wireless Devices Help Solve the Nation’s Health Crises?” on Tuesday, April 16th 2013 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 from 8 am – 10 am.

The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by ComcastGoogle and US Telecom.

Speakers Included:

Keynote Speaker:

Jacob Reider, Chief Medical Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, US Department of Health and Human Services

Panel:

Robert Jarrin, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Qualcomm

Deven McGraw, Director of the Healthy Privacy Project, Center for Democracy and Technology

Joel White, Executive Director, Health IT Now Coalition

Jacob Reider, Chief Medical Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 

Moderator:  

Paul Kirby, Senior Editor, TRDaily

Event Highlights

Full Event

Highlights from Mobile Health: Will Wireless Devices Help Solve the Nation’s Health Crises? from Broadband Breakfast on Vimeo.

Participate in the Conversation on the Present and Future of Mobile Health at the April 16th Breakfast Club

in Broadband Calendar/Events/Health/Mobile Broadband/Uncategorized/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, Monday, April 8th, 2013 – The broadband policy news and events service BroadbandBreakfast.com will hold its April 2013 Broadband Breakfast Club event:

“Mobile Health: Will Wireless Devices Help Solve the Nation’s Health Crises?” on Tuesday, April 16th 2013 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 from 8 am – 10 am.

This event will address the current state of mobile health endeavors on various devices, including tele-health, smartphone, iPad, email and other forms of wireless communications between patients, doctors and related professionals. We will be addressing the following:

•            Imminent and long term regulatory and adoption outlooks for mobile health on wireless devices

•            The state of app and platform development: most promising coming up this year, which players are involved,    successes thus far in adoption and medical outcomes and what the future holds. Are there any limits to these technologies?

•            Privacy and Security of patient information on mobile devices

•            The role of broadband accessibility in the ultimate success of mobile health initiatives

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 and US Telecom.

Keynote Speaker:

 

Jacob Reider

Chief Medical Officer

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

US Department of Health and Human Services

Jacob Reider, MD is a family physician with 20 years of experience in health information technology and special interest in clinical innovation, user experience, and clinical decision support. His background includes leadership roles in nearly all facets of the health IT domain – from small start-up companies to academic facilities, primary care medical groups, and large health IT development organizations. Dr. Reider has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Students Association, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and has served in directorial positions on boards of several innovative health IT companies.

Panel:

 

Robert Jarrin

Senior Director of Government Affairs

Qualcomm

Robert Jarrin represents Qualcomm on U.S. domestic regulatory matters relating to wireless health and life sciences. Externally, Jarrin is a member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Mobile Initiatives (mHIMSS) Advisory Council, leads the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Policy A-Team on Telehealth and Meaningful Use, is the U.S. Chair for the European-American Business Council (EABC) eHealth Policy Group, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Medical Automation.  He also served for three years as co-chair of the U.S. Policy Working Group for the Continua Health Alliance, and is seated on the Board of Directors for Vida Senior Centers. In June 2012, Jarrin was asked by FCC Chairman Genachowski to help lead a task force that is currently studying how best to accelerate the proliferation of mobile health (mHealth) technologies. In September 2012, this task force prepared and presented the FCC with a formal report detailing material findings, concrete recommendations and actionable goals for the FCC and other federal agencies. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Jarrin worked as a manager of Strategic Partnerships for Ericsson Wireless Communications, served as a law clerk in the White House Office of Counsel to President Clinton and also served as a law clerk and subsequent consultant in the U.S. Department of Justice to Attorney General Janet Reno. Jarrin frequently lectures on mHealth and medical device regulations for the George Washington University Health Policy Department and the Case Western Reserve University, Case School of Engineering. Jarrin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law.

Deven McGraw

Director of the Healthy Privacy Project

Center for Democracy and Technology

CDT’s Health and Privacy Project is focused on developing and promoting workable privacy and security protections for electronic personal health information. Ms. McGraw was one of three persons appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), to serve on the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee, a federal advisory committee established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She also served on two key workgroups of the American Health Information Community (AHIC), the federal advisory body established by HHS in the Bush Administration to develop recommendations on how to facilitate use of health information technology to improve health. She also served on the Policy Steering Committee of the eHealth Initiative and now serves on its Leadership Committee. She is also on the Steering Group of the Markle Foundation’s Connecting for Health multi-stakeholder initiative. Ms. McGraw has a strong background in health care policy. Prior to joining CDT, Ms. McGraw was the Chief Operating Officer of the National Partnership for Women & Families, providing strategic direction and oversight for all of the organization’s core program areas. She also served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Governor of Massachusetts and taught in the Federal Legislation Clinic at the Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. McGraw graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland. She earned her J.D., magna cum laude, and her L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. She also has a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Joel White

Executive Director

Health IT Now Coalition

The Health IT Now Coalition is a diverse group of organizations representing patients, health providers, health insurers, agents, and brokers, employers and unions that have come together to help integrate information technology into health care. Mr. White spent twelve years on Capitol Hill as professional staff, during which he helped enact nine laws, including the Medicare Modernization Act, the Deficit Reduction Act, the Tax Reform and Health Care Act, the Trade Act, and the Children’s Health Act. Mr. White was instrumental in developing the Part D e-prescribing law in the Medicare Modernization Act and in developing legislation that passed the House to promote the adoption and use of health information technology. Mr. White was the Staff Director of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee with responsibility for advising Members of Congress and directing staff on all policy issues within the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee. The issues include Medicare, Health Savings Accounts, tax credits for health insurance, HIPAA, mental health parity, and health information technology. 

Jacob Reider, Chief Medical Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 

 

Moderator: 

Paul Kirby, Senior Editor, TRDaily

Paul Kirby is a senior editor at TR Daily. He’s been at TR since 2000, exclusively covering wireless policy issues. Before that, he worked for six years at Reuters, where he was a staffer on the wire service’s broadcast/online desk. Prior to joining Reuters, Paul covered Washington for Florida and Louisiana newspapers at a regional wire service. He has also been a business reporter at the Gainesville Sun in Florida and a local government reporter at the Newport News Daily Press in Virginia. Paul is an alumnus of the University of Maryland at College Park. He grew up in the Washington area.

Background on BroadbandBreakfast.com

BroadbandBreakfast.com is in its fifth year of hosting monthly breakfast forums in Washington on broadband and related internet policy issues. These events are on the record, open to the public and consider a wide range of viewpoints. Our Broadband Breakfast Club meets on the third tuesday of every month (except for August and December).

Our elected official keynotes have included Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Diane Watson (D-CA), Joe Barton (R-TX) and the former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA).

Our agency and commission official keynotes have included Deputy Undersecretary for Agriculture Dallas Tonsager, Julius Genachowski, Chairman FCC; former RUS Administrator, Jonathan Adelstein, Julie Brill, Federal Trade Commissioner; Anna Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary NTIA.

Our moderated discussion panels are comprised of leaders from a wide variety of organizations including government, industry, law firms, academia, nonprofit, journalism and many others.

Our audiences are equally diverse. 

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/

For More Information Contact:

 

Sylvia Syracuse

Director of Marketing and Events

BroadbandBreakfast.com

Sylvia@broadbandcensus.com

646-262-4630

Spectrum Bill Recap: Now on to the Auction

in Spectrum/Wireless by

WASHINGTON March 8th, 2012 – Last month Congress passed one of the more important pieces of legislation regarding the future of wireless access and innovation in our country. The bi partisan legislation has already garnered support from many of the stakeholders and parties involved. Given that we have not covered this legislation up to date, we are now providing a summary of it.

On February 17th Congress passed the “Payroll Tax Bill”, formerly titled the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act of 2012. While the primary focus of this bill is the payroll tax, there are three key provisions in it that are revolutionary for wireless networks in the United States. These provisions were inserted into the bill after the bi partisan wrangling over the payroll tax portion was over, as it became clear that it would pass.

In the first provision, the legislation authorizes an unprecedented release of spectrum through granting the Federal Communications Commission the authority to establish voluntary spectrum auctions for currently licensed, unassigned and government-owned spectrum. The second provision gives the FCC explicit authority to preserve unlicensed TV white spaces and to consolidate white space bands for unlicensed devices. The third provision creates a national interoperable public safety broadband network.

As a consequence of these provisions, there will be significant rectification of the national shortage of spectrum for broadband services. In order to achieve these goals, the legislation creates significant monetary incentives for spectrum rights holders and projects net profit of approximately $15 billion for the U.S. treasury.

Auctions

In the first part of the auction process the FCC has three years to auction off up to 65MHz of spectrum from a series unassigned or government- owned bands.

The second phase of the auction seeks to auction off portions of spectrum bands currently licensed by the TV broadcasters. The legislation gives the FCC the authority to hold incentive auctions where broadcasters would receive payment in return for voluntarily giving up portions of their spectrum allocation. Through a process called a reverse auction, the FCC will receive bids from broadcasters stating the amount that they would accept for giving up the rights to their spectrum. The reverse auction is designed to keep the broadcaster’s asking price low. The FCC will then take the relinquished spectrum and auction it off in regular auction proceeding.

The law asks the FCC to use all reasonable measures to preserve existing coverage for different stations and prevents them from moving stations from UHF to VHF bands and vice versa. Additionally, the legislation has set aside a one-time $1.75 billion dollar fund to cover reallocation costs for stations that have given up spectrum.

Congress did not restrict the FCC’s ability to enforce conditions of net neutrality on new wireless spectrum licenses, a provision that was part of an earlier version of the legislation. They did, however, prohibit the FCC from setting pre-conditions, aside from the basic qualifications for participating, in the auction process. The law does, nevertheless, give the FCC broad authority to craft auction rules in the public interest. The FCC can make “rules of general applicability, including rules concerning spectrum aggregation that promote competition.” Essentially, this will enable them to place caps on the amount of spectrum any one entity could win.

Preserving Unlicensed Spectrum Uses

Unlike prior versions of the bill, the final version gives the FCC explicit authority to preserve unlicensed TV white spaces. Additionally, the FCC can consolidate white space bands for unlicensed devices to promote the most optimal use and create nationwide guard bands between licenses in order to promote innovation and investment in new wireless services.

Public Safety

The Legislation lays out the plan to construct the nation’s first ever public safety broadband network. The bill creates the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) which will receive $7 billion in auction revenue and licenses to use the “D Block” as well as adjacent spectrum to build a national interoperable broadband network for public safety personnel.

Congress inserted an opt out clause in the public safety portion of the bill for states that demonstrate their own ability to build a public safety network and connect it to the national network. To ensure interoperability of these networks, the bill creates an FCC technical advisory board to come up with interoperability standards. States that choose to build their own public safety networks can apply for grants if they can show that the networks meet the FCC’s interoperability standards.

Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas is on the Move at the Broadband Breakfast Club

in Broadband TV/Broadband Updates/Fiber/Rural Utilities Service/Universal Service/Wireless/WISP by

WASHINGTON, Friday, October 21, 2011 – Rural broadband providers, national union members, federal agency officials and state broadband administrators squared off on Tuesday at the Broadband Breakfast Club’s keynote and panel presentations on “Bringing Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas: Where is the Progress?”

Event Highlights

Highlights from “Bringing Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas: Where is the Progress?” from BroadbandBreakfast.com

Complete Program

“Bringing Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas: Where is the Progress?” from BroadbandBreakfast.com

Moderator, Jerry Hagstrom of the Hagstrom Report, set the stage for the morning’s discussion by highlighting the necessity for broadband in Rural America.  High speed internet is not only crucial for telemedicine, education and access to Native American communities but is important for general rural development and prosperity including the ability of the farming sector to make equipment repairs and access information about markets.

Undersecretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture, Dallas Tonsager provided the keynote.  Tonsager is proud of RUS’s progress on loans and grants awarded through the broadband stimulus initiative and is anxiously awaiting the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Proposal to see how it would benefit rural communities.

The Undersecretary expressed the importance of different technologies like wireless and fiber in addressing the needs of different communities. “It takes an eclectic set of solutions to meet the challenge and get out there and serve that broad area of the US…the stakes are high.”

Tonsager was pleased with the $3.5 billion in stimulus dollars that went to support grant and loan projects.  He mentioned that while over 100 projects are in the act of construction or completed there are some that are moving along slower than expected.  Those projects he stressed are very large and require intense planning in order to be executed properly.  All funds are slated to be spent by 2015.

Tonsager also noted that over 110 million dollars have been allocated to 25 projects aimed to help tribal communities.

“How do we keep moving forward?” asked Tonsager, “we have to be persistent and focus on this critical period of investment.”  He also stressed the importance of the Community Connect Programs which focus on infrastructure to develop community centers that provide free public access to broadband.

Tonsager also touted his staff’s focus on the “Build Out and Build On” efforts. “The intension is not just to get to the homes, but to provide them with the support to help them build their businesses.”

Addressing the USF proposal the Undersecretary said “With the proper support agricultural and rural communities will be the ones that help get this country out of a recession.”

Hagstrom then asked the Undersecretary about the threat of budget reductions on the agency and how cuts would affect programs that support rural development.

Tonsager said while he realizes the need for deficit reduction, there is strong support for rural development.  He also noted that he spends a lot of time making the case that the agriculture community needs the rural development programs.

Tonsager said that if faced with deficits cuts, there are possibilities for consolidation of some of the 42 programs currently operating under RUS and there are additional steps that can be taken to target better loan opportunities in order to keep delinquencies low.

The panel that followed consisted of six experts with varying perspectives on the RUS programs, the USF proposal, national goals for broadband adoption. These six included: Chandler Goule, Vice President of Government Relations, National Farmers Union, James Kohler, Deputy Director of Enterprise Technology Services, Alaska Department of Administration, Forbes Mercy, President of Washington Broadband Inc & Board Member/VP & Legislative Committee Chair, Wireless Internet Service Provider Association (WISPA), Leif Oveson, Director of Government Affairs, National Telecommunication Cooperative Association (NTCA), Jaqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and David Russell, Solutions Marketing Director, Calix and Head of the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council’s Regulatory Affairs Committee.

Goule expressed NFU’s support of broadband adoption and reiterated the importance of broadband in the daily lives and tasks of the farming industry.  Rural development in broadband is essential to economic vitality of the farming community.

Kohler from Alaska’s main concern is “when is rural America going to get adequate infrastructure.”  He said, “if you take the remarks of Chairman Genachowski at face value… it will not be anytime soon.”

Kohler was also concerned about the concept of the auction program; he stated that “the further you get from population density, the fewer competitors you are going to get for USF funding.”  Kohler added that Rural America’s best friends are their state commissions, and he was surprised that many states have not been more vocal about the role of state authorities leading up to the FCC’s proposal.

“What we do not see,” said Kohler “is how great the challenge is to actually connect many of these areas.”  He believes that rural carriers are going to be hard pressed to meet many of their obligations because of the severe lack of infrastructure in many rural places.

Kohler feels that the government should be focused on getting everyone up to even 2G or 3G before they worry about meeting their goal of 4G.

Mercy made a strong case for wireless internet service providers and claimed that those providing fixed wireless have been the true innovators in the most rural areas.  Mercy said that there is a misconception that there are only two types of broadband providers, cable and telecom companies.  WISPs can ignore the density metrics used by the major carriers that seek 1000-3000 homes per square mile.  In some areas of Texas Fixed Wireless Service Providers provide broadband to areas that only have 10.48 homes per square mile.  Mercy said that this important information “will provide clarity and credibility in preventing federally funded aid to competitors in the form of grants or USF when an existing fixed wireless provider is already an incumbent.”

Obstacles for fixed wireless come from the vast swaths of unused spectrum and the inefficient use of white spaces.  In the end, Mercy noted that fixed wireless equipment is much less expensive than the equipment used by mobile providers and can be deployed much faster in rural areas.

Oveson from NTCA highlighted the fact that it can get very expensive when rural independent service providers serve 40% of the US land mass with only 5% of the US population.  He addressed the slower pace of some of the RUS loan and grant infrastructure build out projects, but understood some of the issues with historical preservation areas and fiber shortages that have slowed down some of the projects.

NCAI represents 565 tribes throughout the country but there are only 9 tribal telcos.  While Pata was proud of the telemedicine developments in the tribal communities she stressed that with unemployment levels ranging from 20-90% broadband deployment to tribal is the key for future economic development

Russell was speaking on behalf of Calix as well as the Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) Council that represents 250 service providers and vendors.  Calix is the largest electronic vendor to rural markets; they provide DSL as well as fiber to the home.  Russell stated that all technologies that provide broadband require fiber at some point, fiber infrastructure is very important even for wireless providers.

Russell believed in a three prong model of success first prong being USF support, second prong being support from RUS programs and the essential third prong is lies in the success of BTOP and its focus stimulating middle mile and last mile infrastructure build out.

Russell ended his statement with a note of caution for the USF proposal that focuses on the cap and a capital fund model. Russell suggests that the FCC focus on an operating fund model, “giving people an annuity every year allows them to leverage private capital.”

A very interesting question was raised by Stephanie Joyce from Arent Fox, who asked the panelists whether USF should focus on income and not just census numbers. “Would you support means testing of any kind in connection to USF funding for broadband in rural areas?”

Both Kohler and Pata were against means testing citing concerns that it would reduce incentive to build out to the last mile. Oveson was against means tests because it would add another step of uncertainty for the providers, “a provider might hesitate because they would not know what part of their constituency would apply.”

Mercy on the other hand believed if Telco’s build out they should build out all the way.  He also noted that the customer should be able to choose who they give the voucher to provide them this that service.

Vilsack Announces $518 Million in Broadband Grants

in Broadband Stimulus/Fiber/Mobile Broadband/Rural Utilities Service/States/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, September 13, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced 43 new broadband grants across 27 states. Overall, these grants will receive $518 million in government funding and $34.1 million in private investment.

“The broadband projects announced today will give rural Americans access to the tools they need to create jobs and access improved health care and educational opportunities,” Vilsack said. “These projects will not only create jobs for the people who will build these networks, the completed systems will provide a platform for rural economic growth for years to come. The Obama Administration understands that bringing broadband to rural America provides a gateway for businesses and key anchor institutions – such as libraries, schools, public safety and community centers.”

The majority of the grants, 23 of 43, given were in support of fiber- to-the-home projects.

There were also eight wireless projects, four WiMax and four based on 3G technologies.

The final 12 projects were general infrastructure projects to build middle mile support and increase connections to public computing centers.

Three of the projects will include some tribal land coverage.

Broadband Key Component of Australian Election

in Australia/Fiber/International by

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2010 – The national broadband network was a key issue in the recent Australian election, with the Parliament evenly split. The Labor and Liberal parties each had 72 seats with two independents.

The independents choose to side with the Labor party mainly due to their all-fiber approach to the national broadband network.

Tony Windsor, one of the independents, said: “The issues that I thought were critical to this, and possibly the most critical, was broadband. There’s an enormous opportunity for regional Australians to engage with the infrastructure of this century and to pass up that opportunity and miss the opportunity for millions of country Australians, I thought, was too good an opportunity to miss.”

The Labor proposal was to create a gigabit backbone network on which internet service providers can provide service. The Liberal party in contrast intended to setup a wireless network.

Broadband Initiatives: Impact will depend on Wireless & Fixed Strategies

in Expert Opinion/FCC/Mobile Broadband/National Broadband Plan/Wireless by

Broadband; we want it, and we all depend on it; but where you live can impact access and adoption of the best that service providers have to offer.  The FCC is looking to change both geographic and demographic limitations now plaguing the U.S. in the global race for broadband economic supremacy. Can combinations of a fixed and wireless-mobile strategy improve broadband economic viability by increasing access, adoption, and affordability across the broadband spectrum?

Geographic Limitations

The reality is significant, that where you live depends on the access and quality of broadband service available for most U.S consumers. Its impact is felt most positively in highly dense population areas like the Northeast and large urban centers where private companies have concentrated their efforts to capture lucrative and highly upward socio-economic demographics. This gives the most ROI (Return on Investment) for the large companies to provide the (best of the best) in broadband.

Demographic Limitations

On the other side of this equation are the less dense and less upwardly economic population centers. These are the rural areas where providing the best that broadband has to offer, is and continues to be, economically unviable to service providers. It is a matter of demand and supply, a consequence of our free economic system which relies on private capital to create goods and services which benefit us all. Without the infusion of capital directed to low income and less dense areas there will continue to be a wide gap of access and adoption of broadband in the U.S.

Access and Adoption

The National Broadband Plan-The FCC has formulated a plan to incorporate an initiative to close the gap of the so called underserved with respect to broadband. It has addressed these issues by targeting areas of needed improvement in the telecommunications arena for the U.S.

  • Universal Service Fund-A plan to redirect funds to broadband access, originally adopted to subsidize Telco providers to serve under populated areas with telephone service where the economics in providing this service was unfeasible.
  • Spectrum Reallocation-A plan to reallocate spectrum from broadcasters and government entities which were not being utilized to wireless-mobile broadband initiatives.
  • Broadband Stimulus Plan-Provide funding, approximately $7Billion, to encourage service providers to build broadband infrastructure into underserved areas. Funding was allocated through an extensive grant process to prove viability of the applicant.
  • Net Neutrality- A controversial plan to provide equal and unencumbered access to broadband for all involved constituents

A Fixed and Wireless-Mobile Solution

In reality economic realities of wide-spread adoption of broadband continues to be sporadic due to the large investments service providers must make to realize a reasonable return on investment. Since competition brings prices down for consumers, operators are only willing to compete where the most attractive demographics and dense population centers exist.

With the advent of continued proliferation from wireless coverage throughout the U.S., and the projected exponential growth in mobile access, adoption and affordability through LTE to 4G technology; the realities of serving less populated areas becomes increasingly more likely. The strides being made in technology within the mobile arena can significantly impact the broadband community. Cisco White Paper: (See LTE: Simplifying the Migration to 4G Networks)

  • Mobile is highly competitive and requires less infrastructure thereby reducing capital outlays by service providers. This is the most promising solution along with fixed broadband to penetrate underserved areas in the near future.
  • Mobile operators will continue upgrading back-haul infrastructure to enhance coverage and reliability within the network
  • 4G technology will increase network efficiencies, economics, coverage, and enhancements to give users a top quality experience at a reasonable price
  • A wireless revolution for both consumer and business dynamics with applications to improve energy consumption, travel efficiencies, educational opportunities, health diagnosis and monitoring, environmental solutions, and business processes will be a true reality in the near future.

The outlook of a fixed and wireless-mobile strategy to bring about widespread access and adoption of broadband to the masses, while significantly achieving a global and competitive reality for the U.S., cannot be over-stated.

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Secretary Vilsack Touts Efforts Made by RUS

in Broadband Stimulus/Rural Utilities Service by

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2010 –The US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has just released a report that outlines the first round of Broadband Initiatives Program grants from the stimulus package last year.

During a conference call with the press USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that more than $1 billion has been awarded to 68 projects in 31 states. In these 68 investments, broadband service was brought to approximately 530,000 residents, 93,000 businesses, and 3,300 anchor institutions, such as schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community centers.

The first round of funded grants also created 5,000 immediate jobs for those laying fiber and building network infrastructure. The report anticipates that these jobs will continue to exist, as maintenance and repairs on towers and lines will be necessary.

While a lot of the investments involved fiber networks, about 20% of the projects were wireless endeavors, and at least 30% of the projects had wireless components. Secretary Vilsack said that the projects were not about “picking the winning technology,” but about what type of connection is best for a specific community’s needs.

In regards to connection speeds, he stated that all grants meet the speed goals from the National Broadband Plan while most are faster than the minimum requirements. He also said that rural residents would not be paying high rates for broadband access. He said that a large percentage of rates come from the costs of installing broadband infrastructure in an area, and that since the grants covered those installation costs, that expense would not be passed to the consumer. By giving consumers faster broadband speeds, customer satisfaction will be higher and more people will begin to use broadband. Vilsack said that if more people are using broadband services, the cost will spread among more consumers, and the rates will remain lower.

Benefits to the rural areas of these broadband investments not only include improving communication, especially for emergency services; but also secondary uses such as Telemedicine for rural hospitals, which gives patients more options for treatments that do not involve extensive travel to bigger hospitals. Parents with children can also access educational material online without having to make arrangement for their children’s care.

Secretary Vilsack emphasized the benefits to farmers and ranchers, which includes up-to-date weather reports and commercial information to help them make the best decisions for their operations. With broadband services, farmers can also access and sell their products on an international scale.

He also stated that the report is a “very, very important report” because it shows that USDA is making a historical impact in rural areas, and he anticipates that this year will be an important one for rural communities. By increasing broadband service to these locations, he hopes to revitalize the country’s economic growth, saying “a strong rural America is a strong America.”

Nation’s Capital to Get WiMax

in Mobile Broadband/States/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2010-  Clearwire has recently launched its WiMax service in the nation’s capitol, making it the 33rd city to obtain the service. WiMax – unlike WiFi –  is able to cover miles of land with only a single tower. The service boasts speeds of 6 megabits per second down and 1 mbps up. Plans will range in price from $30 for mobile only to $50 for mobile and home use. There is also a $10 a day plan for occasional users.

“We’re proud to bring the nation’s leading 4G network to the nation’s capital, and we believe that D.C.-area residents, businesses and visitors can all benefit from an Internet experience similar to what they’re used to having at home or the office, anywhere around town or on the go,” said Jeff Fugate, CLEAR general manager for Washington. “Whether downloading the newest files before a meeting on Capitol Hill, hosting a video chat with friends from the National Mall, or researching an assignments while moving around an area university or museum campus, CLEAR provides an unmatched combination of Internet speed and mobility within the District and many of the other surrounding communities.”

Clearwire plans to expand service to Jacksonville and Daytona, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn; St. Louis; Salt Lake City; Merced, Modesto, Stockton, and Visalia, Calif.; Wilmington, Del.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Eugene, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; and Yakima and Tri-Cities, Wash., by the end of the summer.

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