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

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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.”

 

As Deputy Editor, Chris Naoum is curating expert opinions, and writing and editing articles on Broadband Breakfast issue areas. Chris served as Policy Counsel for Future of Music Coalition, Legal Research Fellow for the Benton Foundation and law clerk for a media company, and previously worked as a legal clerk in the office of Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. He received his B.A. from Emory University and his J.D. and M.A. in Television Radio and Film Policy from Syracuse University.

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Broadband Breakfast on January 25, 2023 – Section 230, Google, Twitter and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will soon hear two blockbuster cases asking if tech companies can be held liable for terrorist content on their platforms.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 12 Noon ET – Section 230, Google, Twitter and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will soon hear two blockbuster cases involving Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act: Gonzalez v. Google on February 21, and  Twitter v. Taamneh on February 22. Both of these cases ask if tech companies can be held liable for terrorist content on their platforms. Also in play: Laws in Florida and in Texas (both on hold during the course of litigation) that would limit online platforms’ ability to moderate content. In a recent brief, Google argued that denying Section 230 protections for platforms “could have devastating spillover effects.” In advance of Broadband Breakfast’s Big Tech & Speech Summit on March 9, this Broadband Breakfast Live Online event will consider Section 230 and the Supreme Court.

Panelists:

  • Chris Marchese, Counsel, NetChoice
  • Ari Cohn, Free Speech Counsel, TechFreedom
  • Jessica Dheere, Director, Ranking Digital Rights
  • Ali Sternburg, Vice President of Information Policy, Computer & Communications Industry Association
  • Marshall Van Alstyne, Questrom Chair Professor, Boston University
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Chris Marchese analyzes technology-related legislative and regulatory issues at both the federal and state level. His portfolio includes monitoring and analyzing proposals to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, antitrust enforcement, and potential barriers to free speech and free enterprise on the internet. Before joining NetChoice in 2019, Chris worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, where he analyzed legal issues relevant to the business community, including state-court decisions that threatened traditional liability rules.

Ari Cohn is Free Speech Counsel at TechFreedom. A nationally recognized expert in First Amendment law, he was previously the Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and has worked in private practice at Mayer Brown LLP and as a solo practitioner, and was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Ari graduated cum laude from Cornell Law School, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jessica Dheere is the director of Ranking Digital Rights, and co-authored RDR’s spring 2020 report “Getting to the Source of Infodemics: It’s the Business Model.” An affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, she is also founder, former executive director, and board member of the Arab digital rights organization SMEX, and in 2019, she launched the CYRILLA Collaborative, which catalogs global digital rights law and case law. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the New School.

Ali Sternburg is Vice President of Information Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, where she focuses on intermediary liability, copyright, and other areas of intellectual property. Ali joined CCIA during law school in 2011, and previously served as Senior Policy Counsel, Policy Counsel, and Legal Fellow. She is also an Inaugural Fellow at the Internet Law & Policy Foundry.

Marshall Van Alstyne (@InfoEcon) is the Questrom Chair Professor at Boston University. His work explores how IT affects firms, innovation, and society with an emphasis on business platforms. He co-authored the international best seller Platform Revolution and his research influence ranks among the top 2% of all scientists globally.

Drew Clark (moderator) is CEO of Breakfast Media LLC. He has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on February 8, 2023 – The Build America, Buy America Law’s Impact on Infrastructure

Experts have warned that the BABA mandate raises the cost of broadband deployment.

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Photo illustration by Billion Photos/Adobe Stock

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 12 Noon ET – The Build America, Buy America Law’s Impact on Infrastructure

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s guidelines for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program mandate compliance with the Build America, Buy America Act, which favors domestic manufacturing. Many industry experts have warned that this raises prices on goods necessary for broadband deployment, and are urging the NTIA to not only follow through on its proposal to waive the requirement for the Middle Mile grant program but extend that waiver to the BEAD program. Whether or not this happens, what will the Build America, Buy America Act’s impact be on the country’s digital infrastructure? 

This FREE Broadband Breakfast Live Online event will feature insights from the exclusive Broadband Breakfast Club report for the month of February. Access the full report by registering here

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on February 1, 2023 – What Will the 118th Congress Do on Broadband and Big Tech?

Will Congress have anything new to say about infrastructure investment, wireless communication or net neutrality? 

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Graphic courtesy of Digital Trends Media Group

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 12 Noon ET – What Will the 118th Congress Do on Broadband and Big Tech?

Hampered by a new partisan divide, what will the 118th Congress be able to accomplish in terms of broadband and technology policy? In particular, what do broadband and technology industry groups see as realistic policy priorities under divided government? Many members of Congress want to sharply curb the power of Big Tech, including through a potential national TikTok ban. Another issue left unresolved from last Congress was the state of information privacy legislation. These developments take place against a backdrop of the largest federal investment in broadband ever. Will Congress have anything new to say about infrastructure investment, wireless communication or network neutrality? 

Panelists:

  • Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
  • Other panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Shirley Bloomfield is CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 850 independent telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. With more than 30 years of experience representing the country’s smallest telecom operators, Bloomfield is an expert on the role of federal communications policies in sustaining the vitality of rural and remote communities and the benefits rural broadband networks bring to millions of American families, businesses and the national economy. Bloomfield has a strong track record of leadership in aligning strategic partnerships among rural telecom companies, their larger counterparts, other rural utilities and federal agencies, advancing digital equity and economic opportunities for rural Americans.

Drew Clark (moderator) is CEO of Breakfast Media LLC. He has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

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