FCC Broadband Plan – Breaking It Down

Published by:

FCC Broadband Plan - Breaking It Down

The FCC’s NOI lists hundreds of questions and areas of investigation considered by the FCC to support the development of a nationwide broadband strategy.

The scope of the questions offered in the NOI are breath taking.  Even the discussion of how to define broadband is complex.  As a first step the questions,

…the Commission currently uses the terms “advanced telecommunications capability,” “broadband,” and “high-speed Internet.” Should these definitions be unified, or should they have separate meanings for different purposes, keeping in mind that current and future broadband platforms will increasingly support “high-speed Internet” as one of several offered services including voice, video, private data applications, and the like?

and these

…should a different set of standards be used to identify mobile broadband services which allow mobility or portability but may have lower throughputs – and fixed broadband services? Should the definitions vary depending on whether the broadband service is used to serve residential or business customers and if so, how?

hint the complexity of ensuring semantic precision as required for rule making or regulation. Most of us have a shared understanding based upon common knowledge or perhaps marketing definitions of what is meant by broadband or high-speed Internet.  Of course, no one will go to court over the phrases used in various articles or conservations.

The Plan lists 12 policy goals of a national strategy.

  1. Advancing Consumer Welfare
  2. Civic Participation
  3. Public Safety and Homeland Securtiy
  4. Community Development
  5. Health Care Delivery
  6. Energy Independence and Efficiency
  7. Education
  8. Worker Training
  9. Private Sector Investment
  10. Entrepreneurial Activity
  11. Job Creation and Economic Growth
  12. Other National Purposes

Beyond the policy goals the NOI addresses various network technologies including  satellite, WiMAX, LTE, and fiber along with the availability of the new white spaces spectrum.  The focus of questions concerning specific technologies and this new spectrum availability is the role these networks can play in “ensuring access” to broadband for rural areas or areas where competition is limited.

The FCC also announces in the NOI plans for a comprehensive data collection effort to assess the true availability of broadband in the US. Previous and current data relies upon service providers to provide the FCC with self-determined metrics on the availability of broadband and high-speed Internet access. The methods used by ISPs to measure access has come under fire from a number of consumer and public interest groups.  It is critical that astroturf organizations like Connected Nation are balanced by response and data efforts which are independent. Connected Nation is campaigning through the comments process at both the FCC and the NTIA which is responsible for a large portion of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus outlay.

There are so many areas to contribute through the FCC’s comment process that everyone – especially those in the technology industry and the new media industry must participate.  Independents and entrepreneurs have a direct stake in helping the FCC meet it’s goals to provide Congress with a National Broadband Plan that recognizes new economic realities of innovation coming from the network’s edge rather than just being broadcast out to the edge. The Plan recognizes this in part by covering “Entrepreneurial Activity as one of the commission’s policy goals.

Below are examples of comments to the FCC.  Simple position statements like “We must have Net Neutrality” while can achieve weight is received from tens of thousands of individuals likely wouldn’t receive the same level of attention and consideration from the commissioners as a thoughtful and substantive response.  This point was made clear in a recent interview with Kevin Werbach who has been a recipient of these communications when he served at the FCC in the mid 1990s.

The full interview with Werbach will be posted as a podcast on mobilejones.com this weekend.  Other interviews are also coming from those with a unique perspective on the importance of the FCC’s work to establish the National Broadband Plan.

FCC Comment

Organization: New America Foundation

Leadership:  Eric Schmidt, CEO Google

Comments on Rural Broadband Strategy

FCC Comment

Organization: Connected Nation

Leadership: ATT, National Cable and Telecommunications Assoc., CTIA – The Wireless Assoc., United States Telecom Assoc., Verizon, Comcast and others.

FCC Broadband Plan – Breaking It Down

Published by:

FCC Broadband Plan - Breaking It Down

The FCC’s NOI lists hundreds of questions and areas of investigation considered by the FCC to support the development of a nationwide broadband strategy.

The scope of the questions offered in the NOI are breath taking.  Even the discussion of how to define broadband is complex.  As a first step the questions,

…the Commission currently uses the terms “advanced telecommunications capability,” “broadband,” and “high-speed Internet.” Should these definitions be unified, or should they have separate meanings for different purposes, keeping in mind that current and future broadband platforms will increasingly support “high-speed Internet” as one of several offered services including voice, video, private data applications, and the like?

and these

…should a different set of standards be used to identify mobile broadband services which allow mobility or portability but may have lower throughputs – and fixed broadband services? Should the definitions vary depending on whether the broadband service is used to serve residential or business customers and if so, how?

hint the complexity of ensuring semantic precision as required for rule making or regulation. Most of us have a shared understanding based upon common knowledge or perhaps marketing definitions of what is meant by broadband or high-speed Internet.  Of course, no one will go to court over the phrases used in various articles or conservations.

The Plan lists 12 policy goals of a national strategy.

  1. Advancing Consumer Welfare
  2. Civic Participation
  3. Public Safety and Homeland Securtiy
  4. Community Development
  5. Health Care Delivery
  6. Energy Independence and Efficiency
  7. Education
  8. Worker Training
  9. Private Sector Investment
  10. Entrepreneurial Activity
  11. Job Creation and Economic Growth
  12. Other National Purposes

Beyond the policy goals the NOI addresses various network technologies including  satellite, WiMAX, LTE, and fiber along with the availability of the new white spaces spectrum.  The focus of questions concerning specific technologies and this new spectrum availability is the role these networks can play in “ensuring access” to broadband for rural areas or areas where competition is limited.

The FCC also announces in the NOI plans for a comprehensive data collection effort to assess the true availability of broadband in the US. Previous and current data relies upon service providers to provide the FCC with self-determined metrics on the availability of broadband and high-speed Internet access. The methods used by ISPs to measure access has come under fire from a number of consumer and public interest groups.  It is critical that astroturf organizations like Connected Nation are balanced by response and data efforts which are independent. Connected Nation is campaigning through the comments process at both the FCC and the NTIA which is responsible for a large portion of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus outlay.

There are so many areas to contribute through the FCC’s comment process that everyone – especially those in the technology industry and the new media industry must participate.  Independents and entrepreneurs have a direct stake in helping the FCC meet it’s goals to provide Congress with a National Broadband Plan that recognizes new economic realities of innovation coming from the network’s edge rather than just being broadcast out to the edge. The Plan recognizes this in part by covering “Entrepreneurial Activity as one of the commission’s policy goals.

Below are examples of comments to the FCC.  Simple position statements like “We must have Net Neutrality” while can achieve weight is received from tens of thousands of individuals likely wouldn’t receive the same level of attention and consideration from the commissioners as a thoughtful and substantive response.  This point was made clear in a recent interview with Kevin Werbach who has been a recipient of these communications when he served at the FCC in the mid 1990s.

The full interview with Werbach will be posted as a podcast on mobilejones.com this weekend.  Other interviews are also coming from those with a unique perspective on the importance of the FCC’s work to establish the National Broadband Plan.

FCC Comment

Organization: New America Foundation

Leadership:  Eric Schmidt, CEO Google

Comments on Rural Broadband Strategy

FCC Comment

Organization: Connected Nation

Leadership: ATT, National Cable and Telecommunications Assoc., CTIA – The Wireless Assoc., United States Telecom Assoc., Verizon, Comcast and others.

A Call to Action! – FCC Broadband Plan

Published by:

A Call to Action! - FCC Broadband Plan

A plan is underway in the halls of the FCC that will impact your ability to participate in our democracy, to be educated and to earn a living. The FCC received direction from Congress through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the Stimulus Bill, to create a national strategy for broadband and to ensure access and adoption of broadband across the United States.

The FCC released on April 8, 2009 a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) for public comment on The National Broadband Plan (NBP).  This NOI sets the issues to be considered and areas where the FCC is seeking input from industry, state and local governments, international resources, technology experts, policy experts and the public.

The Commission needs the help of a wide and deep set of views to answer questions ranging from,

  • “whether a definition of “broadband” should be tethered to a numerical definition or, instead, an “experiential” metric based on the consumer’s ability to access sufficiently robust data for certain identifiable broadband services…”
  • to “We seek comment on the value of open networks as an effective and efficient mechanism for ensuring broadband access for all Americans, and specifically on how the term “open” should be defined…”
  • to “We seek comment on whether subsidizing the recurring subscription cost for broadband service, or subsidizing the fixed costs of obtaining computer equipment could address the affordability of broadband for all Americans…”.

Other areas of comment include Public Saftey and Homeland Security, Delivery of Health Care, Worker Training, Entreprenuerial Activity, Venture Capital, and Improving Government Accountability.

The scope of NBP touches every aspect of public and private endeavor, and therefore, every American.

Those coming under FCC regulations including Internet service providers, radio, television, cable companies and wireless service providers are guaranteed to engage on the areas of defining broadband, service requirements, pricing, deep packet inspection, nondiscrimination, competition and consumer welfare.  Regulations on broadband directly impact their businesses and profits.  In addition, these entities have an advantage in that they know the FCC, it’s processes and it members.

It is, therefore, critical that the public adds it’s comments on the digital divide, affordability, open networks, and even non-discrimination of network traffic as doing so ensures consideration by the commission of the public interest and needs for communication, media consumption and creation and even the ability to participate in government.

What’s at Stake?

Broadband is currently defined as 768 kbps as either download or upload which will prove insufficient when measured against the demands as more media moves from print to online, gaming and simulations become more sophisticated and software and services move into the cloud.

The US has failed to keep pace with the rest of the world on broadband deployment, speed and price. Eight years ago the US was ranked 4th as compared to other nations. Today the US ranks 15th, 17th or even 22nd depending on the source.

The chart below shows where the US stood in comparison to other countries as of May 2008. Relying upon deregulation and the private sector alone hasn’t served Americans well as compared with Japan and Korea where deployments are primarily fiber.

usbbrank

Recent attempts by service providers like Time Warner Cable and ATT to limit usage through the implementation of data caps, and the industry wide practice of wireless providers to cap data usage on so-called unlimited plans provides the evidence for how consumer needs can be at cross purposes to the profit goals of broadband providers. As noted in TWC SEC filing, their goal was to move their customers up the usage pricing tiers quickly, but what effect does such strategy have on unemployed Americans who want and need to create an online presence for their job search? What effect does TWC stratgey have on lower middle class and the poor? What effect does this sort of strategy have on our government’s push to engage the public via video on issues and accountability?

Our economic future is inextricably tied to our access to broadband Internet connections.  The US economy no longer relies upon a manufacturing base, and more Americans are relying upon the Internet for their income. Whether you work for a technology company that provides services via the network like Microsoft, Apple and Google, or you are a a new media star on YouTube, the ability to interact with your customers online and grow that customer base online makes broad availability of broadband critical to your survival.

The vast increase of video consumption and creation for communication, education and even health delivery punctuates the demand for broadband.  Congressional requirement that the FCC create a national strategy recognizes this fundamental shift in our economic future.  Some estimates have stated video accounts for 70% of all Internet traffic.

Video information resources available via the Internet include resources and points of view not represented in other forms of media.  As printed new outlets are shrinking, online news outlets are exploding. Our ability to be informed citizens is becoming more and more reliant upon access to a diverse and variety of news sources that populate the Internet. A great example is provided by current FCC Interim Chairman, Michael Copps during an interview with Bill Moyers from a 2007 discussion on media consolidation and Net Neutrality.

“There was a consolidation hearing in a town with alot of media consolidation, I think it was in Arizona, and nothing had been reported about our coming. We had 500 people show up. So I went down there. I went down there and asked, how did you find out about this meeting? And one of them replied, I heard about it on the B-B-C.”

moyers_copps

Viewing the full video is highly recommended as many of the concerns Copps expresses on media consolidation and Net Neutrality are inherent in a national broadband strategy that should serve the public interest. Your comments can help the FCC understand the issues and needs from school teachers, students, technology experts, health care workers, online marketing consultants, YouTube stars, bloggers, IT workers, job seekers, charities, and everyone in between, even twitterers.

I encourage everyone to email FCC Interim Chairman Michael Copps at michael.copps@fcc.gov and request public hearings around the country before the June 8, 2009 dealine for comments. This will help ensure participation from those who are currently on the underserved side of the digital divide, and from those who  have valuable contributions to make to the issues of a broadband strategy technology needs.

A copy of the hundreds of questions the FCC faces and on which they have requested  input is avialable in The National Broadband Plan NOI.  Comments can be submitted via e-mail by following the instructions on the FCC web site under Electronic Comment Filing System. Scrolling down the page you’ll find examples of the form required to submit your comment. An important note is that comments must be submitted in plain text, so do not send HTML formatted email as the system may reject your entry. A call to the FCC Help Desk to clarify this issue at (202) 418-0193 was not returned at the time of publication of this article. When clarification is received, and update will be included.

What you Can do Now

  1. Read the NOI
  2. Submit Comments to the FCC
  3. Call your Senator and support confimration for Julius Genakowski as FCC Chairman
  4. Join the FriendFeed group and join the conversation here in comments below.
  5. Return here to mobilejones.com – I’ll post audio interviews from a number of stakeholders and those involved more directly in policy making on this issue.

Time Warner Targets North Carolina in War on Consumer Broadband

Published by:

Time Warner Targets North Carolina in War on Consumer Broadband

Time Warner Cable has decided to place North Carolina on the frontlines of their war on consumer broadband. Greensboro, NC was selected by Time Warner for it’s trials of data caps and pricing based upon usage in addition to existing tiers defined by connection speeds.

Now Time Warner seeks to legistlate away municipal broadband networks deployed by city governments like the Greenlight fiber network in Wilson, NC. Wilson borrowed $28 million to build out it’s own fiber to the home network which also serves as backhaul for free Wi-Fi in the downtown area. Wilson residents enjoy the fastest network connection in North Carolina with a 20 Mbps symmetrical service for $59.95.  At the same price point, TWC’s RoadRunner Internet service delivers a variable downlink up to 10 Mbps and uplink up to 512 kbps.

The bill ironically titled Level Playing Field (SB1004/HB1252) seeks to punish municipal networks by requiring regulations, redirecting city tax revenues, auditing and reporting requirements driving up the costs of operating and offerng a communications service.  Time Warner wants to restrict competition and ensure the continuation of a scarcity of bandwidth, rather than face an abundance of service options for consumers.

TWC lobbied for the same legislation in North Carolina 2 years ago in 2007, but the effort died in committee.  This time it has passed the first of three House committees it must navigate. Last week it emerged from the Science and Technology Committee and passed on the Public Utilities where it must pass to move on to Finance.  The next step in the process would be a vote in the House.  Some have suggested that the House version could be up for a vote before May 1st.

With the Mayor of Greensboro considering options following TWC’s determined effort to charge usage cap pricing tiers, the company wants to ensure that other cities can’t deploy their own networks.  One provision of the bill prevents a municipality from offering service to it’s citizens at a loss. This means that should a city decide to provide free Wi-Fi to it’s residents it would incur the same costs and regulatory burdens of a for fee service.  In essence, TWC wants to ensure the duopoly it shares with the local phone company and thwart any additional competition or options for consumers. Their plans to reassert data caps is clear in the following video.  Note, TWC is taking it’s cue from wireless carriers (e.g., Verizon Wireless, ATT Wireless) on overcharging and customer abuse.

 

News 14 Carolina – Time Warner Shelves Usage Based Billing
by dampier
North Carolina representatives would do well to read the commissioned report called, “Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America.”  According to this report, 16% of the population has zero access to broadband using the previous definition from the FCC of 200 kbps download.  The FCC increased this number to 768 kbps in the summer of 2008, and the report itself recommends a minimum speed of 100 Mbps by 2012 and 1 GBps by 2015 as the acceptable speeds needed by consumers of broadband.
Commissioned by e-NC.org, the report specifically recommends active participation by the State and e-NC Authority in the development of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.  The e-NC was established by the State Assembly in 2000 and 2006 was extended through December 2011.

From the organization’s website, the e-NC Authority is responsible for the following:

  • To track the availability of high-speed Internet services in each county across the state
  • To advocate for high-speed Internet access at competitive prices to all North Carolinians
  • To significantly increase the numbers of individuals, businesses and organizations who own computers and computer devices and who subscribe to the Internet
  • To establish telecenters located in the state’s most economically distressed areas
  • To establish a Web site to provide North Carolinians with complete information on Internet and telecommunications services
TWC’s actions in North Carolina are rapidly evolving and the State has already given the “Level Playing Field” legislation more momentum than it had in 2007.  Any developments will be reported in addition to providing audio interviews with some of those directly involved.

 

Time Warner Targets North Carolina in War on Consumer Broadband

Published by:

Time Warner Targets North Carolina in War on Consumer Broadband

Time Warner Cable has decided to place North Carolina on the frontlines of their war on consumer broadband. Greensboro, NC was selected by Time Warner for it’s trials of data caps and pricing based upon usage in addition to existing tiers defined by connection speeds.

Now Time Warner seeks to legistlate away municipal broadband networks deployed by city governments like the Greenlight fiber network in Wilson, NC. Wilson borrowed $28 million to build out it’s own fiber to the home network which also serves as backhaul for free Wi-Fi in the downtown area. Wilson residents enjoy the fastest network connection in North Carolina with a 20 Mbps symmetrical service for $59.95.  At the same price point, TWC’s RoadRunner Internet service delivers a variable downlink up to 10 Mbps and uplink up to 512 kbps.

The bill ironically titled Level Playing Field (SB1004/HB1252) seeks to punish municipal networks by requiring regulations, redirecting city tax revenues, auditing and reporting requirements driving up the costs of operating and offerng a communications service.  Time Warner wants to restrict competition and ensure the continuation of a scarcity of bandwidth, rather than face an abundance of service options for consumers.

TWC lobbied for the same legislation in North Carolina 2 years ago in 2007, but the effort died in committee.  This time it has passed the first of three House committees it must navigate. Last week it emerged from the Science and Technology Committee and passed on the Public Utilities where it must pass to move on to Finance.  The next step in the process would be a vote in the House.  Some have suggested that the House version could be up for a vote before May 1st.

With the Mayor of Greensboro considering options following TWC’s determined effort to charge usage cap pricing tiers, the company wants to ensure that other cities can’t deploy their own networks.  One provision of the bill prevents a municipality from offering service to it’s citizens at a loss. This means that should a city decide to provide free Wi-Fi to it’s residents it would incur the same costs and regulatory burdens of a for fee service.  In essence, TWC wants to ensure the duopoly it shares with the local phone company and thwart any additional competition or options for consumers. Their plans to reassert data caps is clear in the following video.  Note, TWC is taking it’s cue from wireless carriers (e.g., Verizon Wireless, ATT Wireless) on overcharging and customer abuse.

 

News 14 Carolina – Time Warner Shelves Usage Based Billing
by dampier
North Carolina representatives would do well to read the commissioned report called, “Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America.”  According to this report, 16% of the population has zero access to broadband using the previous definition from the FCC of 200 kbps download.  The FCC increased this number to 768 kbps in the summer of 2008, and the report itself recommends a minimum speed of 100 Mbps by 2012 and 1 GBps by 2015 as the acceptable speeds needed by consumers of broadband.
Commissioned by e-NC.org, the report specifically recommends active participation by the State and e-NC Authority in the development of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.  The e-NC was established by the State Assembly in 2000 and 2006 was extended through December 2011.

From the organization’s website, the e-NC Authority is responsible for the following:

  • To track the availability of high-speed Internet services in each county across the state
  • To advocate for high-speed Internet access at competitive prices to all North Carolinians
  • To significantly increase the numbers of individuals, businesses and organizations who own computers and computer devices and who subscribe to the Internet
  • To establish telecenters located in the state’s most economically distressed areas
  • To establish a Web site to provide North Carolinians with complete information on Internet and telecommunications services
TWC’s actions in North Carolina are rapidly evolving and the State has already given the “Level Playing Field” legislation more momentum than it had in 2007.  Any developments will be reported in addition to providing audio interviews with some of those directly involved.

A Call to Action! – FCC Broadband Plan

Published by:

A Call to Action! - FCC Broadband Plan

A plan is underway in the halls of the FCC that will impact your ability to participate in our democracy, to be educated and to earn a living. The FCC received direction from Congress through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the Stimulus Bill, to create a national strategy for broadband and to ensure access and adoption of broadband across the United States.

The FCC released on April 8, 2009 a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) for public comment on The National Broadband Plan (NBP).  This NOI sets the issues to be considered and areas where the FCC is seeking input from industry, state and local governments, international resources, technology experts, policy experts and the public.

The Commission needs the help of a wide and deep set of views to answer questions ranging from,

  • “whether a definition of “broadband” should be tethered to a numerical definition or, instead, an “experiential” metric based on the consumer’s ability to access sufficiently robust data for certain identifiable broadband services…”
  • to “We seek comment on the value of open networks as an effective and efficient mechanism for ensuring broadband access for all Americans, and specifically on how the term “open” should be defined…”
  • to “We seek comment on whether subsidizing the recurring subscription cost for broadband service, or subsidizing the fixed costs of obtaining computer equipment could address the affordability of broadband for all Americans…”.

Other areas of comment include Public Saftey and Homeland Security, Delivery of Health Care, Worker Training, Entreprenuerial Activity, Venture Capital, and Improving Government Accountability.

The scope of NBP touches every aspect of public and private endeavor, and therefore, every American.

Those coming under FCC regulations including Internet service providers, radio, television, cable companies and wireless service providers are guaranteed to engage on the areas of defining broadband, service requirements, pricing, deep packet inspection, nondiscrimination, competition and consumer welfare.  Regulations on broadband directly impact their businesses and profits.  In addition, these entities have an advantage in that they know the FCC, it’s processes and it members.

It is, therefore, critical that the public adds it’s comments on the digital divide, affordability, open networks, and even non-discrimination of network traffic as doing so ensures consideration by the commission of the public interest and needs for communication, media consumption and creation and even the ability to participate in government.

What’s at Stake?

Broadband is currently defined as 768 kbps as either download or upload which will prove insufficient when measured against the demands as more media moves from print to online, gaming and simulations become more sophisticated and software and services move into the cloud.

The US has failed to keep pace with the rest of the world on broadband deployment, speed and price. Eight years ago the US was ranked 4th as compared to other nations. Today the US ranks 15th, 17th or even 22nd depending on the source.

The chart below shows where the US stood in comparison to other countries as of May 2008. Relying upon deregulation and the private sector alone hasn’t served Americans well as compared with Japan and Korea where deployments are primarily fiber.

usbbrank

Recent attempts by service providers like Time Warner Cable and ATT to limit usage through the implementation of data caps, and the industry wide practice of wireless providers to cap data usage on so-called unlimited plans provides the evidence for how consumer needs can be at cross purposes to the profit goals of broadband providers. As noted in TWC SEC filing, their goal was to move their customers up the usage pricing tiers quickly, but what effect does such strategy have on unemployed Americans who want and need to create an online presence for their job search? What effect does TWC stratgey have on lower middle class and the poor? What effect does this sort of strategy have on our government’s push to engage the public via video on issues and accountability?

Our economic future is inextricably tied to our access to broadband Internet connections.  The US economy no longer relies upon a manufacturing base, and more Americans are relying upon the Internet for their income. Whether you work for a technology company that provides services via the network like Microsoft, Apple and Google, or you are a a new media star on YouTube, the ability to interact with your customers online and grow that customer base online makes broad availability of broadband critical to your survival.

The vast increase of video consumption and creation for communication, education and even health delivery punctuates the demand for broadband.  Congressional requirement that the FCC create a national strategy recognizes this fundamental shift in our economic future.  Some estimates have stated video accounts for 70% of all Internet traffic.

Video information resources available via the Internet include resources and points of view not represented in other forms of media.  As printed new outlets are shrinking, online news outlets are exploding. Our ability to be informed citizens is becoming more and more reliant upon access to a diverse and variety of news sources that populate the Internet. A great example is provided by current FCC Interim Chairman, Michael Copps during an interview with Bill Moyers from a 2007 discussion on media consolidation and Net Neutrality.

“There was a consolidation hearing in a town with alot of media consolidation, I think it was in Arizona, and nothing had been reported about our coming. We had 500 people show up. So I went down there. I went down there and asked, how did you find out about this meeting? And one of them replied, I heard about it on the B-B-C.”

moyers_copps

Viewing the full video is highly recommended as many of the concerns Copps expresses on media consolidation and Net Neutrality are inherent in a national broadband strategy that should serve the public interest. Your comments can help the FCC understand the issues and needs from school teachers, students, technology experts, health care workers, online marketing consultants, YouTube stars, bloggers, IT workers, job seekers, charities, and everyone in between, even twitterers.

I encourage everyone to email FCC Interim Chairman Michael Copps at michael.copps@fcc.gov and request public hearings around the country before the June 8, 2009 dealine for comments. This will help ensure participation from those who are currently on the underserved side of the digital divide, and from those who  have valuable contributions to make to the issues of a broadband strategy technology needs.

A copy of the hundreds of questions the FCC faces and on which they have requested  input is avialable in The National Broadband Plan NOI.  Comments can be submitted via e-mail by following the instructions on the FCC web site under Electronic Comment Filing System. Scrolling down the page you’ll find examples of the form required to submit your comment. An important note is that comments must be submitted in plain text, so do not send HTML formatted email as the system may reject your entry. A call to the FCC Help Desk to clarify this issue at (202) 418-0193 was not returned at the time of publication of this article. When clarification is received, and update will be included.

What you Can do Now

  1. Read the NOI
  2. Submit Comments to the FCC
  3. Call your Senator and support confimration for Julius Genakowski as FCC Chairman
  4. Join the FriendFeed group and join the conversation here in comments below.
  5. Return here to mobilejones.com – I’ll post audio interviews from a number of stakeholders and those involved more directly in policy making on this issue.

Time Warner Targets North Carolina in War on Consumer Broadband

Published by:

Time Warner Targets North Carolina in War on Consumer Broadband

Time Warner Cable has decided to place North Carolina on the frontlines of their war on consumer broadband. Greensboro, NC was selected by Time Warner for it’s trials of data caps and pricing based upon usage in addition to existing tiers defined by connection speeds.

Now Time Warner seeks to legistlate away municipal broadband networks deployed by city governments like the Greenlight fiber network in Wilson, NC. Wilson borrowed $28 million to build out it’s own fiber to the home network which also serves as backhaul for free Wi-Fi in the downtown area. Wilson residents enjoy the fastest network connection in North Carolina with a 20 Mbps symmetrical service for $59.95.  At the same price point, TWC’s RoadRunner Internet service delivers a variable downlink up to 10 Mbps and uplink up to 512 kbps.

The bill ironically titled Level Playing Field (SB1004/HB1252) seeks to punish municipal networks by requiring regulations, redirecting city tax revenues, auditing and reporting requirements driving up the costs of operating and offerng a communications service.  Time Warner wants to restrict competition and ensure the continuation of a scarcity of bandwidth, rather than face an abundance of service options for consumers.

TWC lobbied for the same legislation in North Carolina 2 years ago in 2007, but the effort died in committee.  This time it has passed the first of three House committees it must navigate. Last week it emerged from the Science and Technology Committee and passed on the Public Utilities where it must pass to move on to Finance.  The next step in the process would be a vote in the House.  Some have suggested that the House version could be up for a vote before May 1st.

With the Mayor of Greensboro considering options following TWC’s determined effort to charge usage cap pricing tiers, the company wants to ensure that other cities can’t deploy their own networks.  One provision of the bill prevents a municipality from offering service to it’s citizens at a loss. This means that should a city decide to provide free Wi-Fi to it’s residents it would incur the same costs and regulatory burdens of a for fee service.  In essence, TWC wants to ensure the duopoly it shares with the local phone company and thwart any additional competition or options for consumers. Their plans to reassert data caps is clear in the following video.  Note, TWC is taking it’s cue from wireless carriers (e.g., Verizon Wireless, ATT Wireless) on overcharging and customer abuse.

 

News 14 Carolina – Time Warner Shelves Usage Based Billing
by dampier
North Carolina representatives would do well to read the commissioned report called, “Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America.”  According to this report, 16% of the population has zero access to broadband using the previous definition from the FCC of 200 kbps download.  The FCC increased this number to 768 kbps in the summer of 2008, and the report itself recommends a minimum speed of 100 Mbps by 2012 and 1 GBps by 2015 as the acceptable speeds needed by consumers of broadband.
Commissioned by e-NC.org, the report specifically recommends active participation by the State and e-NC Authority in the development of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.  The e-NC was established by the State Assembly in 2000 and 2006 was extended through December 2011.

From the organization’s website, the e-NC Authority is responsible for the following:

  • To track the availability of high-speed Internet services in each county across the state
  • To advocate for high-speed Internet access at competitive prices to all North Carolinians
  • To significantly increase the numbers of individuals, businesses and organizations who own computers and computer devices and who subscribe to the Internet
  • To establish telecenters located in the state’s most economically distressed areas
  • To establish a Web site to provide North Carolinians with complete information on Internet and telecommunications services
TWC’s actions in North Carolina are rapidly evolving and the State has already given the “Level Playing Field” legislation more momentum than it had in 2007.  Any developments will be reported in addition to providing audio interviews with some of those directly involved.

Mobile World Congress

Published by:

Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress 2009 opens today and mobilejones.com offers comprehensive coverage.  MWC09 is a European focused event and draws an attendance that is equal to the size of the annual CTIA conference in Las Vegas. Both conferences are produced by mobile operator consortium.  MWC is produced by the GSMA and CTIA is the conference name and the organization which represents US mobile operators.

Watch http://mwc09.mobilejones.com for the latest articles, photos, videos and news. If you’re attending the conference and would like to see your experience and views featured on the site, send an email or leave a voice mail.  Email address and phone number are available on the About page.

The conference runs through February 19th and as the sources for reporting, opinion and insight grows, so with the resources made available on the MWC09 section of mobilejones.com. Comment below with ideas, suggestions or praise. Those are welcome.

  • Mobile tech conference kicks off (news.bbc.co.uk)
  • GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: we’re here! (engadget.com)

Pardon the Dust at Mobile Jones

Published by:

Pardon the Dust at Mobile Jones

I’ve been thinking about and planning changes to mobilejones.com for quite a few months now. You will see a number of changes in layout, design and features as the project continues.

Hopefully, these improvements will make mobilejones.com a better resource and enable some features that readers will love. Please be patient as these upgrades will be accomplished over time.

Looking forward in 2009 mobilejones.com will continue to grow with the same exciting pace as the industry, itself. Creativity and change is coming to the mobile industry at a frenetic pace. Time to get back to reporting on those developments and connecting with loyal past and new readers.

Pardon the Dust at Mobile Jones

Published by:

Pardon the Dust at Mobile Jones

I’ve been thinking about and planning changes to mobilejones.com for quite a few months now. You will see a number of changes in layout, design and features as the project continues.

Hopefully, these improvements will make mobilejones.com a better resource and enable some features that readers will love. Please be patient as these upgrades will be accomplished over time.

Looking forward in 2009 mobilejones.com will continue to grow with the same exciting pace as the industry, itself. Creativity and change is coming to the mobile industry at a frenetic pace. Time to get back to reporting on those developments and connecting with loyal past and new readers.