Connect with us

Broadband's Impact

Press Release: Kirton McConkie Expands New Telecom Practice with Addition of Technology Industry Lawyer Drew Clark

SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 28, 2014) – Kirton McConkie PC is pleased to announce that Drew Clark has joined as of counsel in the firm’s Telecommunications Practice Group. He joins shareholder David J. Shaw in this new practice area for the firm, which focuses on assisting state and local governments in deploying broadband infrastructure to support economic development. […]

Published

on

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kevin Aschenbrenner

250-294-8431
kaschenbrenner@jaffepr.com

SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 28, 2014) – Kirton McConkie PC is pleased to announce that Drew Clark has joined as of counsel in the firm’s Telecommunications Practice Group. He joins shareholder David J. Shaw in this new practice area for the firm, which focuses on assisting state and local governments in deploying broadband infrastructure to support economic development.

Mr. Clark has spent his career working in the technology industry as both a lawyer and journalist, and is known as a pioneer in the broadband sector. He founded the Broadband Breakfast Club, Washington DC’s premier monthly forum on broadband. An early advocate for better broadband data, he worked with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce on a prototype model for the National Broadband Map. Mr. Clark served as assistant director of George Mason University School of Law’s Information Economy Project, which brought telecom policy into the realm of law and economics.

Under Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Mr. Clark led a combined federal and state effort of more than $350 million in fiber-optic and wireless infrastructure investments. The partnership bridged regional divisions within Illinois, enhanced the economic development efforts of the Broadband Deployment Council and connected communications providers and users of Internet services. This led to the launch of the Illinois Broadband Innovation Fund and the FCC awarding one of its first broadband lifeline grants to rural Western and Southern Illinois.

“We are pleased to welcome Drew to the firm and to our telecom group,” said Mr. Shaw. “Drew is known nationally for his work in telecom, particularly as an advocate for broadband on behalf of state and local governments, and we know his experience will be an asset for our clients.”

Kirton McConkie attorneys are active around the country on issues affecting government broadband projects at the state and local level. They recently served as speakers at the 2014 Broadband Communities Conference and worked in support of the Next Century Cities event held in Santa Monica on October 20.

Mr. Clark’s practice specializes in information technology, telecommunications, intellectual property, public utilities and contract drafting and negotiations. He also works with state, municipal and rural broadband leaders to capture broadband benefits of job creation, telemedicine, online learning, public safety, energy, transportation and eGovernment. Mr. Clark holds a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law, an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a B.A. (with honors) from Swarthmore College.

About the Kirton McConkie Telecommunications Practice Group

Kirton McConkie enhances state and local governments’ ability to deploy broadband infrastructure in their economic development activities. We represent municipalities, inter-local entities and cooperatives from an exploratory phase, through bid processes and beyond.

Additionally, we assist clients as they construct and operate their high-speed broadband networks by negotiating with public-private partnerships. We know the players in the broadband community, the financial options available to cities and local governments and the best practices for building Gigabit Networks.

Our experience is demonstrated by the amount of financing we have placed for telecommunications infrastructure projects—we are among the top in the nation.

For more information, please visit http://www.kmclaw.com/industries-Telecom-Broadband.html.

About Kirton McConkie PC

Kirton McConkie is a full service commercial law firm with 140 attorneys focusing on commercial litigation, business, real estate, employment, First Amendment, immigration, intellectual property, tax, estate planning and family law. For more information, please visit http://www.kmclaw.com.

Broadband Breakfast is a decade-old news organization based in Washington that is building a community of interest around broadband policy and internet technology, with a particular focus on better broadband infrastructure, the politics of privacy and the regulation of social media. Learn more about Broadband Breakfast.

Digital Inclusion

Lack of Public Broadband Pricing Information a Cause of Digital Divide, Say Advocates

Panelists argued that lack of equitable digital access is deadly and driven by lack of competition.

Published

on

September 24, 2021- Affordability, language and lack of competition are among the factors that continue to perpetuate the digital divide and related inequities, according to panelists at a Thursday event on race and broadband.

One of the panelists faulted the lack of public broadband pricing information as a root cause.

In poorer communities there’s “fewer ISPs. There’s less competition. There’s less investment in fiber,” said Herman Galperin, associate professor at the University of Southern California. “It is about income. It is about race, but what really matters is the combination of poverty and communities of color. That’s where we find the largest deficits of broadband infrastructure.”

While acknowledging that “there is an ongoing effort at the [Federal Communications Commission] to significantly improve the type of data and the granularity of the data that the ISPs will be required to report,” Galperin said that the lack of a push to make ISP pricing public will doom that effort to fail.

He also questioned why ISPs do not or are not required to report their maps of service coverage revealing areas of no or low service. “Affordability is perhaps the biggest factor in preventing low-income folks from connecting,” Galperin said.

“It’s plain bang for their buck,” said Traci Morris, executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University, referring to broadband providers reluctance to serve rural and remote areas. “It costs more money to go to [tribal lands].”

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made that digital divide clearer and more deadly. “There was no access to information for telehealth,” said Morris. “No access to information on how the virus spread.”

Galperin also raised the impact of digital gaps in access upon homeless and low-income populations. As people come in and out of homelessness, they have trouble connecting to the internet at crucial times, because – for example – a library might be closed.

Low-income populations also have “systemic” digital access issues struggling at times with paying their bills having to shut their internet off for months at a time.

Another issue facing the digital divide is linguistic. Rebecca Kauma, economic and digital inclusion program manager for the city of Long Beach, California, said that residents often speak a language other than English. But ISPs may not offer interpretation services for them to be able to communicate in their language.

Funding, though not a quick fix-all, often brings about positive change in the right hands. Long Beach received more than $1 million from the U.S. CARES Act, passed in the wake of the early pandemic last year. “One of the programs that we designed was to administer free hotspots and computing devices to those that qualify,” she said.

Some “band-aid solutions” to “systemic problems” exist but aren’t receiving the attention or initiative they deserve, said Galperin. “What advocacy organizations are doing but we need a lot more effort is helping people sign up for existing low-cost offers.” The problem, he says, is that “ISPs are not particularly eager to promote” low-cost offers.

The event “Race and Digital Inequity: The Impact on Poor Communities of Color,” was hosted by the Michelson 20MM Foundation and its partners the California Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Southern California Grantmakers.

Continue Reading

Broadband's Impact

USC, CETF Collaborate on Research for Broadband Affordability

Advisory panel includes leaders in broadband and a chief economist at the FCC.

Published

on

Hernan Galperin of USC's Annenberg School

WASHINGTON, September 22, 2021 – Researchers from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School and the California Emerging Technology Fund is partnering to recommend strategies for bringing affordable broadband to all Americans.

In a press release on Tuesday, the university’s school of communications and journalism and the CETF will be guided by an expert advisory panel, “whose members include highly respected leaders in government, academia, foundations and non-profit and consumer-focused organizations.”

Members of the advisory panel include a chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission, digital inclusion experts, broadband advisors to governors, professors and deans, and other public interest organizations.

“With the federal government and states committing billions to broadband in the near term, there is a unique window of opportunity to connect millions of low-income Americans to the infrastructure they need to thrive in the 21st century,” Hernan Galperin, a professor at the school, said in the release.

“However, we need to make sure public funds are used effectively, and that subsidies are distributed in an equitable and sustainable manner,” he added. “This research program will contribute to achieve these goals by providing evidence-based recommendations about the most cost-effective ways to make these historic investments in broadband work for all.”

The CETF and USC have collaborated before on surveys about broadband adoption. In a series of said surveys recently, the organizations found disparities along income levels, as lower-income families reported lower levels of technology adoption, despite improvement over the course of the pandemic.

The surveys also showed that access to connected devices was growing, but racial minorities are still disproportionately impacted by the digital divide.

The collaboration comes before the House is expected to vote on a massive infrastructure package that includes $65 billion for broadband. Observers and experts have noted the package’s vision for flexibility, but some are concerned about the details of how that money will be spent going forward.

Continue Reading

Broadband's Impact

Technology Policy Institute Introduces Data Index to Help Identify Connectivity-Deprived Areas

The Broadband Connectivity Index uses multiple datasets to try to get a better understanding of well- and under-connected areas in the U.S.

Published

on

Scott Wallsten is president and senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2021 – The Technology Policy Institute introduced Thursday a broadband data index that it said could help policymakers study areas across the country with inadequate connectivity.

The TPI said the Broadband Connectivity Index uses multiple broadband datasets to compare overall connectivity “objectively and consistently across any geographic areas.” It said it will be adding it soon into its TPI Broadband Map.

The BCI uses a “machine learning principal components analysis” to take into account the share of households that can access fixed speeds the federal standard of 25 Megabits per second download and 3 Mbps upload and 100/25 – which is calculated based on the Federal Communications Commission’s Form 477 data with the American Community Survey – while also using download speed data from Ookla, Microsoft data for share of households with 25/3, and the share of households with a broadband subscription, which comes from the American Community Survey.

The BCI has a range of zero to 10, where zero is the worst connected and 10 is the best. It found that Falls Church, Virginia was the county with the highest score with the following characteristic: 99 percent of households have access to at least 100/25, 100 percent of households connect to Microsoft services at 25/3, the average fixed download speed is 243 Mbps in Ookla in the second quarter of this year, and 94 percent of households have a fixed internet connection.

Meanwhile, the worst-connected county is Echols County in Georgia. None of the population has access to a fixed connection of 25/3, which doesn’t include satellite connectivity, three percent connect to Microsoft’s servers at 25/3, the average download speed is 7 Mbps, and only 47 percent of households have an internet connection. It notes that service providers won $3.6 million out of the $9.2-billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to provide service in this county.

“Policymakers could use this index to identify areas that require a closer look. Perhaps any county below, say, the fifth percentile, for example, would be places to spend effort trying to understand,” the TPI said.

“We don’t claim that this index is the perfect indicator of connectivity, or even the best one we can create,” TPI added. “In some cases, it might magnify errors, particularly if multiple datasets include errors in the same area.

“We’re still fine-tuning it to reduce error to the extent possible and ensure the index truly captures useful information. Still, this preliminary exercise shows that it is possible to obtain new information on connectivity with existing datasets rather than relying only on future, extremely expensive data.”

Continue Reading

Recent

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

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

Trending