FCC at Full Strength with a Full Plate

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ITI and its member companies are pleased that with tonight's Senate confirmations of new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, the FCC is now at full strength. These confirmations could not come at a more critical time for our country and the tech industry.  We look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly on issues that will be of paramount importance to the tech industry for years to come.  
First and foremost, in order to address our nation's spectrum needs it will be critical to ensure that the voluntary incentive auction rules are structured to maximize participation, and transition as much spectrum as possible for licensed use.  There will also be important work ahead to maximize unlicensed use in the 5 GHz band.  Lastly, as we look to the future and attempt to surpass the goal laid out by the National Broadband Plan to make 500 MHz of spectrum available for mobile broadband by 2020, we are going to have to work to together to find ways to incentivize the largest spectrum holder in the U.S., the federal government, to utilize spectrum more efficiently and relinquish spectrum for commercial use.
There are numerous other pressing items before the FCC, ranging from IP-transition to broadband access improvements in our nation's schools.  As Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O'Rielly take on these challenges, we look forward to working with them to ensure these and other policies implemented by the FCC enhance the environment that has led to such robust growth and innovation in the tech sector.
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    The solution is going to have to be Internet/cloud based e-learning and inoitucrtsnal video materials that can be self-directed and self-paced. The moderator will be a motivator and faciliator of learning, not a teacher in the conventional sense. We're working on some proposals for a pilot along those lines right now.In addition, you might want to review some of the blog postings on the community Senior Internet Training Network that I described in two blog entires in August and September. In rural areas the public housing or Section 8 (or Farmer's Home) senior building can function as a hub for a network of senior training and other service providers, involving the local library, senior center, community college, local high school and other senior housing facilities and churches. Happy to review and comment on your specific situation. I'm at , or .
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    I'm trying to pmroote the idea of a utility broadband channel, separated off from the bandwidth used to deliver consumer services.The point is that,up until now, broadband has been used simply to provide Internet access, telephony and television. However broadband can be also used for a range of other purposes. Broadband is basically an always-on channel for data. It can therefore be used to, for instance, support smart metering, allow remote management of electricity use to manage peak energy demand, deliver telecare and telehealth services, and support local security services. It also could be used to provide access to local services and information; including for instance local educational resources for schools, without data needing to be sent onto the internet and back.Many of these services are becoming increasingly important to deliver key Government Policy Agendas such as Smart Metering, Renewable Energy, fuel poverty, health and social care of the aging population and so on, and have a clear and growing economic valueSome of these can be done over wireless or the normal telephone line, but the low bandwidth and, more importantly, poor quality of service, limit the capabilities of the services offered.The problem is that there are a number of barriers to broadband being utilised in this way: Many people do not have broadband so a ubiquitous service cannot be provided At the moment these services could only be delivered over the Internet, which means that QoS is more difficult to guarantee. It also adds unnecessarily to the data transport costs of Communications Providers The Communications Providers could offer this over a VPN via their existing broadband service to customers, but this would require service providers to make arrangements with each Communications Provider separately It would also challenge the Communications Providers business model in that they are paid by the end customer to provide broadband internet access, but if service providers such as Hospitals paid for dedicated bandwidth to provide a channel into people's homes to deliver healthcare services, this would have to be taken away from the bandwidth they provide to the end userThe result Consumers are losing the benefits of valuable services Public policy objectives are more difficult to achieve Important revenue streams are being lost which could significantly contribute to the business case for upgrading the broadband infrastructure in the UK Business opportunities are being lostA PropositionThat a universal service obligation be laid on all owners of networks providing superfast broadband services to customers to provide a dedicated and firewalled channel to all homes, separate to that used to deliver conventional triple play. The channel would be funded through the providers of services over it and could potentially provide a significant income stream to the network owner.The bandwidth required is for negotiation and may depend partly on the capacity of the network, but could indicatively be 2Mbs symmetrical.It would need to be managed as an open access network and used to deliver services from a range of providers, who would pay according to a clear and transparent funding mechanism.The time is ripe for this, as the extra revenues it would provide would add to the business case for the move to superfast broadband, which, in turn would provide spare capacity to make it easy to provide an open channel to deliver these services.
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