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Author Archive

A National Broadband Clearinghouse

October 14th, 2009 by Matt Warner

Matt Warner OIIt's not just the FCC that's interested in figuring out the best way to use and deploy broadband.   We've learned that lots of organizations: towns and cities, state governments, small businesses, non-profits, and others are also looking at the question. Several parties have suggested that an online clearinghouse of broadband data and best practices would make it much easier for everyone to get this information easily.  Indeed, the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services has already launched its own clearinghouse at www.BroadbandBestPractices.org that provides an inventory of broadband projects, programs and best practices.  We welcome this contribution.   To continue the discussion about the idea of a broadband clearinghouse, the Commission has released a Public Notice seeking comment about the what, who, and how: What should the clearinghouse contain? Who is the intended audience? Who should maintain or edit the clearinghouse? And how should the clearinghouse be designed to maximize its potential benefit? Please read the Public Notice and file comments using either ECFS Express or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file.  Note that your comments pertain to Public Notice #10.  Or, you can post comments on this blog.  Your comments will be included in the record for the National Broadband Plan

Public Safety and Homeland Security

October 7th, 2009 by Matt Warner

Matt Warner OIWe recently released a Public Notice (PN) seeking comment regarding Public Safety and Homeland Security matters.  The PN sought comment in four areas-Public Safety Mobile Wireless Broadband Networks, Next Generation 911 (NG911), Cybersecurity, and Alerting-as each of these poses unique challenges for keeping our Nation safe.  Some of the representative questions and comment requests include:

  • Public Safety Mobile Wireless Broadband Networks: We seek comment on the specific network features and anticipated architecture that will allow the broadband network to operate seamlessly with disaster recovery capabilities nationwide, and the kind of connectivity needed with legacy and other commercial networks
  • Next Generation 911 (NG911): Are there regulatory roadblocks that may be restricting more vigorous NG 911 deployment?  Which of these are within the Commission's jurisdiction and what actions should the Commission take in this regard?
  • Cyber security: What type of computer-based attacks against government or commercial computer systems or networks (i.e. cyber attacks) are occurring or are anticipated to occur, and what are other federal agencies, commercial, and other entities doing to prevent, detect and respond to cyber attacks?
  • Alerting: To what extent are broadband technologies currently being used as part of public emergency alert and warning systems?  Please provide specific descriptions of their use as part of these systems, including system capabilities and limitations and examples of jurisdictions where such systems are currently in use.

Help us keep America safe by sending us your comments.  Please read the PN and file comments using either ECFS Express or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file.  Please note that your comments are responding to Public Notice #9.

Opportunities For Disadvantaged Businesses

October 6th, 2009 by Matt Warner

Matt Warner OISmall and disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) - small entities and women- and minority-owned businesses-employ millions of Americans and produce goods that often shape the identity of our nation's localities.  Broadband can do much for SDBs.  For instance, on Amazon, eBay, and their own respective web sites, SDBs can upload bandwidth-hungry images and video that can help them sell their products internationally.  And, using Monster.com, businesses can find the right person for the job by quickly sifting through a large pool of resumes.  We know that finding buyers and new hires are made easier with the vast reach of the Internet via a broadband connection.  But there is still a lot more that we need to know.

Overall, small businesses are important to the economy, accounting for over 60% of all new jobs. And minority-owned firms are growing four times faster than all U.S. firms, accounting for over 50% of the 2 million businesses started in the U.S. Given the importance of SDBs and the impact that broadband can have on these businesses, we released a Public Notice (PN) asking questions about the impact of broadband on SDBs to that their needs are met by the National Broadband Plan.  What obstacles prevent SBDs from taking advantage of broadband technology? Lack of availability?  Cost?  Digital literacy or social and cultural considerations?  How can businesses improve their operations with broadband, especially those that don't traditionally rely on it, such as car repair, dry-cleaners, bodega owners, etc.  What data exists about the impact of broadband in job creation, productivy and more in SBDs.  If there are success stories and best practices regarding SDB broadband use, then such examples could help us share ideas to make all SDBs better while providing us with success stories that we could name and use.  If we are provided data on the economic impact of various types of broadband on SDBs, then we could better know where to dedicate resources for the fiscal health of the Nation.

Please read the PN and file comments using either ECFS Express or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file.  Please note that your comments are responding to Public Notice #9.

E-Government

September 30th, 2009 by Matt Warner

Matt Warner OIAt the E-government Broadband Workshop, former Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Graham Richard showed how digital solutions can make city government more efficient and more accessible.  For instance, when the city was considering adding to its fleet of street sweepers, it first installed a wireless tracking device on existing sweepers to see if they were being used efficiently.  They weren't.  Using information from the wireless monitoring, the city was able to create routes that were much more efficient, saving the city the cost of purchasing another truck and the staff to run it.

A Public Notice (PN) we are releasing seeks more information about how government at all levels have used or could use broadband and digital solutions to provide more efficient and more transparent government.  As illustrated by the example from Fort Wayne, Indiana, we recognize that there are likely many useful ideas for more efficient and effective government.  We need to know about them generally (e.g., what are the primary needs that broadband and digital solutions can help address in federal, state, tribal and local government).  And we need to know about the specific programs that have been implemented by governments and where these initiatives have succeeded and failed.

The broadband and digital solutions implemented now are just the beginning.  This PN will hopefully help us make broadband and digital solutions more accessible to all levels of government.  After reading the Public Notice, you can file comments using the short comment form in our Electronic Comment Filing System.  Please title comments responsive to this Notice as "Comments - NBP Public Notice # 7.  Or you can use our standard submission page if you need to attach a file.  You can also comment on this blog post.  Your posts will be included in the record.

Virtually There? The Telework Public Notice

September 4th, 2009 by Matt Warner

Telework isn't just about providing a benefit to employees.  Rather, telework seems to benefit workers, employers, and society as a whole.  Case studies from the Government Accountability Office and the Patent and Trademark Office suggest that telework provides needed flexibility for an organization and its staff in emergencies while being greener for the environment.  Despite these and other potential advantages of telework and broadband's ever-expanding ability to make work geographically irrelevant, not being physically "there" may not yet be societally "there."

A Public Notice (PN) we are releasing today explores the potentially transformative aspect of broadband and telework for the purposes of the National Broadband Plan.  Before we carve out national policy, however, we need more information:  What empirical evidence exists to suggest that going from dial-up to broadband fundamentally changes the nature of telework?  What are the advantages of telework based on the data?  What are the barriers impeding telework programs from more ubiquitous acceptance and success?  Going forward, how could broadband change telework?  Answers to these questions and others raised in the PN are important to guide our focus and plan for telework in the overarching broadband plan.  Please read the PN and file comments using either ECFS Express or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file.  Please note that your comments are responding to Public Notice #3.



Capture The Phone Numbers Using Your Camera Phone

If you have a camera and a 2D matrix code reader on your mobile phone, you can capture the FCC Phone numbers right to your phone by following these three easy steps:
Step 1: Take a photograph of one of the codes below using the camera on your mobile phone.
Step 2: Use your phone's Datamatrix or QR Code reader to decode the information on the photograph. Please note, these code readers are device specific and are available to download on the internet.
Step 3: Store the decoded address information to your phone's address book and use it with your Maps or GPS application.

Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones