Posts Taged wireless-spectrum

FCC Prepares for the Future By Opening Technology Experience Center

fcctech

Today the FCC Chairman unveiled the technology experience center today in DC. On their website they speak to why this is important.

“This Wednesday, July 13th, Chairman Julius Genachowski will host the grand opening of the FCC’s Technology Experience Center at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. This unique center is an innovative resource for all FCC employees and visitors to engage directly with the latest technologies, which the agency accepts as donations.  Each month, we will focus a portion of the technologies around a specific theme.”

It’s encouraging to see the “eat their own dogfood” in tech terms by experiencing first hand how mobile broadband has and will continue to transform everyday life. The center will also be open to visitors which will also allow them to see how people interact with the technology. My hope is this will confirm for  them even more  that wireless broadband is needed for everyone.

Why We Will Lose If AT&T/T-Mobile Merger fails

Losing

There has been a lot of chatter from groups like Public knowledge and freepress telling you to vote against the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. They say that the t-mobile customers will benefit from that company not being acquired and that it’s in their best interest. They use the  fear of losing current pricing as a way to create anxiety and sway opinion. But never really lay out the reality of what is going with the business and how what happens will truly affect you. So instead of the speculation and misdirection that these groups put in front of you, here are some clear facts about what will and will not happen if this merger does not go through.

  • T-Mobile will benefit if the merger is rejected: False T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom  will get that money , not T-Mobile directly. read it here : http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/13/us-deutschetelkom-att-idUSTRE74C5XJ20110513
  • T-Mobile’s parent company will reinvest the break up money into T-Mobile :False The company’s CEO made it clear that their plans do not include any investments outside of Europe.  “Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann has made it clear that creating a presence in emerging markets outside of Europe is not part of the company’s strategy going forward” That means T-mobile will not benefit from any of those funds. http://www.fiercewireless.com/europe/story/deutsche-telekom-reveals-spending-plans-att-cash/2011-05-13#ixzz1MWkjcsNK
  • T-Mobile does not need the merger: False The company is currently struggling and without an acquisition of some kind it will fail. “ T-Mobile suffered a net loss of 99,000 subscribers during the latest quarter, and its net income fell to $135 million, down dramatically from $362 million during the first quarter of 2010″ http://gigaom.com/mobile/what-t-mobile-could-do-if-the-att-acquisition-fails-2/

So there you have just a few of data points to view. And if you are feeling skeptical that’s fine, feel to click on the links above that show you the facts you need to know. So despite what you have been hearing. If the merger loses, T-Mobile customers really lose.

Spectrum of Solutions Abound for Wireless Adoption

Toward the end of last year, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a study saying that African Americans and Hispanics were among the highest users of wireless Internet. During his State of the Union address, President Obama shared his vision of connecting 95% of Americans with high-speed 4G wireless broadband.  And over the past few months, broadcasters and Internet Service Providers have been in discussions with the Federal Communications Commission about the impending spectrum shortage and how best to accommodate the increasing demand for wireless Internet access.

It’s clear that wireless is the hot ticket in town when it comes to getting folks online.  But what surprises me about some of the discussions of late is the seeming lack of focus on what’s best for the consumer, the end-user of wireless technologies. Broadcasters are up in arms because they’re afraid of sacrificing their much-coveted (but often unused) spectrum. ISPs insist that more spectrum must be acquired in order to meet consumer demands for faster speeds and more reliable service.  So why not compromise, because it seems to me that the consumers’ interest lies between the two.

Study after study has shown that wireless access is rapidly becoming the preferred mode of connecting to the Internet, especially for younger people, folks living on fixed incomes, and people who are from traditionally unserved and underserved communities.  If we know that by getting these folks wireless access, we can practically ensure their adoption of broadband – that technology that’s so vital to our 21st century innovation economy – then what’s the hold up?

Should broadcasters play nice with their spectrum – yes! Can they be compensated to play the game – sure why not. Do we want ISPs to more efficiently manage traffic online so that we can have the best user experience possible – definitely. Ought getting spectrum (i.e. better, stronger, faster networks) to the people be a top priority – absolutely!

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And a whole spectrum of solutions abound when it comes to solving the wireless adoption equation.

The Black Caucus Steps In To Fight For Digital Equality

The AT&T merger has been the talk of the Internet since it was announced. Groups like Free Press immediately jumped in (which was no surprise) to make claims that this merger will bring the end of competition but if you have seen the sprint commercials lately you realize that it’s having the opposite effect. The one huge positive about this deal that no one seems to be highlighting is what this means for connecting minorities and people in rural areas to the Internet. The problem is highlighted in inner cities on a regular basis. for example an article in the sun times quotes ” A 2009 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Iowa found that 40 percent of all Chicagoans have little or no Internet access. Surveys showed that one in four Chicagoans are completely offline and another 15 percent have limited access.”
The same article highlights that the Black Caucus sees that void and is getting involved to make sure that needs of African Americans are served. By this group being involved and pushing the to make sure things like free or reduced-rate Internet access is available for the digitally disadvantaged. With this group pushing for the interest of their constituents and the end to end coverage in places like Mississippi, S. Carolina, Michigan and West Virginia. So while you hear some groups make “claims” that this deal is bad for everyone. The “reality” is that benefits are real for minorities and groups like the black caucus are making sure we get the equality we have been longing for.

CES 2011 Proved One Thing to Be True: The Future Depends on Wireless

One word sums up the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that commenced last week in Las Vegas, showcasing the future of consumer technologies: Wireless. With devices of all shapes and sizes making their debut on the show floor, it was obvious to anyone walking the booths that the majority of the new products include a component of wireless technology. As our world becomes more and more reliant on new offerings that depend on mobile technology, it is important to remember that such products are only made possible by the “invisible infrastructure,” on which they depend, as FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski so properly phrased it during a speech at the show.

It sometimes becomes easy to forget the connection between public policy decisions, innovations in the labs, and end-user, consumer electronics that we buy in the store or purchase online. When thinking about the coolest new product for the holidays, for example, one does not think about where and why it was developed and how it is able to function. Over the past year, I have been actively engaged on Internet regulatory issues because of their significant impact on our everyday lives and the impact that such decisions could have on the enrichment potential of many Americans, particularly those living in underserved communities. I think that even policymakers themselves sometimes get lost in debates that don’t have tangible results, but that is precisely what was on display at CES last week.

All aspects of the technology industry converge at events such as CES, where attendees, decisions makers, the media and a variety of businesses and corporations get to prominently see the direction in which our digital society is moving.

While many didn’t attend the public policy panels taking place off the show floor (wouldn’t you rather be checking out LG’s newest “smart” appliances for the home, or testing out Motorola’s new Xoom tablet), those that did were able to connect Washington decisions to the broad technology industry, its explosive innovation and unending consumer offerings. 3D TVs continued to be featured, new smartphones were unveiled, most compatible for the commercial release of 4G networks coming this year from multiple providers, and front and center were the new tablets rolling out to compete with the ever-so-popular iPad.

The massive amount of products competing for consumer attention was apparent, and after seeing all of the new handsets, tablets, e-readers and devices being released this year, competition in the wireless industry is higher than ever, which is great news for consumers. First, you get more choices, more cool products being released that offer dynamic new capabilities, second, such competition should actually drive down the cost of both services and devices, such as smartphones. Providers are offering differing plans at lower costs, making access more affordable.  For someone who doesn’t even have a mobile device with Internet capabilities, but cannot afford to pay $30 per month for data, new plans are popping up as low as $15. That is half of the cost. Why?  Because all of the wireless companies are competing for our business, and in turn this creates new business offerings that help the consumer. To me, the more Americans who can afford to access mobile Internet, the better.  More access, means more opportunities, which translates into economic, social, healthcare, educational and many other paths to bettering oneself and fully engaging in society.

This continues to remain an issue with me because  as Pew data from 2010 found, African-Americans represent the community with the highest mobile broadband adoption rates. Many households don’t have hardware or broadband internet in the home, making wireless devices the primary means in which they connect to high-speed internet.  However, for all of these wireless capabilities, more Spectrum, what Genachowski refers to as the “invisible infrastructure” of the wireless Internet, needs to be unleashed. Luckily, I think this is a point on which many sides agree. The question becomes, how and in which way new Spectrum is made available, as our society increases demands for bandwidth running over wireless networks.

What alot of people don’t realize is that the wireless future is reliant on how Washington acts over the next year. Without smart policy decisions, the massive amounts of new consumer offerings as displayed on the CES show floor would not be possible. While new and upgraded network evolution is occurring – just look at all of the providers rolling out 4G networks, such as LTE and WIMAX in 2011 – sustainable use of mobile broadband is not possible without more Spectrum, in turn limiting the opportunities, innovation and tools provided by wireless technologies.

1,800 Days Is Not As Far Away As You Think

Five years seem like a long time away, especially in days when everyone seems to be focused on the next election (which is a really important one), or the next football game, or a favorite TV program  (I’ll confess, I’m waiting for the next episode of “Lie To Me.”)   But we better start acting like it is approaching quickly. Think about how as all those events come and go, how much we call, search, text, and tweet about them over our mobile devices. It’s become a part of everything we do and how we experience those big events in the world.

Thankfully, the Federal Communications Commission recgonizes that fact, and the FCC’s new study  wants makes sure everyone understands the risks of ignoring  that growth and the issues as well as the societal and economic benefits of ensuring that communication can continue to flourish and there is enough wireless spectrum available. They also show some ideas on how to achieve success.

Consider this: Estimates are, in about 1,800 days it is likely that mobile data demand will exhaust spectrum resources.  The new report estimates that mobile broadband traffic will increase by 35 times the amount of recent levels. Spectrum is the “oxygen of our mobile communications infrastructure,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.  The value of this exploding spectrum market is about $120 billion in the next five years.

These are the topics that I want to see get more attention. We need to focus on the things that will have a real affect on our future. Spending time on things such as Net Neutrality, keeps their focus away from issues like this that will clearly effect our future –  because 1800 days will pass before you know it!

The full FCCstudy can be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db1021/DOC-302324A1.pdf
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