Archive for November, 2014

Shutting the Digital Divide in Countryside America

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

High-speed Internet access has become fundamental to modern life of today, whether we’re on the job, at home, or even going to school. Broadband connectivity can overcome geographic isolation and put a global of information and economic opportunity on the fingertips of citizens in however, most remote communities. But the difficult truth is there is a digital divide that will particularly impacts rural America.

Americans living in urban areas are usually three times more likely to have access to Next Generation high speed than Americans in rural locations. An estimated 15 million Americans, mainly in rural communities, don’t have access to entry-level broadband in their homes. Forty-one percent of American’s rural schools couldn’t get a high-speed connection if they tried.

The particular FCC can play an important role in bridging these gaps, now, I’m circulating two items that may expand access to robust broadband throughout rural America.

Bringing High-Speed Broadband to Countryside Schools and Libraries

One proposal would shut the digital divide in rural schools and libraries by modernizing the FCC’s E-rate program. Considering that 1997, the program has helped link schools and libraries to the Web, but it’s falling short of delivering the bandwidth required for 21st Century understanding. That’s particularly true in rural America, where 41% of educational institutions lack access to the fast dietary fiber connections required compared to 31% in urban areas.

Why does this particular Rural Fiber Gap exist? Fiber connection costs are much higher intended for rural schools and libraries. Consequently, either there is no fiber, or that will level of connectivity is only available at an unreasonably high price. It may not end up being unusual, but it is unacceptable that these realities are allowed to hurt students.

Thus, my suggestion includes targeted updates to E-rate rules to help defray the high costs rural libraries and schools encounter in achieving high-speed Internet connection, particularly the one-time infrastructure upgrade costs that many simply can’t afford today. For many low-income schools and libraries the challenge is one of affordability, so my proposal also includes guideline changes designed to increase the number of competing options to these schools and libraries to ensure they have access to the most budget-friendly solutions.

In July, we opened an inquiry in to the future funding needs of the E-rate program. After our own analysis, and also studies submitted to the record, we have concluded that additional investment is required to provide 21st Century digital learning to all educational institutions and libraries. The E-rate’s budget, set in 1997 and not adjusted intended for inflation until 2010, isn’t to the task. Now, we are rebooting E-rate for the digital age by proposing a rise in the size of the program to reflect the investment required to shut the rural divide and keep American education competitive nationwide.

Closing this connectivity gap will require raising the E-rate spending cover. Now, let me be clear. We now have looked long-term to forecast the particular funding needs going forward and centered the spending cap on those forecasts. What will actually be spent – and the rate Americans will be inquired to contribute – will vary through year-to-year. Most certainly, the contributions through Americans won’t immediately jump to the cap.

I am suggesting to my colleagues that we increase the cover on what all Americans contribute to the particular E-rate fund by 16 pennies a month for a telephone line. Let’s put that in perspective. Over the course of the entire year that represents one cup of coffee or even a medium soda at McDonald’s. Each year.

E-rate is funded by fees on consumers’ telephone bills. I take the fiduciary responsibility to invest those contributions wisely and incredibly seriously. That’s why we positioned an emphasis on improving cost-effectiveness recording. But the fact is that the E-Rate budget hadn’t received an annual inflation adjustment for 13 years. The majority of the suggested new cap accounts for the lack of inflation adjustments, with the rest going to brand new growth if needed.

This is the reality: while many schools and libraries have benefitted from the E-rate program, rural and low-income educational institutions and libraries have not shared proportionally in the opportunities. The investment We are proposing enables the FCC to satisfy its responsibility to advance digital understanding in all American schools and libraries.

Bringing Broadband to Rural Americans

Beyond our schools and libraries, the Commission has been working to re-orient its universal service finance program for rural communities to back up broadband networks in unserved rural areas through the new Connect The united states Fund. The Connect America Fund has already invested hundreds of millions to bring high speed to unserved rural communities, and it is poised to invest more than $20 billion dollars over the next five years. Nowadays, I am circulating an Order to move the Connect America Fund ahead to get these communities the connection they need to stay competitive in the digital world.

My suggestion would bring the minimum broadband velocity for receiving USF support to 10 Mbps for downloads, through 4 Mbps – the first adjustment since 2011. We need to make sure rural consumers have the service they need to support modern applications and uses as we expand networks to the 15 mil unserved rural Americans. And it’s time to move forward to implement Stage II of the Connect America Fund.

Incentive Public sale

We keep steady progress toward implementing an incentive auction of low-band spectrum, that is a critical input for rural wifi broadband network coverage.

Broadcaster participation will be key to the auction’s success. Since we released an information package last month in regards to the unparalleled business opportunity the incentive auction represents, numerous broadcasters have reached in order to us to learn more about the incentive auction. And as the Incentive Auction Task Force announced last week, we will keep on our dialogue with broadcasters in field visits covering every area of the continental U. S. including larger and smaller television marketplaces.

Marking another major milestone, we are now initiating the process by which we will develop the specific processes to carry out the incentive auction. Later today, we will circulate the Motivation Auction Comment Public Notice (PN) for consideration by the full Commission rate.

In the Incentive Public sale Report & Order the Commission rate adopted last May, the Commission rate established the rules and policies for your incentive auction. The Comment PN seeks public input on detailed proposals about how important aspects of the particular auction will work, including the methodology intended for setting opening prices for both the ahead and reverse auction; components of the particular “final stage rule” which should be met in order for the auction to close; and defining impaired marketplaces and how to set an initial clearing focus on.

The public input we all receive in response to the Comment PN will be incorporated into a final Processes PN that will spell out the specific processes necessary to carry out the auction.

Lessons of the 2014 Plenipot

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Last month, I was honored to join FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler as part of the U. S. delegation towards the 2014 International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference (Plenipot) held within Busan, South Korea. Since the conference recently concluded, it seems the appropriate time for you to share my thoughts about this experience. Before doing so, however , I must communicate my deep appreciation to the head of the delegation, U. S. Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda of the Department associated with State, the FCC staff, the particular members of the U. S. abordnung, and all dignitaries with whom I used to be able to meet, including the newly-elected Secretary-General of the ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao of China, and Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Malcom Johnson of the Uk.

As a member of the abordnung, I attended the official plenary conferences of the conference, which included the elections for various ITU positions plus discussions of various resolutions, and became a member of U. S. -led bilateral conferences with representatives of countries existing at the Plenipot, including Germany plus Chile. I attended meetings using a subset of our delegation to discuss U. S. positions on specific issues (e. g., cybersecurity and Web governance). In addition , I participated in a number of FCC-led bilateral meetings with officials from the regulatory agencies of some other countries, including Pakistan, Lebanon, Ghana, Australia and Guinea-Bissau. These conferences put into perspective the high standing how the FCC has internationally, and I was able to share the Commission’s pro-market method of spectrum auctions, unlicensed spectrum, high speed deployment, and many other issues.

Reports indicate that the 2014 Plenipot was relatively successful in staving off ill-timed or questionable policy proposals, and much credit goes to the particular U. S. delegation for their dedication and dedication. Based on my short time in Busan and now reviewing the conclusion product, here are my key takeaways:

The Internet Is constantly on the Threaten the Status Quo

At the heart of the issues debated in the 2014 Plenipot was the continued advancement the Internet and its remarkable, disruptive abilities. There was noticeable policy tension involving the desire to expand the Internet to all and the impact of the Internet on worldwide economic and political practices. While the countries of the world embrace the advantages that the Internet brings to society plus mankind, some are troubled simply by other changes it can bring.

The concerns some nations have about the Internet are quite solid. In general, they can be put into one of two categories: loss of control and reduction of profits. The decentralized and global nature of the Internet reduces the ability of the government to control the information and encounters of its citizens. In other words, countries that will restrict freedom could be the most affected by it. Moreover, the Internet is rapidly supplanting the traditional telephone as the major source of communications traffic. For some nations that rely on telephone revenues, their solution seems to be based on imposing brand new fees of some sort on the Internet. Most of the proposals on Internet issues put forth in the Plenipot fit into one of these two difficult rationalizations.

Given the benefits of an informed society, the international community would be wise to continue to embrace the Internet rather than trying to limit its gain access to and reach. Additionally , a more forward-thinking approach is that government fees plus regulations are deterrents to customers communicating and optimizing the Internet, and therefore, should be opposed.

The Structure of International Discussion boards Needs Review

While I appreciate the history of the particular ITU and its work, the ITU’s structure—like that of the U. And. —provides each country an equal state in matters before it. That means some member countries, relying on bad information, advocate the fusion associated with existing policies or practices using the complexities inherent in the operations, functionality and architecture of the Internet, which could lead to unintended consequences. This also allows those countries that have questionable ulterior motives to push proposals that will undermine the longstanding principles embedded in the Internet. The U. Ersus. delegation, which included a number of Internet-centric companies, was forced to not only defend the Internet from harmful policies but also clarify how implementing these policies could undermine the foundation of the Internet.

As I left Busan, this appeared that the role of the ITU in some people’s minds was along the way to shifting from the preeminent forum for public telecommunications to what our own Korean hosts lauded as “the preeminent intergovernmental Internet forum. ” The remit of the ITU has been a core discussion point at every global ITU conference, as some nations want to expand the ITU’s achieve to include Internet governance and content material. These continued attempts need consideration, including whether and how best to acquire agreement prior to the start of any kind of international forum discussing Internet matters, particularly those that have international treaty effects, to preclude issues that are outside of the organization’s purview or that may violate certain factors appropriate for international Internet discussions, conventions, or conferences. Whether this really is done via further establishing official U. S. policy along these lines or whether funding for such organizations needs to be examined closely beforehand would seem to be something for Congress to determine, but it may be a necessary discussion to have. Alternatively, perhaps the U. Ersus. should focus on steering certain global discussions to other non-treaty based community forums.

Need to Balance U. S. Domestic Positions with International Positions

The U. S. positions on Internet issues facing the Plenipot had been rather refreshing. It focused on reaffirming our commitment to the free market plus private sector: the guiding principles of the Internet. We rejected better involvement by governments and railed against the desire by some to impose new fees (not unlike access charges) on Internet traffic. We all opposed efforts to impose Traffic tracking, knowing that this was designed to subvert individuals’ freedom. We fought against efforts to inject the ITU straight into Internet content and applications. And we pushed the international community to maintain the ITU’s role over the Internet limited. Basically, our approach was among foiling efforts to inject a greater government role in Internet governance, operations or architecture. Amen!

The only problem is that these excellent stances are not the same ones being espoused by our government within our personal borders, particularly at the FCC. In fact , many within the United States government suggest for policies that would run directly afoul of our international message. Think of the domestic debate over internet neutrality in which some want to enforce common carriage requirements on high speed providers and the desire to regulate the Internet peering marketplace. This is extremely difficult for a number of reasons, not the least may be the lost credibility our positions will have in future international forums. Being labelled hypocrites is a real likelihood if the U. S. continues to favor a single policy at home and another overseas. Worse yet, is the possibility that such regulatory systems and taxing guidelines would be replicated internationally.

Accordingly, the proper course of action is to examine the worthiness of our international positions plus reshape domestic policy to reflect these enlightened views. By synchronizing our positions and embracing those that have allowed the commercial Internet to flourish over the last three decades, we would be rejecting the flawed and misdirected arguments that we oppose internationally, permitting us to retain the intellectually defensible high ground. It would also reinvigorate our Internet entrepreneurs and innovators by allowing them to focus on technology instead of Washington, D. C. bureaucrats.

Taking Next Step in E-rate Modernization

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Today, Chairman Wheeler announced that he will be circulating the draft order to his other Commissioners for consideration at the Dec Commission Meeting to take the next step in the comprehensive effort to modernize the E-rate program. If you recall, the Commission adopted an Order in July to make the program more efficient plus transparent so that schools get the most bang for their E-rate buck. At the same time, the Commission moved to close the Wi fi gap by targeting $1 billion annually to expand Wi-Fi cable connections in all the nation’s schools and your local library to support modern digital learning. Because significant a step as that was, the Commission was able to accomplish this without improving E-rate’s $2. 4 billion cover by phasing down support intended for legacy services which will save approximately $3. 5 billion over 5 years, funds that can be redeployed intended for broadband services.

Ever since then, the FCC has continued to gather facts and data about how this program can meet the next big challenge: ensuring that Internet connections to schools plus libraries are sufficiently robust to back up the increasing demands of 21st century digital learning, including the new Wi fi networks and all the tablets plus laptops that will be connected to them. Today, the Wireline Competition Bureau plus Office of Strategic Planning plus Policy Analysis are releasing a good “E-rate Data Update” staff statement summarizing the information the Commission provides received since the July E-rate Modernization Order and staff analysis of it. The Chairman also summarized these types of findings in a press call became a member of by Senator Markey, who was instrumental in the creation of E-rate. This particular press fact sheet provides a short and snappy description of the Internet connectivity spaces and the Chairman’s proposal to adjust the program’s spending cap to a level that will enable long-term E-rate online connectivity targets to be met. The purchase the Chairman circulates this week may also propose a series of targeted rule adjustments designed to ensure that the nation’s learners and life-long learners can get the 21st Century educations required to keep the country globally competitive.

Stay tuned for more.

Consuming Broadcaster Outreach on the Road

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Last month marked a significant milestone in our ongoing effort to educate broadcasters about the opportunities afford by the first-ever incentive auction. We delivered an information package, prepared by the purchase banking firm Greenhill and Co. for the FCC, to the owners of each station eligible to participate in the auction. The package explained the unrivaled business opportunity and for the first time gave tv producers high end estimates of compensation for abandoning spectrum usage rights. In just the particular few weeks since we released the particular package, numerous broadcasters have reached in order to learn more about the auction.

Building on the momentum generated by the information package, we are poised to begin the next phase of our outreach. FCC staff, again advised simply by Greenhill, will continue the dialogue with broadcasters in field visits to television markets around the country. We are currently planning more than a dozen trips that will cover about fifty markets between January and April 2015 (see list below). Area visits will include town hall meetings during which we will explain the opportunities presented by the auction and tackle questions that have been raised by tv producers in the weeks since the Greenhill information package release. We will also provide more detail about opening bid costs and different participation options such as approach sharing, moving from a UHF approach to a VHF channel and moving from a high VHF channel to some lower one. Additionally , we will meet up with confidentially one-on-one with individual tv producers who express an interest in learning more.

Our own travel plans will be made with a number of factors in mind. First our outreach should cover the cities and regions most important to the reverse auction. We will be visiting a full range of markets—not just the largest—where we think we will require stations to participate in the invert auction in order to clear a sufficient amount of range to successfully close the auction.

Second of all, since the actual list of markets exactly where we will need to compensate station owners for giving up some or all of their spectrum usage rights will be determined by the auction and won’t be known before it begins, our industry visits will cover markets throughout the ls U. S. Finally, the motivation auction will impact all broadcasters—those who are participating, and those that select not to participate and therefore may be repacked. Our outreach will provide more fine detail on the auction and address queries from stations that may participate as well as those that won’t.

Because participation in the auction is strictly voluntary, communicating clearly and effectively to broadcasters about the opportunities afforded by the auction features the utmost importance to its overall success. We look forward to continuing the particular conversation with station owners because they carefully consider the economic potential of the auction in the weeks and months ahead.

FCC Incentive Auction Broadcaster Outreach Field Visits

We are currently planning more than a dozen field visits from January to mid April 2015 that will cover about fifty television markets. Our visits can encompass a full range of markets, not simply the largest, where we think we will require stations to participate in the invert auction. Field visits will include town hall meetings and confidential one-on-one meetings with broadcasters who show an interest in learning more.

*List is just not final and is subject to change

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin tx, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Chi town, IL
  • Cincinnati, ALSO
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbia, SC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Dayton, ALSO
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Hartford, CT
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Lansing, MI
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lexington, KY
  • Lima, OH
  • Louisville, KY
  • Madison, WI
  • Miami, FL
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Orlando, florida, FL
  • Philadelphia, PENNSYLVANIA
  • Providence, RI
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • Roanoke, VA
  • Rockford, IL
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CALIFORNIA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Springfield, MA
  • La, CA
  • South Flex, IN
  • Tampa, FL
  • Washington, DC
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PENNSYLVANIA
  • Youngstown, OH
  • Zanesville, OH

*The FCC’s broadcaster outreach will also include conference calls and webinars with regard to broadcasters who do not participate in the street show meetings

The Broadband Health Imperative 888011000110888 For almost a decade and a half, as an Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, it has been my responsibility to work on one of the most challenging troubles in healthcare − improving populace health. My work has taken me personally from the so-called “ivory tower” of Johns Hopkins to the homes, alleys and communities of inner city East Baltimore. By means of my experiences, I’ve realized that despite the U. S. having an amazing health care system, it was doing little to reduce the endless flow of patients coming into emergency rooms and hospitals for care. We could treat a lot of physical and psychological ailments, yet we were often powerless to provide the support patients and families required to manage their chronic diseases or truly live “well”. We were powerless not because we could not see what was needed neither because we did not care; instead, as the infographic below suggests, there were too many people that needed treatment instead of enough providers to meet their needs. We were taught as medical college students to focus on tests, diagnostics, therapies plus treatments. I, like many others, believed that if we could just give the best care to every patient, we would ultimately fix our nation’s health care problems. But it isn’t that simple. Customers rely on many resources for their health – doctors, social services, health professionals, pharmacies, caregivers and others. When these types of “providers” remain unconnected, it is a prescription for frustration, burnout, high expenses and suboptimal outcomes. I am often asked, “Why would certainly a Hopkins doctor come to the FCC? ” My answer is easy. It’s because I can’t observe how we are going to improve our nation’s health without aggressively pursuing the potential that broadband and broadband-enabled health systems have to offer. Many of these broadband benefits are actually on the horizon. So what better place to end up being than the FCC! Lately, U. S. News and Planet Report looked at how eICUs eliminate distancefrom the equation; Forbes tackled the benefits of broadband-enabled telemedicine especially for smaller businesses; and an October 2014 content in Population Health concluded that connect2health@fcc. gov) will continue to work with other policymakers, businesses, organizations, healthcare providers, communications companies and consumers that are interested in this populace health vision. We want to hear through individuals—young and old—who are using broadband-based technologies to successfully address health concerns. We want to better understand adoption barriers to broadband-enabled health technologies, through rich and poor alike, and in rural and urban areas. And, we all plan to do our part to spot policy and regulatory challenges that inhibit innovation, investment and entrepreneurship in digital health. Our goal is to be a catalyst for making this particular new broadband-enabled health and care ecosystem a reality.

Monday, November 10th, 2014


Dr . Chris Gibbons

FCC Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Connect2HealthFCC Task Force

For almost a decade and a half, as an Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, it has been my responsibility to work on one of the most challenging troubles in healthcare − improving populace health.   My work has brought me from the so-called “ off white tower” of Johns Hopkins towards the homes, alleys and communities of inner city East Baltimore.  

Through my experiences, I’ ve realized that despite the Oughout. S. having an amazing healthcare system, it was doing little to reduce the endless flow of patients entering emergency rooms and hospitals meant for care. We could treat many actual physical and psychological ailments, but we were often powerless to provide the assistance patients and families needed to deal with their chronic diseases or truly live “ well”.

We were powerless not because we could not see what was needed neither because we did not care; instead, as the infographic below suggests, there were too many people that needed treatment instead of enough providers to meet their needs.   We were taught as healthcare students to focus on tests, diagnostics, therapies and treatments.   I, like many others, believed that if we could just give the best care to every patient, we might ultimately fix our nation’ ersus health care problems.   But it isn’ t that simple.

Customers rely on many resources for their health – doctors, social services, health professionals, pharmacies, caregivers and others.   Whenever these “ providers” remain unconnected, it is a prescription for frustration, burnout, high costs and suboptimal results.  

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Presenting FCC Distinguished Health IT College student, Dr . Chris Gibbons

Monday, November 10th, 2014

The American scientist plus inventor Edwin Land once mentioned, “don’t undertake a project unless it really is manifestly important and nearly impossible. ” (You may recall that Land co-founded the Polaroid Corporation, which usually revolutionized instant photography. )

Connecting everyone, everywhere to the people, services and information they have to get healthy and stay well – the fundamental vision of the Connect2HealthFCC Task Force – is such a challenge. It isn’t really impossible, in my view, but manifestly important to the health of our nation as well as the stability of our economy. And, it isn’t really impossible if we continue to leverage the power of broadband and advanced technology tools.

Over the summer, the Task Force heard from a wide range of stakeholders in the broadband health space that agree that this is a challenge we must take. They’ve encouraged us to take the particular long view, pursuing tangible, near-term gains in accelerating broadband adoption and promoting health IT, but also thinking 10-15 years out so the Commission can stay ahead of the contour.

An undertaking of this magnitude requires a multi-disciplinary approach and a broad range of stakeholder partners. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce a key member of our team, Dr . Michael Philip Gibbons of Johns Hopkins University or college. Dr . Gibbons serves as an FCC Distinguished Scholar in Residence, providing critical health IT, population health and data analytics heft to our group.

Dr . Gibbons is really a physician informatician, healthcare disparities plus urban health expert whose educational research has focused on the use of technology plus consumer health informatics to improve health care disparities. He also received training in general surgery at Johns Hopkins, prior to completing a preventive medicine residency.

Interestingly, Doctor Gibbons’ work is leading the particular emergence of a new field of study called Populomics – the particular intersection of population science, medicine and health informatics. In a nutshell, he is pushing the envelope on big-data science and technology-focused approaches which could help improve the health of entire populations and allow doctors and other clinicians to target health solutions more finely by vulnerable geographic regions, communities, and families too. Dr . Gibbons is challenging all of us to think not only about how broadband-enabled health technologies can assist the sick, but also how technology can transform the understanding of health itself and of the way we can stay healthy. The FCC is usually committed to doing its part to produce these advances possible.

When he’s not at the FCC, Dr . Gibbons wears many caps, including associate director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute plus assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins’ Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Read more about him here:

We are extremely fortunate to have access to Dr . Gibbons’ expertise. Welcome to the FCC, Philip! Stay tuned for an inaugural blogpost from Dr . Gibbons on broadband’s fantastic promise in helping our nation meet the health and care challenges we face.