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Broadband's Impact

Audi of America Joins Panel on ‘Smart Cars, the Consumer Experience and Broadband’

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WASHINGTON, Thursday March 14th, 2013 – The broadband policy news and events service BroadbandBreakfast.com will hold its March 2013 Broadband Breakfast Club event:

“Smart Cars, the Consumer Experience and Broadband” on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 from 8 am – 10 am.

Details and Registration are available at:

http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com

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.

Panel:

Steven Bayless, Senior Director of Telecommunications and Telematics, Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America)

Stephen Bayless is responsible for providing guidance to ITS America’s Board of Directors and senior staff on matters involving new technologies, wireless services and evolving automotive platforms, intelligent transportation infrastructure, operations and customer services. Steven previously served as staff advisor and Presidential Management Fellow in the Secretary of Transportation’s policy office at US DOT headquarters. Steven had cabinet-level lead in policy related to research and development, spectrum management and telecommunications policy. As a detailee to the White House, he assisted in formulation of several presidential directives on aerospace policy, focusing in particular on satellite navigation. He also advised the State Department and the Federal Aviation Administration in negotiations on space and aviation cooperation with the European Union, the Russian Federation and Japan. In the surface transportation domain, Bayless supported secretarial policy initiatives regarding the reorientation of federal research and development, highway safety, and transportation infrastructure finance reform. Steven holds a specialized masters degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in International Security Studies and Business. His bachelor degree is in Economics and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. 

Catherine McCullough, Vice President, DCI Group

Catherine McCullough is a government affairs consultant who works with industry-leading clients on matters before Congress and federal agencies. She is a life-long resident of the Washington, DC, area and has worked in politics and policy for over twenty years. Prior to joining DCI Group, she conceived and implemented successful lobby and public affairs strategies for clients with crucial issues in the telecommunications, tech, banking, consumer products, and healthcare industries. Ms. McCullough previously served as a Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation when it was led by Senator Hollings and later when it was led by Senator Inouye. The Commerce Committee oversees and writes laws that regulate much of U.S. industry. There she worked on the subcommittees that oversaw the consumer product, auto, tech, tourism, sports and insurance industries. Her background in data privacy issues led her to a role as a negotiator on the US SAFE WEB Act, which became law in 2006, and the Committee’s identity theft prevention bill. Also during her time with the Committee, Ms. McCullough worked on many high-profile issues including post-Katrina oil and gas pricing, steroid use by U.S. Olympic and professional athletes, the “Do Not Call” list, and the Jack Abramoff investigation. Ms. McCullough is a contributor to blogs on politics and policy such as CommLawBlog. She is an attorney and also holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science.

Anupam Malhotra, Manager Connected Vehicles, Audi of America

Anupam Malhotra is Senior Manager Connected Vehicles for Audi of America, responsible for all the operations of the Audi connect® infotainment system and services and the formulation and execution of the company’s connected-vehicle strategy with Audi AG. “Pom” Malhotra joined Audi in mid-2010 on a contract basis as a subject-matter expert, but soon it became apparent that connectivity would become a crucial part of the technology proposition for the entire brand, and his position was formalized. He joined Audi initially from his role as head of enterprise quality for location-based services for General Motors’ pioneering OnStar brand. “This is an important aspect of Audi visionary thinking as well as a recognition that our customers are very in tune with these types of services,” Malhotra said. “We very much believe, and are pursuing, the idea that what consumers do at home and at play in terms of their information and entertainment lifestyles must be accommodated and enhanced by their experience in their Audi vehicle. Infotainment will become a core differentiator among luxury brands going forward; that will be a given.” Already, Malhotra said, Audi connect has become one of the top five reasons that customers are telling dealers they want to buy an Audi. And the company has provided a number of “industry firsts” in infotainment, including the first Google Earth feed of satellite imagery to a vehicle’s navigation system, the first system to provide Wi-Fi service to as many as eight devices in the same vehicle, and the use of Google Voice Local Search to facilitate the understanding and implementation of verbal commands by the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Jeff Stewart, Director – Public Policy, Wireless, AT&T External & Legislative Affairs

Jeff Stewart is responsible for developing AT&T’s public policy positions and providing policy guidance to AT&T’s business units on issues pertaining to wireless network management, net neutrality, and new applications and services. He also provides policy support and guidance to AT&T’s Emerging Devices Organization, which connects a broad range of new devices to wireless networks, including connected cars. Jeff worked in marketing and operations roles at AT&T before joining the Public Policy organization. Prior to joining AT&T, Jeff served on active duty in the Marine Corps. He continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve, currently as the commanding officer of an artillery battery in Chattanooga, TN. Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Chicago, and an MBA focused on technology innovation from Georgia Tech.

Moderator:

Russell Holly, Mobile Editor, Geek.com

Russell Holly focuses on anything with a touch screen. For the last five years, he’s focused on mobile and open source technologies as they apply to new computing environments and lifestyle integration. Russell’s coverage in the mobile field ranges from security to application development, with a strong focus on user oriented device control or BYOD situations.

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:

https://broadbandbreakfast.com/category/broadband-tv/

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.

For More Information Contact:

 Sylvia Syracuse

Director of Marketing and Events

BroadbandBreakfast.com

Sylvia@broadbandcensus.com

646-262-4630

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Digital Inclusion

Doug Lodder: How to Prevent the Economic Climate from Worsening the Digital Divide

There are government programs created to shrink the digital divide, but not many Americans know what’s out there.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Doug Lodder, president of TruConnect

From gas to groceries to rent, prices are rocketing faster than they have in decades. This leaves many American families without the means to pay for essentials, including cellphone and internet services. In fact, the Center on Poverty and Social Policy reports that poverty rates have been steadily climbing since March. We’re talking about millions of people at risk of being left behind in the gulf between those who have access to connectivity and those who don’t.

We must not allow this digital divide to grow in the wake of the current economic climate. There is so much more at stake here than simply access to the internet or owning a smartphone.

What’s at stake if the digital divide worsens

Our reliance on connectivity has been growing steadily for years, and the pandemic only accelerated our dependence. Having a cell phone or internet access are no longer luxuries, they are vital necessities.

When a low-income American doesn’t have access to connectivity, they are put at an even greater disadvantage. They are limited in their ability to seek and apply for a job, they don’t have the option of convenient and cost-effective telehealth, opportunities for education shrink, and accessing social programs becomes more difficult. I haven’t even mentioned the social benefits that connectivity gives us humans—it’s natural to want to call our friends and families, and for many, necessary to share news or updates. The loss or absence of connectivity can easily create a snowball effect, compounding challenges for low-income Americans.

The stakes are certainly high. Thankfully, there are government programs created to shrink the digital divide. The challenge is that not many Americans know what’s out there.

What can be done to improve it

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration created the federal Lifeline program to subsidize phones and bring them into every household. The program has since evolved to include mobile and broadband services.

More than 34 million low-income Americans are eligible for subsidized cell phones and internet access through the Lifeline program. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 eligible people are taking advantage of the program because most qualified Americans don’t even know the program exists.

The situation is similar with the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, another federal government program aimed at bringing connectivity to low-income Americans. Through ACP, qualifying households can get connected by answering a few simple questions and submitting eligibility documents.

Experts estimate that 48 million households—or nearly 40% of households in the country—qualify for the ACP. But, just like Lifeline, too few Americans are taking advantage of the program.

So, what can be done to increase the use of these programs and close the digital divide?

Our vision of true digital equity is where every American is connected through a diverse network of solutions. This means we can’t rely solely on fixed terrestrial. According to research from Pew, 27% of people earning less than $30,000 a year did not have home broadband and relied on smartphones for connectivity. Another benefit of mobile connectivity—more Americans have access to it. FCC data shows that 99.9% of Americans live in an LTE coverage area, whereas only 94% of the country has access to fixed terrestrial broadband where they live.

Additionally, we need more local communities to get behind these programs and proactively market them. We should see ads plastered across billboards and buses in the most impacted areas. Companies like ours, which provide services subsidized through Lifeline and ACP, market and promote the programs, but we’re limited in our reach. It’s imperative that local communities and their governments invest more resources to promote Lifeline, ACP and other connectivity programs.

While there’s no panacea for the problem at hand, it is imperative that we all do our part, especially as the economic climate threatens to grow the digital divide. The fate of millions of Americans is at stake.

Doug Lodder in President of TruConnect, a mobile provider that offers eligible consumers unlimited talk, text, and data, a free Android smartphone, free shipping, and access to over 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots; free international calling to Mexico, Canada, South Korea, China and Vietnam; plus an option to purchase tablets at $10.01. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Broadband's Impact

Senate Bill Subsidizing U.S. Semiconductor Production Clears House, Going to White House

Bill aims to strengthen American self-reliance in semiconductor chip production and international competition.

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Photo of Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, during Tuesday's press conference

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2022 – A $54 billion bill to subsidize U.S-made semiconductor chips passed the House Thursday on a 243-187, and moves to President Biden for his expected signature.

Dubbed the CHIPS Act for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act for America Fund, the measure is expected to incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and also provide grants for the design and deploying of wireless 5G networks. It also includes a $24 billion fund to create a 25 percent tax credit for new semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

Advocates of the measure say that it will also improve U.S. supply chain, grow U.S. domestic workforce, and enable the U.S. to compete internationally to combat national security emergencies.

The measure passed the Senate Wednesday on a 64-33 vote.

Congressional supporters tout benefits

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., voiced his support on the House floor, calling it “a win for our global competitiveness.”

The CHIPS Act of 2022 provides a five-year investment in public research and development, and establishes new technology hubs across the country.

Of the funds, $14 billion goes to upgrade national labs, and $9 billion goes to the National Institute of Standards and Technology research, of which $2 billion goes to support manufacturing partnerships, and with $200 million going to train the domestic workforce.

In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett said that America’s semiconductor industry has lost ground to foreign competitors. “Today, only 12% of chips are manufactured in the United States, down from 37% in the 1990s.”

He said relying on cheaper products produced in China and overseas for so long, it has caught up with the United States.

Bennet suggested to move manufacturing labs to Colorado, where it can support it due to the plenty of jobs in aerospace and facility and infrastructure space.

“We don’t want the Chinese setting the standard for telecommunications. America needs to lead that. This bill puts us in the position to be a world leader,” said Bennet. “We are at a huge national security disadvantage if we don’t do this.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, joined his Rocky Mountain state colleague in support: “There is a real sense of urgency here to compete not only to re-establish the U.S. to make their own chips, but to compete internationally.”

He said that semiconductor chips are vital to almost every business and product, including phones, watches, refrigerators, cars, and laptops. “I’m not sure if I can think of a business that isn’t dependent on chips at this point.”\

“This is a space race,” he said. “We cannot afford to fall behind.”

Industry supporters say measure is necessary

The U.S. has lost ground to foreign competitors in scientific R&D and in supply chain industry during a recent semiconductor crisis, said France Córdova, president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance, at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event on July 19. The U.S. only ranks sixth best among other prominent countries in the world for research and development, she said.

“The CHIPS Act of 2022 and FABS Act are critical investments to even the global playing field for U.S. companies, and strategically important for our economic and national national security,” said Ganesh Moorthy, president and CEO of Microchip Technology Inc.

Bide expected to sign measure

With the Biden’s Administration’s focus to tackle the semiconductor shortage and supply chain crisis through the Executive Order made in February, the Biden administration has been bullish on the passage of the CHIPS Act, in a Wednesday statement:

“It will accelerate the manufacturing of semiconductors in America, lowering prices on everything from cars to dishwashers.  It also will create jobs – good-paying jobs right here in the United States.  It will mean more resilient American supply chains, so we are never so reliant on foreign countries for the critical technologies that we need for American consumers and national security,” said Biden.

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Health

Providers Call for More FCC Telehealth Funding as Demand Grows

‘I think obtaining funding from the Universal Service Fund would go a long way.’

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Photo of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2022 – Health care providers in parts of America say they are struggling to deliver telehealth due to a lack of broadband connectivity in underserved communities, and recommended there be more funding from the Federal Communications Commission.

While the FCC has a $200-million COVID-19 Telehealth program, which emerged from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, some providers say more money is needed as demand for telehealth services increases.

“The need for broadband connectivity in underserved communities exceeds current availability,” said Jennifer Stoll from the Oregon Community Health Information Network.

The OCHIN was one of the largest recipients of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot program in 2009. Stoll advocated for the need for more funding with the non-profit SHLB Coalition during the event last week. Panelists didn’t specify how much more funding is needed.

Stoll noted that moving forward, states need sustainable funding in this sector. “I am hoping Congress will be mindful of telehealth,” said Stoll.

“The need for telehealth and other virtual modalities will continue to grow in rural and underserved communities,” she added.

Brian Scarpelli, senior global policy counsel at ACT, the App Association, echoed the call for FCC funding from the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes basic telecommunications services to rural areas and low-income Americans. “I think obtaining funding from the Universal Service Fund would go a long way.”

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