Federal Communications Commission

Workshops Category

Making Universal Service and Intercarrier Compensation Reform Happen

March 15th, 2011 by FCC Commissioners

By Julius Genachowski, Michael Copps, Robert McDowell, Mignon Clyburn, Meredith Baker – FCC Commissioners

When we voted unanimously to approve the USF/ICC Transformation NPRM last month, each of us made clear that we are committed to reforming the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) system, and to doing so as soon as possible.   We must eliminate waste and inefficiency and modernize USF and ICC to bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans.  We can’t afford to delay.

As part of our process, today we’re announcing the first of a small number of open, public workshops to identify solutions to key issues in the USF/ICC proceeding.  This first workshop at the FCC on April 6th will focus on ICC issues.  At least one of the others will be held outside of Washington, DC, and all of them will be live-streamed on the Internet and will enable online participation.  More details on the workshops will be released soon.

At these workshops, we’re looking forward to robust discussions with a diverse group of stakeholders.  And we’re expecting participants to come prepared with responses to our reform proposals—and/or proposals of their own—that recognize that reform will entail compromise and shared sacrifice, as well as shared opportunity.

In addition to the workshops, we of course encourage parties to file comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  As a reminder, the first comments on certain issues are due on April 1, and the last reply comments are due on May 23.  While the NPRM included many reform ideas, there may be others that merit consideration as well.  We remain open to considering all ideas put forth in the workshops and comments.

Once the record is complete in late May, we look forward to moving to an Order within a few months—it’s going to be a busy spring and summer.

The time is right to make reform happen, and to do so through an open, public, and participatory process.

(Cross posted on the Official FCC Blog.)

Don't Forget: May 6 Workshop on Broadband Availability Gap Technical Paper

April 30th, 2010 by Mark Wigfield - Spokesman, Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

Don’t forget that about the workshop on Thursday in which FCC staff will take a look under the hood of the economic model used in the National Broadband Plan to develop an estimate of the gap between the cost of deploying broadband services to the 14 million or more Americans living in unserved areas and the potential additional revenue generated from the broadband investment. Deployment Director Rob Curtis blogged about the technical paper that describes in detail how the $24 billion estimate was derived.  Rob and others will be on hand to answer your questions about the model and the technical paper.  The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, May 6, 2010, 3:00 p.m. EDT in the FCC Commission Room at 445 12th St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20554.  Or you can watch it online at

Wireless Broadband Network Takes Form for Public Safety Community

March 4th, 2010 by George Krebs

Soon the FCC will roll out the Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC). A first-of-its-kind center located within the Commission, ERIC will coordinate communication among the public safety community. As Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett wrote ERIC will be based on a wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. This will include technical requirements for common standards across the field, priority access for public safety users, and choices for how they operate their broadband network. Panelists from the FCC, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Institute of Science and Technology spoke Tuesday about what form this should center should take.

The need for an interoperability network is clear, they noted. Today first responders and public safety personnel are using a wide variety of devices in the course of their time sensitive work. This hodgepodge of systems contains a host of issues that complicates the vital work being performed. Critical communication coordination failures on September 11th and during Hurricane Katrina made the necessity of such interoperability painfully evident.

Jeff Goldthorp, Chief of the Communications Systems Analysis Division at the FCC, spoke to the possibility of interoperability and the urgency of roaming:
Rich benefits come with deployment of new commercial wireless technology. Is it possible to create a network of networks? Absolutely. We need to harmonize the actions of public safety entities…
We need for first responders to be able to move between jurisdictions [roaming] in a way they’re not able to today.
Mr. Barnett said ERIC must be launched to coincide with the National Broadband Plan. When the Broadband Plan is rolled out, industry will be jumping on board.
These networks are taking off. These people are ready to build. We need to get public safety right up there with the industry. When the truck rolls out to put up a tower, it should also be putting up a tower for public safety. If we fall behind and the truck has to roll out a second time, it will be much more expensive.
The public safety and homeland security recommendations in the Broadband Plan are already getting an outpouring of support. As we move quickly toward implementing these recommendations we must get it right, Mr. Barnett urged. “We’ve got to get going. We get one at bat. One swing.”

Broadband and New Media Strategies for Minority Radio

February 24th, 2010 by Carolyn Williams

On January 26, 2010, the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) hosted a roundtable on Broadband and New Media Strategies for Minority Radio.  The list of the roundtable participants and other details can be found here.  The roundtable boasted an aggressive agenda which included topics ranging from the current state of radio and its many challenges to possible collaboration with other media and what the future may hold in a technological environment that is ever-changing.
The participants discussed the shift in advertising revenue from traditional radio to the Internet citing statistics which indicated that, in 2007, for the first time in history, Internet ad revenue surpassed radio ad revenue and that that trend continues.  The point was made that the slow economy is something that cannot be overlooked as a challenge to all as ad spending is down across the board.  All of this impacts the ability of small businesses to gain access to capital.  However, even with the challenges faced by radio, weekly radio listenership still dominates across all forms of media. This led to an exploration of the unique value that radio offers to the public.  It is positioned to best serve local markets as well as national interests, e.g., Census 2010 and voter education.

In that vein, the roundtable participants turned to a lively exploration of creative strategies and innovative business models that could take advantage of the new technologies.  There was a demonstration of some of the capabilities and applications that currently exist today, such as online radio, and discussion of some of the collaborations that may result in a happy marriage between the traditional broadcast of radio and broadband.   The goal for all of us is to ensure that minority radio adapts new methods of delivering content, expands across a multimedia platform, and thrives in this digital age of communications.

We are looking forward to continuing what has proven to be a very productive conversation.


Roundtable on Broadband and New Media Strategies for Minority Radio

January 26th, 2010 by Thomas Reed - Director, Office of Communications Business Opportunities.

Minorities comprised one-third of the overall U.S. population in 2009.  Yet they control only 815 radio stations out of a total of 11,249 operating in the US – just 7.24%.  Today, small, local and minority-owned radio stations are struggling to stay afloat in the current economic crisis and in a marketplace where the Internet is getting a larger and larger bite of the advertising apple.  Bankruptcies in the radio industry are at record numbers; and while no group, minority or otherwise, is immune to the economic downturn, minority radio has been hit particularly hard.  As a result, we will likely see a continued decline in the percentage of minority ownership in radio.  Despite these troubling circumstances, minority radio continues to inform and entertain its listeners and provide the type of viewpoint diversity that is essential to a robust marketplace of ideas and voices on the airwaves.        

On Tuesday, the FCC’s Office of Communications and Business Opportunities held an interactive round-table discussion entitled “Broadband and New Media Strategies for Minority Radio.”  The workshop explored digital and new media applications that present the most promising opportunities for radio.  We looked at innovative ideas that could augment radio service areas, increase the size of listening audiences, and create multiple streams of income for small/local/minority radio.  We also examined the role minority-owned radio continues to play in supplying news content, politics, and entertainment to communities around the country that still lack broadband access.  We asked a diverse group of experts to share their thoughts on these important topics and had a dynamic conversation.  Video of the roundtable will be available soon on our web site.

Below is a list of our roundtable participants: 

Mario Armstrong, Radio Host, XM/Sirius radio,, WYPR & WEAA

Eric Broyles, Founder and CEO, Megree, Inc.

Frank Flores, Chief Revenue Officer of the radio segment and General Manager, Spanish Broadcasting Systems

Anita Stephens Graham
, Partner, Opportunity Capital Partners

Zemira Jones, President /CEO of All American Management Group, Inc.

James L. Winston, Executive Director, National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB)

Candida Mobley-Wright, President, Voices, Inc. 

Frank Montero, Co- Managing Partner with the law Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth

Cleveland Spears, Producer/Radio Host/General Manager, iM4radio Broadcasting Network

Loris Ann Taylor
, Executive Director, Native Public Media

Carolyn Fleming-Williams, Senior Deputy Director, Office of Communications Business Opportunities, FCC (moderator)

Rick Wade, Acting Chief of Staff, Department of Commerce (co-moderator)

Smart Turkey?

November 27th, 2009 by Nick Sinai - Energy and Environment Director

Nick SinaiThanksgiving weekend is a time for a turkey, family, and football. After you've gotten your fill of all three - is it really possible? - maybe there is time for a little reflection too.

In that spirit, we're reflecting on the responses to our public notice and from our ongoing conversations with the American public about the Smart Grid - the modernization of the electrical grid. We're also reflecting on the recent presentation to the Commission about critical gaps in the path to future universal broadband.

I'm often asked, why focus on the Smart Grid in the energy section of the broadband plan? The answer is simple-we have a climate crisis on our hands, and broadband and IT need to be part of the solution. In fact, smart electric grids, smart homes, and smart buildings-sometimes collectively called the smart grid-are the greatest opportunity for broadband and IT to reduce carbon emissions. One study recently concluded that smart grids, homes, and buildings could reduce over 800 million tons of annual carbon emissions by 2020. That's the equivalent of taking more than 100 million gasoline-fueled cars off the road.

The responses to the public notice on Smart Grid issues have also made it clear that there are two issues that we need to address in a comprehensive plan to Congress.

First, it's clear from the record that our electrical system-really a collection of systems-will require greater data connectivity across the entire grid, from generation to transmission to distribution to the meter, and within the home and building. As we have more distributed generation, plug-in electric vehicles, and retail prices that better reflect costs, we'll need to modernize the grid, with greater communications and IT throughout.

It's also clear from the record that each Smart Grid application has different networking requirements, from meters that must be read once per day, to advanced sensors called synchrophasors that must report power quality data in a continuous stream.

As a result, there are a variety of networks already being used to support the Smart Grid, including private and commercial, wired and wireless, narrowband and broadband. What is less clear is how these requirements will change as the Smart Grid continues to develop, and as greater intelligence and control is pushed deeper into the network.

Second, a lot of the expected benefits of the Smart Grid are really benefits we'll gain from smarter homes and smarter buildings. Consumers and building owners will be expected to interact with the grid in new ways, including the "Prius Effect", which refers to the way Toyota Prius drivers responded to the prominent display on the car's dashboard of real-time fuel economy by changing their driving behavior to get even better mileage. Similarly, exposure to better energy consumption information can help encourage energy savings behavior. But a lot of the benefits will be the automation of home or building systems to manage energy better - you won't have to lift a finger!

The wealth of consumption and pricing data that will be created by the smart grid can enable a variety of innovative products and services. But who will control access to this data? If third parties develop products and services, how should consumers connect them to this data? Can the Smart Grid do for energy what the Internet did for communications and media?

It's clear the Smart Grid holds enormous promise to help tackle our national goals in energy and the environment. In order to do so, it will be important to address the communications and energy information questions. We're intently focusing on these issues as we consider the final shape of the National Broadband Plan.

 In order to add to the record, and gather additional input, we're also holding a Commissioner-led field hearing on Energy and the Environment on Monday, Nov. 30th, at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., at 1 p.m. The entire event is open to the public and available online at Video of the hearing will also be archived on the field hearing site. [Ed. update: video from yesterday's field hearing is available here]

Enough reflecting for now. Back to the leftover turkey!

Best Practices - Spurring Access and Adoption

November 24th, 2009 by Calvin Osborne

Last month, the FCC presented its workshop on Diversity and Civil Rights Issues in Broadband Deployment and Adoption. As part of the workshop, the FCC invited a panel of experts to discuss the best strategies for closing the gap in broadband access and adoption.

These experts included investors whose investment strategies place a heavy emphasis on technology companies and educators who are focused on creating community technology centers. Laura Efurd, Vice President of ZeroDivide, discussed the best practices for addressing civil rights issues in adoption. She pointed out that broadband adoption issues demonstrate a divide among race, age, disability, and geography. She noted that this divide is part of a larger problem that exists in our country, and that in order to address best practices, the adoption issues should be addressed holistically. That means focusing on racial, cultural, and socioeconomic factors that may affect adoption.

Antoinette Cook Bush of Skadden Arps discussed a number of ways the government can support the deployment and adoption of broadband technologies. Ms. Bush suggested that existing programs such as Lifeline, Linkup, and other Universal Service Fund programs, should be used to expand broadband services. Ms. Bush, who is also the chairperson of the broadband subcommittee of the Federal Diversity Advisory Committee, pointed to a number of "best practices" provided by that committee. Patricia Bransford is the President of National Urban Technology Center, one program highlighted by the Diversity Advisory Committee. Ms. Bransford emphasized that Internet training programs must be used to assist people with different learning styles by making learning more visual and by strategically focusing on ways to include the 30% of high school kids who drop out during their high school experience.

Heather Dawn Thompson of Sonnenshein, Nath, & Rosenthal argued that the U.S. government must become more adept at creative financing and become more inclusive of tribal governments in order to empower them to create broadband companies on tribal lands. And Jonathan Glass, Principal of Council Tree Investors, confirmed that his investment company and others like his are keenly interested in working with diverse groups to increase broadband adoption. He illustrated how support from the federal government and the FCC can advance these initiatives, including on Native American tribal land.

Panelists emphasized that broadband deployment and adoption must be viewed from many different paradigms in order to include as many Americans as possible. A deployment and adoption plan that is best for a tribal government or a desert county may not be best for a thriving metropolitan area or a sleepy southern town. As panelist Geoffrey Blackwell noted, "one size fits none." It is not sufficient to roll out a plan and expect all Americans to implement it in the same way. The plan must address the needs of the unserved and the underserved alike. To empower citizens, it must be community based. At the same time, it must have the full support of government agencies that will use existing programs to support local broadband efforts and ensure sustainability over time. In short, the national broadband plan must be flexible enough to meet the needs of all Americans wherever they are on the technology spectrum.

This is the last in a four-part blog on the Diversity and Civil Rights Issues in Broadband Deployment and Adoption workshop held on October 2, 2009. Full biographies and a transcript of the workshop can be found at

Promoting Broadband Diversity Within the Law

November 24th, 2009 by Mark Lloyd - Associate General Counsel / Chief Diversity Officer

Mark LloydThis is the third in a four-part series of blogs on Diversity and Civil Rights Issues in Broadband Adoption and Access.  The full biographies of all participants can be found at

What is the federal government compelled to do, and what is it prohibited from doing to promote access and adoption for all Americans in the National Broadband plan?  That was the topic of the second panel in the workshop on Diversity and Civil Rights Issues in Broadband Access and Adoption.  As FCC Commission Michael Copps said in opening the panel, "This is where the rubber really hits the road."

The panel featured a range of lawyers and scholars wrestling with the thorny issue of federal action that might target those groups that do not have access to broadband or are not adopting broadband, while adhering to the constitutional mandate of equal protection for all Americans.  The panelists discussed the different legal review standards applied to racial and ethnic minorities as compared to Native Americans or the poor, the challenges in subsidizing religious groups, and what other federal agencies have done to address the different needs of distinct American communities.

Allen Hammond, a law professor at Santa Clara University, focused on the FCC's responsibility.  Relying on the preamble to the Communications Act, Sections 706 and 257 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Professor Hammond argued that "the Commission is required to facilitate inclusive, non-discriminatory, affordable access to broadband in a reasonable and timely manner, and if access is not reasonable and timely, to take immediate action to accelerate deployment by removing barriers to investment and promoting competition." 

University of Pennsylvania Professor and former Chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Mary Frances Berry noted that "race is the bugbear in the room." According to Dr. Berry, to meet the judicial standard or review applied to race-conscious measures, also known as strict scrutiny, "What you've got to do is make sure that you prove that there is a compelling governmental interest and make sure that you show that you narrowly tailored whatever you do in this plan, and that you tried every alternative possible, that you are monitoring what you are going to do, and that whatever you're doing is of short duration."  Dr. Berry repeatedly emphasized the importance of "overwhelming evidence."  She ended on an encouraging note, saying that it was "possible for the FCC to develop a plan that will ensure success, meeting the needs of all our people and exercising the FCC's responsibility." 

Thomas Henderson, a long-time civil rights attorney, argued that the FCC "can act with an awareness of race . . .  so long as you're not classifying people or treating people differently."   However, he added, although "race-neutral remedies are sometimes disparaged and seen as not effective, there are lots of reasons to consider them thoroughly.  One, you can get a lot done through race-neutral means.  Secondly, they can be really useful in identifying where the real barriers are.  And the third thing is employing them and using them provides a very good basis for race-conscious actions if you need to take them."

David Honig, Executive Director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, and chairperson of the Diversity Advisory subcommittee on constitutional issues, referred the FCC to the advisory committee recommendations to replace the current eligible entity designation with a program like those used in state university systems, also known as a full file review.  Honig proposed that an entity might be considered eligible for a credit if it has overcome a disadvantage.  "The overcoming of which is predictive of entrepreneurial success."  According to Honig, credit would be given to those who could demonstrate some social disadvantage, such as "disadvantages that derive from having experienced racial discrimination or gender discrimination or the various disabilities that, unfortunately, attend veterans' status or living in certain geographic areas or certain kinds of disabilities."  

Geoffrey Blackwell, of the Chickasaw Nation Industries, the National Congress of American Indians, and Native Public Media is also a member of the Diversity Advisory Committee.  He noted that Native Americans could also be considered in the proposed full file review program.  Blackwell noted that "the Commission has very good tools... developed over the last 10 years that it can draw upon" to increase broadband access and adoption on Tribal Lands, such as the Enhanced Tribal Lands Lifeline and Link-Up Program "that created significant rises in the telephone penetration rate in Indian Country."  According to Blackwell, because of the special status of sovereign Native American Tribes, strict scrutiny would not apply. 

Professor Mara Einstein of Queens College and the Stern School of Business at New York University argued that whatever policy the FCC considered needed to take into account the economic fundamentals of media in the U.S.  Dr. Einstein argued that it was especially important to recognize that "when it comes to revenue generation, new media looks exactly like old media, and this economic model is anathema to content diversity." 

She gave various examples of "why the market can't or rather won't solve the problem of the digital divide" as it relates to generating content that might spur adoption.   Dr. Einstein suggested that the government "fund and promote categories of content without specifying what exactly the content should be."

Henderson proposed that there were measures that the FCC could take now to advance diversity and equal opportunity in any National Broadband Plan that contemplates direct federal employment to advance either deployment or broadband service.  Specifically, Executive Order 11246 requires a federal contractor not to discriminate.  In addition, with respect to any federal contracts with private employers, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act provides that recipients of federal financial assistance are prohibited from discriminating. 

Henderson also suggested that the study conducted by the Department of Transportation would be a useful guide.  That study resulted in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program.  A program upheld in the federal courts as being constitutional.

All the panelists agreed with the importance of gathering data to guide and support any regulatory action.  But they also noted that the FCC has to avoid its tendency to develop rules in silos without fully appreciating the impact of all its policies. As Professor Hammond put it, "You can't implement [diversity] policy without taking into account what you're doing in the rest of the regulatory space."

Professor Berry echoed Commissioner Robert McDowell's opening comments about the inevitability of litigation aimed at whatever rules the FCC eventually adopts, and urged the Commission to anticipate "who is likely to bring a legal attack, understand why would they bring it and what are they likely to argue, and to know how to repel them before they do it."

Report from Nov. 12 Georgetown Field Hearing on Broadband and Public Safety

November 20th, 2009 by Jennifer Manner - Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Jennifer Manner BB

We just wrapped up a fascinating field hearing held in conjunction with Dr. Howard Federoff and the Georgetown University Medical Center on public safety and emergency medical applications and requirements. The hearing included Under Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Rand Beers as well as FCC Commissioners Clyburn, Copps and Baker. There was also a cast of experts whose valuable input will help us develop a National Broadband Plan with meaningful expectations and recommendations for public safety. Their attendance and participation only further highlighted how important it is that everyone in the public safety community come together to find solutions to the communication issues we’ve faced for quite sometime.  As Commissioner Copps noted, the National Broadband Plan presents as good an opportunity as we’ve had to solve these issues.  It was a truly insightful discussion. Here are some key points that were raised during our three-panel field hearing.
The first panel focused on innovative broadband applications used by emergency medical personnel. One example was from Dr. Richard Katz, Chief Cardiologist at George Washington University, who highlighted a program Georgetown University Medical Center uses that can display a patient’s complete chart and monitor EKG readings wirelessly from a smart phone device.  Dr. Katz indicated that he is able to write prescriptions for patients electronically no matter where he may be.  This helps better ensure that patients get the prescription drugs they need much more efficiently and quickly.  Another example of how broadband has helped treat patients was the use of electronic health records that greatly reduce medical costs and the chance for human error related to patient care. Thanks to Larry Flournoy of Texas A&M, Dr. Richard Katz of George Washington University, Jonathan Linkous of American Telemedicine Association, Bruce McFarlane of the National Organization on Disability and Kevin McGinnis of the Joint National EMS Leadership Conference for their participation.
During the second panel, we heard about exciting applications used by police departments that help officers quickly respond to emergencies, save lives and do their jobs easier. Tim Riley, the Chief Information Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department talked about the 1,800 LAPD squad cars that can send and receive broadband communication such as access to national databases, fingerprint identification, photos and video files -- this includes the ability to send electronic subpoenas.  An interesting point that many panelists agreed upon was that the commercial wireless systems in use now are not entirely reliable and coverage is not guaranteed, which was noted by several panelists as a way to emphasize the critical need for the build-out of a commercial mobile broadband network for public safety on the 700 MHz band.  Thanks to Randy Hughes of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bob Pavlak of the Government of the District of Columbia, Eddie Reyes of the Alexandria Police Department, Tim Riley of the Los Angeles Police Department, Greg Schaffer of the Department of Homeland Security and Richard Tuma of City of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
The third and final panel featured a spirited and interesting discussion on the requirements needed for the public safety wireless network.  Highlights of this discussion include the need for the network to be available anytime and anywhere, resilient, interoperable and secure.  Mission critical voice must be required as Land Mobile Radio communication is here to stay and remains a vital part of emergency response and should be supported by the network and devices.  The panelists also emphasized that it is essential that government at all levels, the public safety community and communications providers work together to pave a path forward for the development of a robust and interoperable mobile broadband network for America's first responders, hospital emergency departments and public health officials.  Thanks to Paul Mankiewich of Alcatel/Lucent, Bob Epsom of Motorola, Steve Harte of the City of New York, Dennis Martinez of Harris Corporation and Chief Charles Warner of the Charlottesville Fire Department.
The contributions of the wide variety of stakeholders who shared reports on the exciting and potential applications our brave medical and first responders will use with a public safety network, as well as their views on what we should include in the National Broadband Plan were truly fascinating.  This field hearing shed some light on the subject and will contribute significantly to the development of the public safety and homeland security section of the National Broadband Plan.
In case you missed it, you can view presentation materials and recorded webcast here. Please feel free to add to our discussion by leaving your comments.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Understanding Broadband Needs in a Diverse America

November 5th, 2009 by Mark Lloyd - Associate General Counsel / Chief Diversity Officer

 We need much richer data on who does not have access to broadband and who is not adopting broadband and why.  The answers we have are not sufficient to help us craft an intelligent National Broadband Plan to promote advanced telecommunications services to all Americans.  We need more granular information.  This was the message of the first panel in the workshop on Broadband Access and Adoption on Diversity and Civil Rights Issues held at the FCC earlier this month. 

As FCC Consumer Research Director Dr. John Horrigan stated, several studies suggest that “broadband adoption in the United States stands at close to two-thirds of Americans.” But these studies are problematic on a number of fronts.  The first problem is that the studies assume that we already have a clear definition of broadband, when, as Santa Clara Law Professor Catherine Sandoval noted, not even the FCC has been reliable about the definition of broadband.  The definition of broadband is made even more complicated by the suggestion that some groups are adopting wireless broadband, when we do not have sufficient information about which applications are available to this rising group of wireless broadband users.   
Dr. Horrigan also noted that “education and income are the two strongest predictors of whether you have broadband at home.”  But education and income are not the only predictors.  Region, ethnicity, and other factors are also important.  As Rutgers Dean Jorge Schement said, “it's not just about money; there's something else going on that prevents people in the same income group from having the same levels of access to information technology.  Technology access is also dependent on aspects of ethnicity.” 
Jim Tobias, President of Inclusive Technologies, picked up this theme in his presentation  and argued that “People with disabilities are as diverse as any other population, even with respect to their disability.  The technological needs, the market behavior of people who are hard-of-hearing is different from those who are deaf, is different from those who are blind, who have low vision.”  Other panelists noted the vast differences among other population groups we treat as a block, including youth, the elderly, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans.   
Professor Sandoval also noted that research focused on the rural-urban divide needs to be more fine-tuned.  “Federal rules basically exclude areas that contain certain major cities.  If you went to an extremely rural places in central California, what you would see is people picking strawberries and other crops in the field, yet, because of their proximity to Fresno, they are not defined as rural, and, therefore, become ineligible for certain types of rural support.”  Mark Pruner, President of the Native American Broadband Association, noted that zip codes and census tract measurements have sometimes excluded Native American communities entirely. 
The themes of diversity and complexity were pressed repeatedly by the panel.  Panelists agreed about the need to be much more specific about technology applications and usability, and about the importance of research in the language of the non-adopting population. 
Professor Sandoval suggested that the research conducted by the California Emerging Technology Fund should serve as one model.  CETF has been conducting research in six different languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, and Korean.  One result is that they are better able to understand the vast differences among Asian Americans.  The adoption and access among the Hmong population and the Filipino population are much lower than other Asian American communities.  Understanding access and adoption in a nation as diverse at the U.S. requires research tools that better reflect that diversity.  And that means larger sample sizes, multi-language polls, and an increase in the number of face-to-face interviews. 
As Dean Schement said, “Disaggregating data does not mean that we see everybody's differences alone.  What it means is that we pay attention to nuances rather than lumping everybody together and trying to achieve one, big outcome.”   
The panelists also noted it was important to be sensitive to the different experiences with technology as we seek to understand adoption patters.  Tobias made the point that many people in the disability community develop a “technological pessimism,” because they have so often experienced interacting with technology that simply did not work for them or technology that was very expensive to adapt to their needs.  Tobias also said, “You don't see people with disabilities featured prominently in some of those glorious, glowing commercials about broadband and Internet access; it's always the on-the-go executive storming down the street or the kid Twittering on a skateboard.  People with disabilities are not featured there, and so they might think ‘it doesn't seem like this technology is for me.’”
Although this panel focused on the challenges of measuring an increasingly diverse nation, they all emphasized the importance of broadband service to all Americans.  Mark Pruner told the story of fellow Native Americans.  “Three people flew all the way from Barrow, Alaska, the very northern point in Alaska, [and it] took them 24 hours to get from there to Washington.  One of them [told] us about how Internet service is used there: it's satellite-based.  Sixty-five percent of the people in this remote native village use the Internet, and it's not a very high income area, but when they have to make a choice between having running water and having Internet service, they pick the Internet service.” 

This is the second of a four-part series on Diversity and Civil Rights Issues in Broadband Adoption.



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