WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 – Concerns over spectrum policy and data privacy dominated the conversation between AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., at a Wednesday panel on “Accelerating the Mobile Technology Revolution” at the Brookings Institution.
Stephenson praised the approach that the Federal Communications Commission has taken with the incentive auctions for spectrum so far. The policies have been successful, he said, because the FCC has set reasonable caps on how much spectrum a carrier can hold.
Additionally, he said, the agency has facilitated a strong secondary market where spectrum can be moved by market forces to where it is most needed, and it has placed strict requirements on spectrum “build out” to prevent such valuable radio-frequency resources from being underutilized.
In reference to the upcoming auction, planned for 2014, both Stephenson and the senator agreed that the detailed approach to be undertaken by the FCC depended upon whether it was more important to raise revenue for the government, to lower costs for consumers, or promote the most efficient possible use of spectrum.
“The success of the auction will depend on the question we’ve been debating here: the structure of the auction,” Stephenson said.
Both panelists urged caution regarding restricting the bidding of larger carriers like AT&T and Verizon Communications. Stephenson noted that these two carriers have acquired the spectrum they have because they were active in previous auctions, whereas the companies that such restrictions would assist chose not to bid previously. Pryor was also wary of the adverse effects that the restrictions could have on the industry.
“You want to be careful that you’re not limiting the companies from investing or innovating,” Pryor said.
The panelists also discussed data security. Although Stephenson refused to comment specifically on the recently revealed gathering of phone and data records by the National Security Agency, he stated that his company is committed to consumer privacy and protection – but is also compliant with government subpoenas and court orders.
Pryor noted that many members of both House and Senate Homeland Security Committees have defended the information-gathering. However, he also affirmed the importance of an ethical approach to such practices.
“We need to make sure there’s a lot of integrity in that process,” he said.
Stephenson expressed high regard for American mobile technology versus the rest of the world.
Europe, which was once the global leader, has fallen behind. Stephenson blamed that on other countries’ use of shorter-term spectrum licenses, hence discouraging investment.
Although several Asian nations have passed America in terms of coverage, he noted that equivalent technology is being used, but population density has hindered America progress.
Policymakers Urge Better Broadband Maps, Seek Funding for ‘Rip and Replace,’ and Tout Open Radio Networks
October 23, 2020 — Policymakers called for more accurate broadband maps, continued progress against robocalls, and the use of an open radio access network for advanced wireless communications at the Competitive Carriers Association’s policy forum on Wednesday.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, emphasized new broadband maps in his speech. Wicker noted that Congress recently passed Broadband Data Act, which he authored, requiring the FCC to change the way broadband data is collected.
“Current data claims Mississippi has 98 percent mobile broadband coverage,” said Wicker, adding that the claim is “ridiculous.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, addressed the achievements of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act in battling robocalls in his keynote. He thanked CCA members for their help in passage of the measure.
Pallone also called for the passage of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which aims to fund small providers replacing Chinese-made telecommunications equipment in their networks. The program is often dubbed “rip and replace.”
“Replacing Chinese-made gear is going to cost billions, anywhere from to $1.6 to 1.8 billion,” said Pallone, “Congress needs to provide monetary assistance” to small carriers.
Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr championed the use of open radio access networks during his keynote, saying that for CCA members, the unbundling that open RAN technology requires will result in increased competition in the marketplace.
Competitive Carriers Association represents more than 100 wireless carriers and stakeholders.
CCA CEO Steven Berry thanked CCA members for rising to the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said many members extended service to users and waived fees to keep consumers connected.
Berry said wireless connectivity “has given people exactly what they need” during these times of hardship.
“Small carriers serving remote and rural areas need to have a seat at the table in Washington D.C.” to influence government policies that directly affect industry operations, such as the ability to access spectrum, said Berry.
Broadband Roundup: Mobile World Congress Cancelled, Yang Bows Out, Ajit Pai at Wind River Tribe
The world’s largest trade show for mobile communications was canceled Wednesday due to the organizers’ uncertainty that it could guarantee the health of its attendees, according to a CNBC article.
The move was prompted by high-profile dropouts from the conference announced earlier in the day.
Amazon, Sony, Nokia, and Intel were among the biggest names to announce that they would ultimately not be sending representatives to the Barcelona-based conference because they were not willing to risk the health of their employees.
“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, making it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” GSMA said in a statement.
The conference was originally scheduled to begin on Monday, February 24.
2020 hopeful and tech whiz Andrew Yang bows out of presidential race
2020 hopeful and former tech CEO Andrew Yang ended his contest in the 2020 presidential election after disappointing results in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.
Yang built a small but loyal following referred to as the “Yang Gang.” They and others supported his flagship platform of providing a “freedom dividend,” or universal basic income, of $1,000 for every American family every month.
“We have touched and improved millions of lives and moved this country we love so much in the right direction. And while there is great work left to be done, you know, I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race,” he told supporters on Tuesday night.
“I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win. And so tonight I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”
Prior to running for president, Yang founded Venture for America, a nonprofit that matched recent graduates with startups. Prior to that, he was CEO of a test preparation company called Manhattan Prep., which he sold to Kaplan and for which he made millions.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai monitors tribal broadband growth during visit to Wind River Reservation in Wyoming
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai met with leaders of the Arapaho Tribe in Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming to see firsthand the areas in which the FCC is investing $4.1 million for gigabit-speed broadband deployment.
These funds come from the Connect America Fund Phase II auction that is providing speed service to 849 homes and businesses in the reservation.
“Bringing high-speed connectivity to rural Tribal lands can be a game-changer,” said Chairman Pai. “That’s why bridging the digital divide is my top priority.”
During his visit, Chairman Pai also discussed with Arapaho leaders the Tribal Priority Window. The FCC opened up the Tribal Priority Window earlier this month to enable federally recognized tribes to apply for spectrum in the 2.5 GigaHertz (GHz) band.
This band—the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3 GHz—offers favorable coverage and capacity characteristics for next-generation mobile services, such as 5G. Through this priority window, tribes can obtain 2.5 GHz spectrum without charge before a commercial auction. The Rural Tribal Priority Window will close on August 3, 2020.
Wireless 5G Broadband and Everywhere Connectivity is the Buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show
LAS VEGAS, January 9, 2018 – Here at the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s impossible to avoid being bombarded by the energy – real and imagined – surrounding the 5G wireless standard that is just beginning to be deployed.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg made the communications company’s efforts to nurture, promote and deploy 5G the sum and substance of his Tuesday afternoon keynote at the show.
And in a series of panel discussions on Wednesday, leaders from the technology, media, education and other industries emphasized just how pumped they are for this next generation of wireless connectivity.
Verizon boasts the first commercial deployment of 5G in October 2018, when it went live with fixed-wireless deployments using a 5G networks in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
AT&T followed in December, with what it called the first mobile 5G deployment, to parts of 14 cities including Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (Fla.), Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh (N.C.), San Antonio and Waco.
The 5G wireless standard includes transmission both at higher-band frequencies, in the so-called “millimeter wavelength” bands above about 25 Gigahertz (GHz), and in the frequencies below 6 GHz. AT&T deployment was in this latter bandwidth.
Vestberg’s keynote showcased 5G as the “fourth industrial revolution.” In it, he introduced what he called the eight “currencies” of 5G that make it — in his view — more than just another technology standard:
His eight currencies are:
- Speed and Throughput: Peak data rates of 10 gigabits per second and mobile data volumes of 10 terabits per second per square kilometer.
- Mobility, Connected Devices and Internet of Things: Mobile devices traveling at up to 500 kilometers per hour can potentially stay connected on a 5G network, and up to one million devices can be supported by 5G in a square kilometer
- Energy Efficiency and Service Deployment: 5G network equipment and devices will consume only 10 percent of the energy consumed by 4G network equipment and devices, and specialized services that will operate on the 5G network will take much less time to implement.
- Latency and Reliability: Five millisecond end-to-end travel time of data from the mobile device to the edge of the 5G network – faster than the blink of an eye, and 5G will be more than 99.999 percent reliable
The very first 5G customer, Houston resident Clayton Harrison receiving Verizon fixed wireless service, made a cameo appearance during Vestberg’s keynote. During the demonstration, he conducted a live speed demonstrating service at 690 Megabits per second (Mbps), which he described as the “low end” of the 600 Mbps to 1.6 Gigabits per second broadband speed that he normally receives.
(Photo of Hans Vestberg at CES2019.)
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