Connect with us

Broadband's Impact

At the Scene of the Federal Communications Commission as the Agency Passes Net Neutrality Rules

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 – In a Federal Commissions Commission meeting tinged with protest, the agency voted Thursday to begin a process to re-established certain network neutrality rules after they had been struck down by a federal appeals court in January.

On a 3-2 vote, the agency’s three Democrats kicked off a proceeding seeking public input on how to find a solution protecting and promote the open flow of information on the internet that will pass legal scrutiny.

Chairman Tom Wheeler retained the support of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn – even though Rosenworcel said she only “concurred” with the proposal. […]

Published

on

Editor’s Note: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is attempting to craft legally unassailable rules promoting net neutrality. But he’s run into trouble from all sides. Communications providers aren’t happy. His fellow commissioners aren’t happy. And the “netroots” activists aren’t happy, either.

BroadbandBreakfast.com posts three articles on Thursday’s action at the FCC. First, the scene at 12th Street SW. Second, the reaction from interested parties. Third, what the details of the agency’s order says.

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 – In a Federal Commissions Commission meeting tinged with protest, the agency voted Thursday to begin a process to re-established certain network neutrality rules after they had been struck down by a federal appeals court in January.

On a 3-2 vote, the agency’s three Democrats kicked off a proceeding seeking public input on how to find a solution protecting and promote the open flow of information on the internet that will pass legal scrutiny.

Chairman Tom Wheeler retained the support of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn – even though Rosenworcel said she only “concurred” with the proposal.

At the heart of the debate is whether internet service providers should be permitted to discriminate against internet content providers in the speeds whereby consumers may access data. The agency’s proposed rule would re-enshrine a “no blocking” order, and institute a “commercially reasonable” test to evaluate actions by broadband providers.

The agency also re-iterated and enhanced its existing broadband transparency rules, and proposed to implement a range of new dispute resolution procedures. In a last-minute effort to bolster support among net neutrality advocates who felt his proposals too week, Wheeler added language into the text of the proposed order considering whether broadband providers might be regulated as common carriers under the co-called “Title II” of federal communications law.

Before the meeting even began, protesters camped outside the FCC building to express their support for net neutrality.

Audience members erupted in anger during the meeting itself, disrupting the speeches of the Commissioners.

“This is a moment of crisis in our democracy!” exclaimed a representative of a group called Popular Resistance. “The internet is a common carrier…. We don’t want to see the FCC Commission regulate the internet for the people. We want to regulate it for the corporations!” He was escorted out of the room by guards, but not before a wave of applause.

A woman in the audience immediately followed suit.

“Protect the internet! The internet is our free speech, but in this country, our voice is being taken away!”

Wheeler attempted to quell the disquiet. In his remarks, he pledged to support a robust conception of network neutrality.

“If someone acts to divide internet between ‘have and have-nots,’ we will use every power to stop it.” Wheeler said. “I will take no back seat to anyone that privileges some network users…there is one internet. Not a fast internet, not a slow internet. One internet. It must be fast, robust and open.”

The other commissioners agreed the internet had made America the epicenter of innovation and civic engagement, but expressed varying degrees of support for Wheeler’s approach to net neutrality. Rosenworcel lamented Wheeler’s decision to rush headstrong into an issue that she said the agency didn’t firmly grasp.

Commissioner Ajit Pai argued that the FCC had no business interfering with the relationship between ISPs and their customers.

“[This] should be resolved by people’s elected representatives – those who choose the direction of government, and those who the American people can hold directly accountable,” Pai said. “Rather than turning to Congress, we’ve taken matters into our own hands. We’ve been down this road before. Our two prior attempts to go in alone ended in court defeats.”

Pai called for the FCC to solicit a wide range of perspectives from economists and computer scientists, and to put them up for a discussion at a series of hearings.

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly blasted net neutrality regulations as a slippery slope. He described network prioritization as a vital practice.

“Voice must be prioritized over emails, video over data. Prioritization is not a bad word. It’s a necessary component of reasonable network management,” he said. “There are companies that do business over the internet, including some of the strongest supporters of net neutrality, who routinely pay for a variety of services to ensure the best possible experience for consumers. They’ve been doing it for years.”

Wheeler retorted that as a former entrepreneur, he understood the need for openness better than anyone.

“I have had products and services shut out of closed cable networks,” Wheeler said. “As a [venture capitalist], I invested in companies that wouldn’t have been able to innovate if the network weren’t open. I understand this issue in my bones. I’ve got scars from when my companies were denied access in the pre-internet days.”

Nothing in his proposal would allow for paid prioritization, Wheeler insisted.

Before taking the vote, Wheeler closed his remarks with an expression of gratitude to the American people for their passionate involvement in the important issue.

“The founding fathers must be looking down and smiling at how the republic they created, carried out the ideals they established,” he said. “We look forward to further input… in what has been a decade long effort to preserve the open internet.”

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Recent

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

Get twice-weekly Breakfast Media news alerts.
* = required field

Trending