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Illinois Proposal for Transparent Town Halls

CHICAGO, January 12, 2009 – Broadband As a Tool for Transparent Town Halls for Responsible Infrastructure Investments of $700 Billion: A proposal of the Community Life Initiative.

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Broadband As a Tool for Transparent Town Halls for Responsible Infrastructure Investments of $700 Billion

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Editor’s Note: This document was provided by Layton Olson of the Community Life Initiative in Chicago, Ill., on January 7, 2009, and is dated January 2, 2009. Visit the BroadbandCensus.com Broadband Wiki.

A proposal for Illinois  January 2, 2009

As we in Illinois work with the Federal government for a Responsible Process to manage 2009 Economic Recovery investments, we have opportunities for Local communities to intelligently and flexibly coordinate both short-term job and family security programs and longer term private and public investments.

As a result of several years of work in Illinois, we have statewide and regional networks with the capacity to host community town halls in areas up to 150,000 for community, business, education, health and public leaders.   Such broad-based and transparent town halls can quickly help understand and plan short term and longer investments, as well as provide oversight and data on how well they are doing, on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

Economic stimulus proposals include both shovel-ready and longer-term projects in transportation, schools and libraries, water, health care, home security, energy-efficient buildings and industries, tied together thru broadband extension.   Proposals include Federal, state and local government commitments, many with important private sector investments.

For America to compete in the world environment, we need More Than Representative Government.  That is, we need civic participation by juries of our peers, and the investment of their time and talents as well as their taxes and purchases.  In sum, Uncle Sam wants us — as leaders of communities, businesses, education, health and public bodies – to come together in Transparent and Accountable Town Halls in every area of the country, as the Building Blocks of Safe, Healthy and Resourceful Communties.

Community Town Halls, convened at local “people connector network” anchor institutions, such as hospitals, colleges and community centers, can bring together cross-sections of leaders for visioning and planning, program cooperation, data collection and transparent oversight of projects regardless of the funding source.    These networks add up to Digital Government at work in a people-inclusive way with reporting-transparent credibility through widely distributed Internet tools and community media.

To make Illinois a leading Digital Infrastructure state, we begin with 5 Golden Resolutions for 2009:

1. Illinois General Assembly to complete final passage before mid-January of Illinois House-passed allocation of $5 million in current non-taxpayer funds to match Federal rural healthcare broadband infrastructure funds of $21 million and to undertake medical IT record pilot projects in 15 regions throughout Illinois.

HB 3889

2. Illinois state and local governments work with all parties to present a coordinated list of short-term and longer-term investments to the Obama Administration and Illinois Congressional delegation, with projects listed on Internet for citizen comment.

3. Public and private parties in Illinois to cooperate for new era in Transparent Government by reviewing proposed Economic Recovery investments in all 10 Economic Opportunity regions of the state, and in U.S. Census data regions of up to 150,000, or about 4 1/2 Town Hall areas in each Congressional District.

4. Each local area Town Hall be asked to identify one or more Intelligent

Infrastructure job-creation projects for inclusion in Illinois statewide business locater network and links with university-private sector backed Technology Park system.

5. Illinois broadband awareness network will initiate consumer-friendly information activities including graphic-based information concerning Broadband Access and Digital Skills, including in relation to Digital TV transition in February 2009 and linked with Transparent Town Hall participation opportunities.

As parties who have worked with Illinois Broadband Deployment Council infrastructure and consumer demand committees, and who have worked to develop Broadband Planning tools for local and regional planning, including through American Planning Association Chicago activities and Digital Government hearing by Illinois House Computer Technology Committee, we seek to work with all public and private parties to invest our  time and money as good stewards of safe, healthy and economically resourceful communities throughout Illinois.

Our state is located at the Internet Crossroads of the World, with the most Internet traffic coming through metropolitan Chicago.   With these resolutions we can show that we are the State That Net Works, and is ready indeed with the Intelligent Infrastructure to host the 2016 Olympics.

Layton Olson
Community Life Initiative
Howe & Hutton, Ltd.
Chicago

Ron Thomas, ACIP
Regional Planner
Chicago

Dr. Jerry Field
IIT Industrial Management and Technology Program
Chicago

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney at The CommLaw Group. He has closely tracked the trends in and mechanics of digital infrastructure for 20 years, and has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers navigate coverage, identify markets, broker infrastructure, and operate in the public right of way. The articles and posts on Broadband Breakfast and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed, are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

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Cable From U.S. Embassy In Beijing Reveals U.S. Perspective on Trade Relationship

For all of the tough talk coming out of Congress as the United States and China embark on a high profile trade summit today, a confidential memo sent by U.S. Ambassador Jon M. Huntsman at the beginning of 2010 illustrates how the fortunes of the two countries have changed in modern times, and how the leadership of the United States is scrambling for innovative ways to readjust as its economic clout fades.

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For all of the tough talk coming out of Congress as the United States and China embark on a high profile trade summit today, a confidential memo sent by U.S. Ambassador Jon M. Huntsman at the beginning of 2010 illustrates how the fortunes of the two countries have changed in modern times, and how the leadership of the United States is scrambling for innovative ways to readjust as its economic clout fades.

The memo, dated January 28, 2010, appears to be addressed to various arms of the United States government, including White House advisors David Axelrod and Larry Summers, who at the time was the Director of the National Economic Council.

The document acknowledges that China’s market was the only source of growth for many American companies in 2009, and ponders the wisdom of aggressive retaliatory measures against China for not strictly protecting U.S. intellectual property rights, and for implementing policies that favor Chinese companies at the expense of American ones in China.

Huntsman, the memo’s author, makes clear that maintaining a healthy U.S.-China relationship is a difficult balancing act and that the results of this week’s trade summit in the U.S. will be a key marker in the ongoing and increasingly rocky trade relationship between the world’s two most powerful nations.

“We face a challenging year ahead in U.S.-China relations,” Huntsman wrote this January. “Ten percent U.S. unemployment coupled with our huge trade deficit with China, China’s increasing use of industrial policies to restrict market access, and an undervalued RMB, will bring greater tension to bilateral ties. The Google case adds fuel to the fire.

“In this context, it is critical that we find ways to better advance our bilateral economic policy. This will require sustained, focused interaction on a daily basis with the Chinese, but also serious thinking about what can be best accomplished in the run-up and at the key meetings like the S&ED and JCCT. We need to find ways to keep the relationship positive, but even more important to ensure the American worker, in particular, reaps the benefits of our bilateral economic engagement.”

“S&ED” refers to the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary with their Chinese counterparts. It was established by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao to address key issues between the two countries such as trade, currency policy, the U.S.’ borrowing obligations to China, climate change and global monetary policy and politics.

“JCCT” refers to the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the commission that is meeting today to discuss and iron out trade issues.

Huntsman’s memo, made available online via Wikileaks late last week, presents Obama Administration officials with various policy options and their risks, and proposes practical ideas on how to engage the Chinese government, business sector and Chinese citizens with the United States.

Huntsman sketches out several areas in which the U.S. government can smooth the way for U.S. businesses to expand their operations abroad, and for the Chinese to expand their operations and to invest in the United States.

He suggests, for example, expanding public-private  sector partnerships modeled on the Aviation Cooperation program. The program now has 40 U.S. corporate members and has sponsored training for more than 100 Chinese aviation professionals, and has introduced U.S. firms and technology throughout China’s aviation industry and regulatory structure.

He also suggests reaching out to U.S. state economic development programs during the National Governors’ Association annual meeting and connecting those programs to their counterparts in China.

In addition, the U.S. government should make more information about business opportunities available on the internet in Chinese, he said.

“We should create many more Chinese language web sites that are directed at key secondary and tertiary cities in China,” Huntsman recommended. “The more we facillitate access to information about American business opportunities — whether through a national database or enhanced state and local databases — the better. We believe thinking local, start-ups and grassroots first is the preferable way to go in using the Internet.”

Huntsman also made a list of recommendations on expanding tourism and educational  travel for Chinese citizens in the United States, as well as relaxing export controls for “commercially-important technology.”

These are just a few of the many ideas the former Republican governor of Utah laid out for Obama Administration officials back in the United States as he contemplated the politics of the U.S.-China trade relationship.

“Recent issues related to indigenous innovation, express delivery and online-music content, for example, underscore that USG complaints about discrimmintory policies — absent a credible threat of retaliatory action or other leverage — are falling on increasingly deaf Chinese ears,” he reported in the January 2010 cable. “China’s relatively strong economic position in the wake of the global financial crisis has intensified that trend, as has Chinese hubris that it can call the shots and determine the playbook under which it operates without disclosing the same to foreign firms. While WTO dispute settlement has worked well when applied, many of the problems we face in China’s market do not fall within WTO disciplines.”

The ideas in the document, and the alternative path and tone it offers as a way to engage the Chinese, provides a striking contrast to the harrying rhetoric on Capitol Hill. U.S. lawmakers are growing increasingly impatient with the Chinese government as it unilaterally forges ahead with its growth in the global economy.

The U.S. Congress in 2010 has commissioned various in-depth fact-finding reports that are severely critical of the way China has impeded access to its market for U.S. companies with its indigenous innovation policies. The reports also document China’s efforts to require U.S. companies to share and ultimately transfer their intellectual property to local Chinese companies in joint ventures.

Last week, a group of 30 U.S. senators sent a letter to Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan to urge him to make progress in resolving some of the issues at today’s trade talks.

The Obama Administration’s approach of engagement rather than enragement is the only one that will ultimately bear fruit, argues Denis Simon, a long-time China hand and professor of international relations at Penn State University.

“I believe that we are going to be embarked on a trade war with China – I believe that it’s almost inevitable unless cooler heads do not prevail,” Simons said.

“The problem is that the United States is not prepared to recognize that the landscape, that the global innovation system is changing, and that the Chinese position in this system is not where it was 30 years ago,” he said. “China is in a much stronger position, it has much stronger market leverage, and we have to accept that we have to accommodate China in a way we have been unprepared to.

If we don’t understand how to develop a better working relationship with the Chinese, then we’re going to have absolutely no leverage whatsoever with China, and I would argue that we’re putting ourselves in a corner in which we’re not going to be able to call their bluff.”

Editor’s Note: The Intellectual Property Breakfast Club will hold a February 8, 2011 breakfast panel at Clyde’s in downtown Washington DC on China and IP. To register for this FREE event, click here.

Join us for a stimulating, high-level discussion!

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Study: FCC Could Improve Data Collection Practices

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commission could do a better job of collecting and managing the information it gathers from consumers, businesses and other entities, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

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WASHINGTON, March 2, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commission could do a better job of collecting and managing the information it gathers from consumers, businesses and other entities, according to a new Government Accountability Office report (pdf).

According to GAO’s review of 30 information collections conducted by the FCC, the agency’s bureaus and offices collect and manage information in many different ways. For example, FCC collects and manages 14 of the 30 information collections electronically, while it collects and manages some information in paper format. FCC disseminates information from 11 of the 30 information collections on its Web site, while it disseminates some information upon request, but in a redacted format.

It gathers information on a wide variety of subjects, and the FCC estimates that it receives nearly 385 million responses with an estimated 57 million burden hours associated with the 413 collection instruments it uses.

Some of the information it gathers are company filings such as television station ownership, consumer complaints and company financial and accounting performance.

The study found some weaknesses in the way it treats the gathered information. For example, GAO recently reported that FCC rarely includes the text of a proposed rule in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Stakeholders agreed, according to the GAO, that FCC does not initially specify the information that it wants to gather in the notice; the lack of specificity makes it harder for stakeholders and the public to provide meaningful input on the proposed information collection instrument.

The FCC responded to the report prior to its public release in a letter, which the GAO included at the end of the report. The agency said its chairman, Julius Genachowski, has made” modernizing and reforming the FCC’s data management processes a priority.” Additionally, it acknowledged that the agency’s Web site and database infrastructure are “many years out of date” and that it hopes to make upgrades. It also has launched an initiative that will combine all the functions of the many current systems into one consolidated system.

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BroadbandCensus.com Posts NTIA/RUS Broadband Infrastructure Application

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2009 – One week after the release of the two Notices of Funds Availability for broadband stimulus grants, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration had not posted the online applications as of 5:15 p.m. ET, although they were promised on July 7, 2009.

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WASHINGTON, July 8, 2009 – One week after the release of the two Notices of Funds Availability for broadband stimulus grants, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration had not posted the online applications as of 5:15 p.m. ET, although they were promised on July 7, 2009.

BroadbandCensus.com here posts a copy of joint application for the Broadband Infrastructure Application:

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