Federal Communications Commission

Solving the Innovator's Dilemma: Turning Talk into Practical Results

July 20th, 2010 by Thomas Brown

I thought I'd draw everyone's attention to this op-ed  in last Friday's Washington Post by Blair Levin and Erik Garr, two former co-leaders of the team that developed the National Broadband Plan here at the FCC. The questions they raise are timely: Why are America's schools still using ink-on-paper textbooks, when digital technology offers a much better way? Why is our national discussion about broadband not focused on how to use those networks and completely rethink the delivery of key services?

Lately, we at the FCC have not just been thinking about these questions; we've also been acting to make increased innovation and investment in the broadband ecosystem a reality. In our FY 2011 E-Rate NPRM, adopted in May, we proposed rules that would make the E-rate program a more effective educational tool, spurring innovations that support teachers, parents, and students. These included a proposal to support online learning 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by allowing use of wireless Internet access service away from school premises.

And on July 26-27, the FCC and FDA will hold a joint public meeting to better understand the landscape of emerging wireless medical technologies and trends, and their potential benefits, risks and challenges from various stakeholder perspectives - patients, doctors, investors, entrepreneurs, engineers, and manufacturers. This collaboration will be a critical step in the development and approval of emerging wireless medical devices and applications that hold great promise for improving the quality of health care and reducing costs.

We closed the National Broadband Plan by describing the importance for America of "reducing talk" regarding broadband "into practical results." What do you think are the most important things the FCC can do to promote innovation and investment in health care, education, energy, public safety and other national purposes?

One Response to “Solving the Innovator's Dilemma: Turning Talk into Practical Results”

  1. Guest says:

    Thank you Tom for calling our attention to the op ed.

    I think it was a weak articulation of important issues. this has nothing to do with the innovators dilemma. i assume levin and garr have not read the book. If they read it, they did not understand it.

    And frankly your attempt to connect the e-rate nprm with the content of the op-ed is valiant but a non-sequitur.

    Instead of wasting time on BS like this, maybe the FCC could get with the program and decide something on special access reform, move the ball on USF, display some gumption on net neutrality and maybe implement the 10 or 20 recommendations from the broadband plan (10%?) that actually make sense.

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