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Broadband's Impact

FCC Commissioners Discuss Minority Issues at the Eighth Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2010- Three Federal Communications Commissioners Robert McDowell, Meredith Baker, and Mignon Clyburn encouraged use of the internet and new media applications to assist minorities and women entrepreneurs and connect them to financial resources.

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WASHINGTON, July 19, 2010- Three Federal Communications Commissioners Robert McDowell, Meredith Baker, and Mignon Clyburn encouraged use of the internet and new media applications to assist minorities and women entrepreneurs and connect them to financial resources.

The Minority Media & Telecom Council had a panel discussion with three of the FCC commissioners at the Eighth Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference.

Commissioner McDowell said that in 2007 the commission passed some rulings for minorities that he thought should have been dealt with a long time ago. They banned advertisement discrimination, and reached out to Madison Avenue advertising agencies to make sure they understood what the rules meant. He said $200 million of potential revenue was freed up for minority-owned businesses through the ruling.

McDowell said that the FCC is working on spectrum re-allocation and solutions from their January 2010 Broadband Strategies for Minorities Workshop to help these entrepreneurs and small business owners. One of the best ways to help these businesses is through tax certificates, McDowell said, “I do not understand why the 111th Congress has not reinstated a tax certificate program.”

Commissioner Baker said that a combination of an unstable economy and the regulatory uncertainty in the communications industry poses the biggest problem to new business owners, but invited the conference attendees to the FCC offices to share their concerns.

Commissioner Clyburn said that media consolidation, among other issues, makes entry into the communications market difficult. She said that an emphasis on universal service fund reform, digital literacy, and broadband affordability could help make these services more available. She also lauded efforts to connect minorities and women to capital to start their businesses.

Baker said that most of the untapped resources to assist minority entrepreneurs are online or in new media technologies. She said “applications are a great thing,” and the relative cost of establishing an online business is much less than traditional means. She also said that minorities are more likely to look to the internet for job searches and information on starting their own companies. Another potential tool she advocated developing to help minorities would be an online guide that “demystifies” the FCC’s rules and regulations.

Clyburn agreed that beginning online businesses is a great, cheaper way to start a business, and that owners could transform their online business to another medium if it became successful.

The commission is required to make a report to Congress every three years on the market barriers affecting minorities in the communications industry. While late, the 2009 report is almost complete, and the commissioners said that while they were legally prohibited from giving away its contents, many of the ideas they were discussing in the panel were included.

In response to inquiries about the FCC’s enforcement of key rulings, McDowell said that equal employment opportunity notice had resulted in $140,000 in fines. He also urged the public to bring in every scrap of evidence of situations that violate FCC rulings.

Baker said “I think the FCC should work on some of the positive things, promote best practices, and have a clearinghouse of what works and what does not.” Clyburn agreed, adding that the commission needs to lead by example.

Education

Metaverse Can Serve as a Supplement, Not Replacement, For Educators: Experts

The virtual world where avatars can meet as if they were in real life can be a companion for education.

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Screenshot of the Brookings event Tuesday

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2022 – Experts said at a Brookings Institution event said Tuesday that while the “metaverse” can go a long way toward improving education for some students, it should serve as a supplement to those educational goals.

The metaverse refers to a platform of 3D virtual worlds where avatars, or virtual characters, meet as if they were in the real world. The concept has been toyed with by Facebook parent Meta and is being used as a test for the educational space.

“The metaverse is a world that is accessible to students and teachers across the globe that allows shared interactions without boundaries in a respectful optimistic way,” Simran Mulchandani, founder of education app Project Rangeet, said at Tuesday’s event.

Panelists stated that as the metaverse and education meet, researchers, educators, policymakers and digital designers should take the lead, so tech platforms do not dictate educational opportunities.

“We have to build classrooms first, not tech first,” said Mulchandani.

Rebecca Kantar, the head of education at Roblox – a video game platform that allows players to program games – added that as the metaverse is still emerging and being constructed, “we can be humble in our attempt to find the highest and best way to bring the metaverse” into the classroom for the best education for the future.

Anant Agarwal, a professor at MIT and chief open education officer for online learning platform edX, stated the technology of the metaverse has the potential to make “quality and deep education accessible to everybody everywhere.”

Not a replacement for real social experiences

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, senior fellow of the global economy and development at the Center for Universal Education, said that while the metaverse brings potential to improve learning, it is not a complete replacement for the social experience a student has in the classroom.

“The metaverse can’t substitute for social interaction. It can supplement.”

Mulchandani noted the technology of the metaverse cannot replace the teacher, but rather can serve to solve challenges in the classroom.

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Digital Inclusion

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Emphasizes 100 Percent Broadband Adoption

‘It’s about making sure wireless connections are available in 100 percent of rural America,’ said the chairwoman.

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Photo of Kelley Dunne, CEO of AmeriCrew, leading panel on workforce issues at the Rural Wireless Infrastructure Summit by Drew Clark

PARK CITY, Utah, June 28, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission is making progress towards bringing “affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to 100 percent of the country,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said at the Rural Wireless Infrastructure Summit here on Tuesday.

Rosenworcel pointed to the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now being deployed across the country, with a particular focus on unconnected rural and tribal areas.

Although the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will take the lead with these funds, the FCC’s new broadband coverage maps will be important in implementing state digital equity plans.

In her remarks, Rosenworcel also discussed how the upcoming 2.5 GigaHertz spectrum auction will involve licensing spectrum primarily to rural areas.

At the July FCC open meeting, said Rosenworcel, the agency is scheduled to establish a new program to help enhance wireless competition. It is called the Enhanced Competition Incentive Program.

The program aims to build incentives for existing carriers to build opportunities for smaller carriers and tribal nations through leasing or partitioning spectrum. Existing carriers will be rewarded with longer license terms, extensions on build-out obligations, and more flexibility in construction requirements.

“It’s about making sure wireless connections are available in 100 percent of rural America,” she said.

She also indicated her commitment to work with Congress to fund the FCC’s “rip and replace” program to reimburse many rural operators’ transitions from Chinese-manufactured telecommunications equipment. She also touted the role that open radio access networks can plan in more secure telecommunications infrastructure.

In other news at the conference, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr addressed the role of funding broadband operations in rural America, the challenges of workforce training, and ensuring that rural carriers have access to high-cost universal service support.

In a session moderated by AmeriCrew CEO Kelley Dunne, panelists from the U.S. Labor Department, the Wireless Infrastructure Association and Texas A&M Extension Education Services addressed the need to offer a vocational career path for individuals for whom a four-year degree may not be the right choice. AmeriCrew helps U.S. military veterans obtain careers in building fiber, wireless and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark contributed to this report.

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Broadband's Impact

Broadband Speeds Have Significant Impact on Economy, Research Director Says

From 2010 to 2020, a 10.9 percent growth in broadband penetration drove .04 percent increase in GDP, the study found.

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Photo of Alan Davidson of the NTIA, Caroline Kitchens of Shopify, Raul Katz of Columbia University (left to right)

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2022 – Broadband and higher speeds have made significant contributions to economic growth over the last decade, according to a study discussed at a Network On conference Tuesday.

Raul Katz, director of business strategy research at Columbia University, conducted his research to determine where the United States economy would be if broadband had not evolved since 2010. He developed four models to explain the economic contribution of broadband, and all found support to suggest that broadband development has contributed to substantial economic growth.

The long-run economic growth model showed that between 2010 and 2020, a 10.9 percent growth in broadband penetration drove a .04 percent increase in gross domestic product – the measure of the value of goods and services produced in the nation. States with higher speed broadband had an economic impact of an additional 11.5 percent.

“States with higher speeds of broadband have a higher economic effect,” said Katz. “Not only is there penetration as a driver, but there’s also… return to speed. At faster speeds, the economy tends to be more efficient.”

The study found that if broadband adoption and speed had remained unchanged since 2010, the 2020 GDP would have been 6.27 percent lower, said Katz.

Caroline Kitchens, a representative for ecommerce platform Shopify, said Tuesday that there’s been great growth in the ecommerce business, which relies entirely on a broadband connection. “Worldwide, Shopify merchants create 3.5 million jobs and have an economic impact of more than $307 billion. It goes without saying that none of this is possible without broadband access.”

“We have really seen firsthand how broadband access promotes entrepreneurship,” said Kitchens, indicating that this has promoted a growing economy in over 100 countries.

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