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Auction 87 Online Tutorial

Posted March 31st, 2010 by Craig Bomberger

The FCC has developed a new interactive, online auction tutorial to replace our long-standing practice of hosting live auction seminars and streaming them over the web (although we could still hold a live seminar in addition to providing the tutorial if desired for certain auctions).  We believe that this tutorial will allow us to provide high-quality training materials to potential auction applicants in a more user-friendly format.  The tutorial software allows interested viewers to choose the specific materials they wish to view and to do so whenever and as often as it is convenient and useful. 
The first auction for which the FCC has posted a tutorial is Auction 87, the upcoming auction of licenses for lower and upper paging bands spectrum, which is scheduled to begin on May 25, 2010.  The tutorial is available here. This video provides a brief demonstration of the new tutorial:


Posted in Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Wireless
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Highlighting the staff of the FCC...

Posted March 31st, 2010 by David Fiske - Director, Office of Media Relations

Jeff Riordan, the Deputy AV Officer in the Commission’s Audio-Visual Center, is another “behind the scenes” public servant who makes sure the numerous events held at the Commission and around the country each month run smoothly and are publicly accessible.

Have you ever attended an Open Commission Meeting or watched a live webcast of an FCC event?  For days before a public event, Jeff and our other expert audio-visual staff engage in meticulous planning and preparations to help ensure that these proceedings run without a glitch.  Jeff spends most of his day going over dozens of details to make sure that the technical aspects, such as sound, lighting, audio and video are carefully coordinated, and that the equipment is working properly, so the public can easily tune in to Commission events.

Recently, as part of the Commission’s efforts to solicit input from the public in the development a National Broadband plan, Jeff’s job has required him to travel across the country to work on FCC field events in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, to oversee the audio-visual and streaming needs of these events

Through his job working on Commission events Jeff has met some well known people including Stevie Wonder, Marlee Matlin, Vinton Cerf and Elmo! 

“I enjoy my job,” said Riordan.  “By working on FCC events held in Washington or across the country, and providing consumers with smooth webcasts, I feel like I’m doing my part.  Most people can’t come to D.C. to see Commission events first-hand.  I get to help bring the FCC to the public so they can be part of the important things we do.” 

Jeff has worked in the FCC’s AV office for almost 19 years.  Before joining the Commission he worked for the EPA in their television studio.

He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife and their two children.

Posted in Office Of Media Relations
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Women's History Month Profile: Rachel Kazan

Posted March 31st, 2010 by Jenny Hou

Since we began this blog we have been highlighting FCC staff in a series of profiles.  As March is Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on some of our female colleagues and talking to them about their experiences as professionals, and as women, working in public service at the FCC. Check out the profiles of Eloise Gore and Shirley Suggs as well.


Rachel Kazan

Chief, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division

Years at the FCC: 13 years


Before coming to the FCC, Rachel worked in the wireless and finance industries. Her experiences in the private sector as well as the government allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of gender politics in different contexts. Ultimately, she came away with a greater appreciation for the supportive and open atmosphere of the FCC towards women.


One of the societal changes she found interesting was the gradual increase of the presence of women in the academic setting:


When I was in college you’d walk through halls and you’d see photos…of people from medical school or law school. And you could see over the years there’d be pictures of two or three women out of 100 people, and then there’d be pictures of ten out of 100, and all of a sudden there’s pictures and its 50-50 women and men! And it just is fascinating to see it through the ages.


At the same time, she recalls some of the challenges along the way:


When I started working in the early 1980’s I remember being admonished at work…I had to explain that I only wore slacks to work with a blazer and a high neck blouse because I was taking a flight and they said, ‘Well, under those circumstances it’s ok.’ When I started working in Washington you wore pantyhose everyday including all summer long.



Rachel says that she feels that her generation has greatly benefited from the hard work and efforts of women who have come before her:


I think people my age were kind of the first people to benefit from the people who were ten or fifteen or twenty years older because they really were the first ones …at the workforce.


At the FCC, Rachel says that she feels especially comfortable, coming from less welcoming previous experiences in the private sector:


Coming from banking into the federal government gave me an incredible sense of freedom because…there wasn’t as much of an ‘old boy’ network. If I was going into a meeting at a bank…there might be two women and eight guys…and you went to the government agencies and there was almost 50-50.


Rachel works to support other women by providing understanding perspectives and advice on balancing family life with a full-time job. Her personal experience throughout the years has given her an important insight. Gender equality is a slow but sure thing achieved through the efforts of everyday women across all industries.


Posted in Office Of Managing Director
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Women's History Month Staff Profile - Shirley Suggs

Posted March 30th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

Shirley Suggs
Administrative Management Specialist, Media Bureau
President, Blacks in Government
Years at FCC: 37 years

Shirley Suggs was recruited to the FCC secretarial pool out of high school in 1973.  She worked her way up in the agency, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all while raising her family and breaking through barriers for women.  She has become a leader at the agency, currently serving as the President of Blacks in Government.

I’ve been here a long time so I’ve seen how things changed for women. … I remember having this male supervisor who … intimidated women. It was at a point he just wanted to make sure we stayed at our desks, but of course the men didn’t.  The men weren’t intimidated like that.  It came to a point where I said, “Okay, this has got to stop.”

She is grateful for the contributions of women in the past and present for helping to change not only the way that women are seen, but the way that they see themselves.

I think that women have chosen to be who they are and not be afraid of the consequences of standing up for themselves, and that’s the only way that change is going to occur, for us to move into better positions.

Women’s History Month and the honor of being profiled for this project were a welcome opportunity for her to reflect on her own path, and the paths of so many other women in our history.

I thought about all the women through history… Sojourner Truth, the women through the suffrage, you know all these women – women that kind of pushed, and still are pushing… [I admire] Michelle Obama, for obvious and less obvious reasons.  Of course she is the first lady of the United States and she is African-American.  She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a role model.

For younger women who are just starting their careers at the FCC, she has this advice:

Look at what you want to be.  We all know that motherhood and “wifehood” - if I can put it that way - are difficult roles, and it’s a role that stays with us.  But do all the things that you want to do, and then kind of surround [motherhood and wifehood] around you.

Shirley’s strength and wisdom have guided her through nearly four decades of standing up for herself and her colleagues.  She has helped to make the FCC a more diverse and inclusive place, where anyone can succeed.  Click on Shirley's image to see a video of our interview with her.

Posted in Office Of Managing Director
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Chief FOIA Officer Report Shows Great Progress in FCC FOIA Processing

Posted March 29th, 2010 by Larry Schecker - Special Counsel, Administrative Law Division, OGC

The newly-issued Chief FOIA Officer Report for the FCC demonstrates how the Commission is applying the President’s and the Attorney General’s guidance that the Freedom of Information Act is to be administered with a presumption of openness.  General Counsel Austin C. Schlick, the FCC’s Chief FOIA Officer, led a review of the Commission’s FOIA operations.  Key points reported by the Chief FOIA Officer include:

  • The huge amount of FCC records available through the Commission’s website has resulted in a decline in the number of FOIA requests.
  • The reform of the FCC’s websites, including reboot.fcc.gov and www.fcc.gov/data, will provide even more access to FCC records and data without filing a FOIA request.
  • The FCC was among the first agencies to accept and process FOIA requests electronically, and is planning to improve even further this process.
  • The FCC is processing FOIA requests more quickly.  The median time for processing FOIA requests thus far during FY 2010 has declined to 11 days from 20 days in FY 2009, and the average days to process requests has declined to less than 13 days in FY 2010 thus far from over 32 days in FY 2009.
  • There has been a decrease in the number of backlogged initial FOIA requests and FOIA applications for review, and the Commission is striving to eliminate FOIA backlogs.


Much credit for the smooth handling of the Commission’s FOIA program can be given to members of the Office of Managing Director’s Performance Evaluation and Records Management FOIA staff:  Shoko Hair (the FCC’s FOIA Public Liaison), Patricia Quartey, and Benish Shah.  They ensure the FOIA requests received by the agency are quickly assigned to the proper Bureau or Office, send out acknowledgments of FOIA requests, and remind the FCC staff when deadlines are approaching.  They, along with the FCC staff throughout the agency that search for and review the records sought by the public, all while performing their other duties, are the unsung heroes of the FOIA program at the FCC and deserve all praise for their efforts.

The Chief FOIA Officer as always welcomes suggestions to help the FCC’s FOIA program continue to operate successfully and to improve.

Posted in Office of General Counsel
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A Blog from the CTIA Show

Posted March 24th, 2010 by Pat Rinn

The FCC continued its active outreach program at CTIA – The Wireless Association on Monday, March 22, in the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The convention was scheduled from March 23 – 25.  The FCC participated as part of an afternoon pre-show program and as usual, heard new, different, and important comments on our licensing systems and how we could improve them.  

The FCC also hosted a booth on the convention floor which featured welcoming messages from the Chairman and commissioners. 

The Brainstorming Session was to solicit ideas about how to improve the current licensing systems across the FCC Bureaus, and also entertained comments on the newly released beta version of Spectrum Dashboard which allows new search functionality, downloading and mapping for some of our radio services.  We also provided a high level overview of the Spectrum Dashboard beta.

Our outreach program will continue.  Watch for scheduled events in early April where you will be able to join the discussion and learn more about the development of the Consolidated Licensing System.

Posted in Reform - Redesign Events Spectrum Dashboard Office Of Managing Director
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Spectrum Dashboard – Q&A

Posted March 24th, 2010 by James Brown - Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

Last week, the FCC released the Spectrum Dashboard in beta.  The Spectrum Dashboard is truly an exciting new tool that allows the public to search, map, and download licensing data with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Currently, the search, map, and download features are available for licenses within 225 MHz – 3700 MHz in the following services:

  • 700 MHz
  • 800 MHz Cellular
  • Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)
  • Broadband Personal Communications Service (PCS)
  • Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS)
  • 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service (WCS)
  • Full Power TV Broadcast
  • Mobile Satellite Services (MSS)

Over the years, we have received similar questions from lots of different groups about who holds licenses for certain types of spectrum and where the licenses are held.  The reasons for these questions ranged from an individual trying to locate a mobile phone provider in a specific area, to a company trying to acquire spectrum, to a firm trying to analyze parts of the telecommunications industry.

In the past, we were not able to point anyone to a single place at the FCC where this information could easily be found or understood.  It’s wonderful to finally be able to point someone to the “Spectrum Dashboard.”  Below, I will show how five fairly common questions can be answered by using the Spectrum Dashboard.

Questions that can be answered by using the Spectrum Dashboard

1) Can I see a list of all the licenses held by a company even though the company holds licenses under 100 different legal names?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard associates licenses held under various names to a single “Common Name.”  The Common Name is available for most licenses, including the largest spectrum holders.  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Tags or Radio Service, view individual licenses, and create maps.


2) Can I see a thematic (heat map) that shows how much spectrum a company holds throughout the country?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard provides a county-by-county total of how much spectrum is held by a company based on the “Common Name.”  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Tags or Radio Service, view individual licenses, and create maps.

3) Can I see a thematic (heat map) that shows how much spectrum is licensed for a service throughout the country?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard provides a county-by-county total of how much spectrum is licensed for a specific service (e.g., 700 MHz or Broadband PCS).  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Common Name or Tags, view individual licenses, and create maps.

4) Can I see a thematic (heat) map that shows how much spectrum is licensed in one or more counties within a state?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard shows how much spectrum is licensed in one or more counties.  The results will include a list of licenses associated with a Common Name as well as the actual licensee name for each license.  From the results page, you can filter results by Common Name, Tags or Radio Service, view individual licenses, and create maps.

5) Can I download the data used to answer questions 1 – 4?

Yes.  The Spectrum Dashboard includes a link to download data in a spreadsheet format that includes a list of spectrum held on a county-by-county basis per license. 


These are just five of the questions that the Spectrum Dashboard can answer.  As you explore the Spectrum Dashboard, we hope to hear from you.

After the Commission collects and analyzes user feedback and information on how the Spectrum Dashboard is being used, the staff will announce a workshop to inform the public about the feedback received to date, listen to public views on desired upgrades, and discuss ways to expand and improve the information and analyses contained in the Spectrum Dashboard.  For example, future enhancements to the software could potentially involve an increase in the types of data that can be searched, advanced mapping capabilities, advanced data export capabilities, integration with other Federal information sources, better analysis tools, and changes to the interface.

Posted in Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Spectrum Dashboard
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“Zooming in” on the High-Speed Report maps . . .

Posted March 24th, 2010 by Ellen Burton

We are busy assisting filers of the next round of Form 477 broadband subscribership data – which were due Monday, March 1 – but want you to know about some December 2008 data we’ve recently posted.  If you’ve been zooming your browser to locate your census tract on the High-Speed Reports maps, help has arrived.  Join the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband stimulus grant applicants – who’ve been calling to ask – in checking out our new postings.  Click here and scroll down to the “Census Tract Info” item. 

As in the past, we’ve posted the data needed to exactly replicate report maps.  But like the maps, the data is now much more granular than in the past because it is reported by census tract.  A Microsoft Excel version lists all the census tracts, by state and county.  A separate Excel file organizes them into counties.  Researchers and GIS specialists can check out the same information in CSV format or SAS dataset format.  Don’t ignore the data dictionary – it explains data-item names and the ranges into which data are coded.  And, if you don’t know your census tract, here’s a lookup tool that works for almost all areas (those with “E911” emergency phone service).

Also note our “Broadband Filers by State” postings – you would have scrolled past them on the way to “Census Tract Info.”  Recipients of Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA) State Broadband Data and Development grants – who are mapping broadband availability in individual states – have been particularly interested in these.  The December 2008 list is generally consistent with provider counts (by holding company, by state) in the latest High-Speed Report (with the exceptions primarily due to filer typographical errors).  The June 2009 list is substantially complete but preliminary as of the posting date. 

Now back to work . . .

Posted in Wireline Competition Bureau
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Women’s History Month Profile: Eloise Gore

Posted March 23rd, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

Since we began this blog we have been highlighting FCC staff in a series of profiles.  As March is Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on some of our female colleagues and talking to them about their experiences as professionals, and as women, working in public service at the FCC.

Eloise Gore, Associate Bureau Chief, Media Bureu
Years at FCC: 13

Eloise Gore considers herself lucky.  Beginning her career with the federal government as an intern in 1978, she benefitted from both the barrier-breaking women of the generation before her and the government’s early efforts at diversity.  As an attorney, first for the Federal Trade Commission, then the Commerce Department, and here at the FCC for the past 13 years, she recalls sitting across the table from attorneys in the private sector that at times were all white men.

In those years, in the middle-late seventies, the government was one of the places that women could go, because the government was much more accepting of women, as attorneys, as other kinds of professionals, than the private sector was… so it would be frequently the case that those of us who were in the government would be in negotiations with outside law firms and they would be all these men in suits.  And we were the only ones that had women.

She is proud of the way that women, and men, are given the opportunity to thrive here at the FCC, especially with regard to balancing their families with career.

Women who want to have families, who want to have children, are very supported particularly by the government.  Again that was something that the government did first:  to allow women a chance to go and be a mother and have day care so that they could come back and have their children near them.


One of those women is one that she noted as being one she most admires.

My immediate past boss, Monica Desai, who was the head of the media bureau during the DTV transition and she is really the exemplar of the kind of woman who can juggle having not only children, but two rather young children… she managed to pack 48 hours in a 24 hour day.  I don’t know how she did it.  And she remained calm, and nice, and pleasant, and supportive to us and to her staff.

Of course, she also admires her mother, Gerry Gore, a former advertising professional who at 90 is an active volunteer, zipping around New York City in her sports car.

I never felt that there was anything I couldn’t do because I was a girl/a lady/a woman.  You know, I always felt like everything was possible.  And I think that it’s very good to be able to convey that and I really do see that with the women – the young women and the older women – around me.

Her story is a great example of how far women have come since the FCC was founded in 1934. "I think that the government has been good for women, and women have been good for the government."

Posted in FCC Staff Office Of Managing Director
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Welcome to the Spectrum Dashboard

Posted March 18th, 2010 by Mary Bucher

Welcome to the FCC’s beta release of the Spectrum Dashboard.  The new Spectrum Dashboard’s versatility lets you review how spectrum bands are allocated and used and also lets you identify license holders in specific areas.  The initial version we release today provides plain language information of mobile broadband service frequencies between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz.  In addition, the Spectrum Dashboard contains enhanced search, mapping and data download capabilities for licenses in those broadband service bands.  These enhanced research functions are currently available for licenses in 700 MHz, 800 MHz Cellular, Advanced Wireless Service, Broadband Personal Communications Service, 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service, Broadband Radio Service, Educational Broadband Service, Full Power TV Broadcast, and Mobile Satellite Service.

The primary source of information on frequency usage or spectrum allocation is Part 2 of the FCC rules.  These rules often contain technical language and terms of art that may be difficult for the general public to understand.  In contrast, the Spectrum Dashboard highlights important information from those rules using plain language to help the public understand many aspects of band use.

We want the Spectrum Dashboard to be a “one-stop shopping” portal for licensing information by combining the information currently available on separate electronic databases and filing systems.  The Spectrum Dashboard repackages some of our existing data in order to make it easier to search and find allowing you to generate maps and export data more easily.  Some of the ways this searching capability is now more user friendly include the following:

  • You can search by a “Common Name” and get a list of all licenses held by a single company, even if the company holds licenses under many different names.
  • You can get a map of all the spectrum a company holds throughout the United States or in a single county, a first-of-its-kind resource at the Commission.
  • You can download the results of your searches in an easy-to-use spreadsheet format.

We are making every effort to ensure that the Spectrum Dashboard is as accurate as possible.  Our plan is to update the database once a month (except for the full service television broadcast station coverage maps which are based on maps that were generated for the June 2009 DTV transition).  If you would like to find out more about how we compiled the data for the Spectrum Dashboard, please take a look at the Spectrum Dashboard Details section of our on-line Help page.  We also encourage licensees and other users to contact us through our eSupport link or hotline at 1-877-480-3201 or TTY 1-717-338-2824 with any questions you may have about the data in this tool. 

We see the beta version of the Spectrum Dashboard as a step toward increased transparency into how spectrum is used in the United States.  We need your input to help us continue developing and refining the Spectrum Dashboard.  We are interested in hearing how you are using the Spectrum Dashboard and how we can improve this tool to make it more useful.  Please visit our discussion links to tell us about yourself and the kinds of information you are trying to find in the Spectrum Dashboard.  Let us know what functions and features in the Spectrum Dashboard you find most useful as well as what other features or functional tools you would like to see in future versions of the Spectrum Dashboard.  We invite you to join the discussion and look forward to hearing from you. 

Posted in Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Spectrum Dashboard
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