Federal Communications Commission

Support for the National Broadband Plan’s Working Recommendations

February 22nd, 2010 by Phoebe Yang - Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Broadband

We’re getting positive comments as we roll out some of the working recommendations in the National Broadband Plan.  A number of statements of support came in response to our presentation to the Commission last week on the section of the plan that will address how broadband can help the nation address key priorities: job creation and economic development, healthcare, education, energy and the environment, government, public safety and homeland security.  Here is a sampling:

From Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, regarding a recommendation in the plan for E-Rate reform already adopted by the Commission:

“This is a win-win for the community and for our schools. The FCC’s ruling will increase broadband access in the community, building rapport between schools and community groups, and giving more people access to high-speed Internet. We have seen time and again that the Internet is a powerful engine for expanding opportunities for people. Some of our schools want the flexibility to allow the community to access the Internet, and this will deliver. If we want to invest in our future, enabling the E-rate program to serve more people is a good way to go.”

From Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming  and the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment:

“As the author of the requirement in the Recovery Act tasking the FCC to develop a National Broadband Plan for our country, I am heartened by today’s preview.  The outline announced today suggests that the Commission is on track to fulfill the mandate that I wrote by producing a bold, future-focused, strategy for broadband deployment and adoption in our country.

“The Plan will also call on utilities, localities and states to voluntarily give consumers and consumer-authorized third parties access to real-time energy information in standardized formats. This will open up a whole new world of energy apps to help homeowners unlock the potential in their homes and electric cars to meet their energy needs. I intend to draft legislation that ensures that utilities in all states allow their customers to authorize third parties to get access to the data needed to support the development of these new smart grid applications, while ensuring that the appropriate privacy and security measures are in place.”

From Greg Brown, Co-CEO, Motorola, Inc.:

“Motorola is pleased that Chairman Genachowski has made public safety communications a high priority and is including the broadband needs of the public safety community in the National Broadband Plan. Public Safety must have the resources necessary to deploy and operate a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network capable of meeting the unique needs of first responders.  Motorola shares the Chairman’s commitment to ensuring that public safety has the advanced technologies it requires and an interoperable network that is vital for mission critical operations.”

From Todd Finnell, CEO, California K-12 High Speed Network:

“We believe strongly that the working recommendations provided in the National Broadband Plan will support our goals in bringing 21st century resources to students through broadband initiatives. The framework for these recommendations is in direct support of our vision and plan for California.”

From Douglas Levin, Executive Direction, SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association):

"We welcome the release of the forward-looking working recommendations of the National Broadband Plan, which highlight the growing demand for and use of broadband for education.  Ensuring high-speed broadband access for all students is a critical national issue and foundational to realizing our national education reform and improvement goals.  We know teachers and students need high-speed broadband access in their schools to take advantage of a wide range of new and rich educational tools and resources.  Teachers need high-speed broadband access for professional development, to engage in professional learning communities, and to access statewide education portals, digital instructional materials and open educational resources.  Administrators need high-speed broadband access to conduct online assessments and to access data for effective decision making.  And students need high-speed broadband to access learning anytime, anywhere and to overcome the lack of educational opportunity in rural and at-risk communities.  We look forward to working with the FCC, Congress and the Administration to moving from dialogue about these recommendations to concrete actions and programs to benefit all students.”

From Kyle McSlarrow, President & CEO, NCTA (National Cable& Telecommunications Association):

“The FCC’s broadband team deserves enormous credit for their effort to identify key national priorities and achievable goals that will improve America’s economic welfare and enhance basic government and societal services that millions of citizens rely on.  The key challenges and opportunities outlined today all recognize how critical broadband is and will continue to be to ensure the U.S. remains competitive in key economic and societal sectors.  As the nation’s leading broadband provider, our industry will continue to do its part to provide an increasingly robust broadband network that will help accomplish many of the FCC’s stated goals.”

From Blackboard:

“Blackboard commends the FCC’s efforts to provide equal access to and continuity of education through ensuring universal access to broadband services. We support the framework presented by the National Purposes Team in the economic opportunity section of today’s presentation. The recognition of the clear benefits of an e-learning platform to deliver job services and job training is critical. Working adults and displaced workers have tremendous opportunities for employment advancement via online diplomas and degrees offered by Career College Association schools who serve their demographic.”

From Cameron Brooks, Senior Director, Market Development and Policy Strategy, Tendril:

"We are very encouraged by the leadership that the FCC is displaying with regard to the benefits that broadband can support with regard to energy.  Modernizing the electric grid will benefit all Americans by enabling greater energy efficiency, renewable energy and deployment of electric vehicles. As we described in testimony before the Commission, we believe that widespread broadband deployment with policies that encourage open access to information will serve as a powerful foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship."

From Rick Counihan, Vice President Regulatory Affairs-Western Region, EnerNOC, Inc.:

“Access to consumption data in near-real time provides the raw material that entrepreneurs and developers can build applications around, both those we can conceive of now and others we have not thought of.  If all data has to go back to the utility, be scrubbed and then becomes available hours later it will stifle innovation and competition.”

From Richard Mirgon, President, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International:

“APCO International applauds the Commission’s public safety focus and also supports the creation of an entity such as an Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC) as was briefly discussed at the FCC’s meeting, though many important issues must still be resolved.  APCO International looks forward to participating in ERIC and working with the Commission to enhance public safety communications capabilities. We also continue to urge Congress to reallocate the D Block to public safety, as we believe this would be the most effective way to develop a national public safety interoperable broadband network.”

From George Heinrichs, President, Intrado:

 “The Commission’s action to include next generation 9-1-1 in the National Broadband Plan brings this country one step closer to getting a 9-1-1 system that meets the needs of all citizens - a step that will certainly save more lives.”

From Brian Fontes, CEO, National Emergency Number Association:

 “NENA applauds the FCC for its commitment to addressing 9-1-1 and public safety communications in the National Broadband Plan. It is clear from today’s presentation that the recommendations in the Plan will appropriately emphasize the critically important role that broadband will play in the next generation of 9-1-1 and emergency communications systems. Chief Barnett and the dedicated staff of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau are to be commended for their efforts.

As NENA has consistently said in our comments to the Commission, it is essential that the National Broadband Plan include recommendations designed to facilitate the transition of our nation’s 9-1-1 and emergency communications systems to broadband-enabled, IP-based platforms. It appears that the Plan will do just that. In particular, we strongly support the focus on Next Generation 9-1-1 and the establishment of a nationwide public safety wireless broadband network (including an Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC)). We also appreciate the explicit recognition of the critical need for funding to meet all of public safety’s broadband needs. We look forward to working with the Commission, Congress and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the Plan’s important recommendations.”

From Christopher Libertelli, Senior Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Americas, Skype:

“The FCC's National Broadband Plan is a historic opportunity to rethink what kind of communications and innovation policy will best serve American consumers. While this is no small task, the Omnibus Broadband Initiative team at the FCC, led by Blair Levin, is more than equal to it. The recommendations presented today demonstrate how innovative applications and robust broadband networks will enable the delivery of high-quality healthcare, world-class education, more opportunities for civic engagement and a better quality of life to consumers. Plus, these recommendations remain grounded in Congress' key goal of creating a policy environment that fosters innovation and investment to preserve America's competitive advantage in these strategic areas.”

From Thom Ruhe, Director of Entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation:

“A national broadband policy that recognizes the tremendous societal benefit that can be served by focusing on increased access and less barriers to entry is welcome. Broadband and communications technology can only help in the birthing and growth of new ventures, which are the sole source of all net job gains today. Increasing access to educational resources, mentoring, and funding, are likewise helping launch new firms. A cogent national broadband policy can accelerate these activities at this critical time in our economic recovery.”

From Dan Delurey, President, Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG):

“Key to getting the benefits of the smart grid investments that federal and state policymakers are approving is to put the smart grid into action.  One of the best ways to do that is to use smart grid technology to get consumers information about electricity usage – information that they have never had before -- in a timely easy-to-understand manner.  Evidence shows that when customers get such information they will react to it, take action, and become more energy efficient overall.  The Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition believes that this will not only help optimize the grid, but will also help address climate change.  We are pleased to see the FCC trying to help make this happen.”

From Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, Director, Clinical Informatics R&D, and Chairman – Center for IT Leadership, Partners Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School:

“The FCC team has performed a terrific analysis on the adoption of broadband to support healthcare, and health IT. To achieve connected, continuous, and capable care we need to fully wire this country down to the last mile wherever healthcare, and healthcare decision-making, is happening — that it is, everywhere.”

From Rick Miller, Deputy Superintendent for California Department of Education:

"The FCC's recommendations will help improve students’ access to technology."

From Katherine Hamilton, President, GridWise Alliance:

"The GridWise Alliance has been pleased by the FCC’s efforts to reach out to a broad array of stakeholders to inform the development of their plan. The Alliance agrees that any smart grid communications policy should be open and allow all technologies to participate in the market. The Alliance recognizes that with increased digital data on the electric grid, the industry may need to develop best practices around data privacy and grid security. The FCC and GridWise Alliance both see smart grid as a digital overlay of the electric grid that allows for a variety of technology applications depending on the needs of the system and its consumers. We are hopeful that when the final plan is released it will recognize the ability for all technologies, all stakeholders, and all regions to fully participate in the innovation opportunities of a smarter grid.”

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