Federal Communications Commission

Archive for June 2010

Getting It: the FCC's Role in Bringing Broadband to Health Care

June 28th, 2010 by Thomas Buckley - Manager, Rural Health Care Pilot Program

It's nice to hear from someone in the public that the FCC "gets it."

I heard just such a remark in California last month, when I had the opportunity to travel to the California Emergency Technology Fund's Rural Connection Workshop in Redding, California.  CETF, if you are not aware, is a non-profit organization established by the California Public Utilities Commission, which provides leadership throughout the state to accelerate the deployment and adoption of broadband to unserved and underserved communities.

The Workshop provided a forum for community, state, local, and federal leaders to discuss broadband deployment progress made in California as well as obstacles still faced.  I was honored to provide an update on initiatives in the FCC's Rural Health Care Universal Service Program, including the Rural Health Care Pilot Program, and to hear the many helpful ideas and comments from attendees.

In case you haven't heard of the FCC's Pilot program, here's what it does in a nutshell: it helps build high-speed broadband connections that connect public and non-profit rural health clinics with medical centers in larger communities.  The Pilot is funding projects that will be able to provide rural America with real-time consultations with medical experts at research hospitals, using telemedicine to save lives and money, and bring other benefits that only robust broadband connections can bring in the information-intense world of health care.

I updated the attendees on the progress of the California Telehealth Network Pilot Project, which is eligible for $22 million under the Pilot Program to deploy a new state-wide network that plans to connect over 900 health care providers to facilitate mental illness counseling and improve patient-physician interaction for rural Californians.  Isolation makes treatment and preventive services a challenge.  The new network will address real problems for rural Californians who suffer disproportionately from depression, hypertension, asthma and cardiovascular disease. 

For this audience of rural health technologists, I held up the California project an excellent model of state-wide collaboration of healthcare, technology, government, and other stakeholders to bring the benefits of health IT throughout the state.  Example: some of the key groups of this project are the University of California Office of the President, and the UC Davis Health System, which serves as the legally and financially responsible partner for the project.  The project has also received a $3.3M pledge from the California Emerging Technology Fund and has been granted partial reimbursement for monthly network connection costs by the California Teleconnect Fund program of the California Public Utility Commission.  In April, AT&T won the bidding to deploy the network, and the project is now finalizing its funding commitment request.  Bottom line: the California Telehealth Network shows what states can accomplish when they combine resources to reach as many rural health care providers as possible so that health IT can improve health care delivery in rural areas.

It was when my presentation focused on the longer term goals for the Rural Health Care Program that the audience member chimed in.  I explained the lessons learned from the Pilot Program and the recommendations of the National Broadband Plan to create a permanent infrastructure program, transform our Internet Access Fund into a Broadband Access Fund, and fund data centers and administrative offices because they  are critical to delivering health IT.  It was this vision that prompted the audience member to say the FCC "gets it." 

We want to keep getting it.  So the Commission at its July 15 meeting will be voting on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which asks for public input on how best to improve, reform and expand the Rural Health Care program based on recommendations in the National Broadband Plan and on what we've learned from the Pilot. Meanwhile, you can post any ideas you have on using broadband to save lives and deliver health care efficiently on this blog.

Cross-posted to The Official FCC Blog.

Connecting America’s Stories: Investing in Intelligent Infrastructure

June 28th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

In order to provide our country with the broadband access it demands we need to build our infrastructure.  The National Broadband Plan looked at ways that local, state and federal governments could make changes that would fundamentally change how our nation’s infrastructure is built.

Of all of the stories we got from you, the most common complaint was that broadband lines just weren’t reaching your homes and businesses.  By engaging communities, governments and citizens in the effort, we can change that.

This video discusses the possibilities that smart infrastructure planning can have for communities today and in the future.

Thomas Koutsky, Senior Advisor for the Network Deployment Team on the National Broadband Task Force

You wouldn’t build a road in a city today without thinking about storm water drainage and sewers.  The same thing should be true for broadband.  We need to get to the place in this country when somebody’s building a road they are thinking about the broadband needs and demands of today and the future, for the community that that road serves. 

Vic in Rogersville, Alabama

I live in a semi-rural area of northwest Alabama. DSL via a telephone line is the only broadband Internet that I have access to. I am at the end of the DSL service area and those beyond me, which is most of the people in our area, only have dial-up. Indeed, getting a clear dial-tone is considered a minor miracle around here. We have no other option for broadband. There is no cable company, or any other company, that serves our rural area.

The plan talks about the very practical possibility that schools and community centers can serve as anchor institutions, helping surrounding customers by enabling broadband access.  Tom Kousky explains:

It’s very easy to get in back of the principle of ‘let’s connect a school to the internet.’ But to recognize that in the process of doing that, you could really drive down the cost of connecting the neighboring business…  Getting communities to think about the shared broadband destiny that they have: To utilize institutions such as community colleges, libraries, community centers, really as launching off points for bringing fiber optic connectivity deeper into communities and then leveraging that so that surrounding businesses and consumers can actually use them and experience higher broadband availability as a result.

Penny in Cambria, California

I live in a semi rural area but luckily live fairly close to a large university which enables to me to have fast internet - my job demands that I pay a premium of $80.00 a month to have 25mbs download and 3mbs upload. I am the exception in my area. Once you go inland 2-3 miles from where I live no internet access is available except through a telephone line.

I have seen first-hand how this has effected our town and our children. Most of the children are semi-computer illiterate. The children have seen one at school but have not had the opportunity to really grasp the technology. These kids are at a huge disadvantage compared to other industrialized nations that not only have broadband for all but have super fast connections.

Businesses without connections feel the pain deeply too.

Catherine in North Sutton, New Hampshire

I run a small hospitality business (we own a bed & breakfast) and it is absolutely essential that I have internet accessibility. People prefer to book "online" or ask questions through email. My concern is that rural areas such as ours are overlooked. Our ISP is terrible--sometimes we are without connection for days. There is no one else to go to. I have been told it is a "capacity" issue in our area.  My concern is that because of the cost of infrastructure changes and the fact that we are a small community, they are just not doing anything about it. I know I am losing business when I can't respond to a client inquiry. I know I am losing business when a guest at our establishment can't access the internet. I know I am losing business when I am unable to make a reservation because I can't "connect" to the internet.

A task force of local, state, federal and tribal governments to address how to make changes in the way infrastructure is approached across the nation is a part of the plan’s recommendations.  Check out the Broadband Action Agenda for next steps that are being taken and other recommendations for building broadband infrastructure.

Connecting America’s Stories: The Future of Health Care

June 25th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

High-speed broadband can help doctors and hospitals deliver state-of-the-art care, particularly to the underserved communities most in need.

Last week, the FCC announced a joint meeting with the FDA to discuss how to implement the Broadband Plan’s recommendation to get innovative wireless medical devices to consumers as quickly and safely as possible.

As exciting as this is, it is just a hint at the possibilities that broadband innovation holds for health care in America.  For example, telemedicine is a promising field that can help rural communities stay safe and healthy.

Neil in Abilene, Texas

Citizens of rural Texas communities have very little, if any, access to professional medical care. Telemedicine brings critically needed medical care to rural communities; however, without broadband services Telemedicine is physically impossible.

Medical providers are willing to see patients over a Telemedicine system, the technology exists to make Telemedicine a reality, and patients are willing to see providers via Telemedicine. Until a broadband system is in place to provide the needed bandwidth Telemedicine will never reach the citizens that truly need the services. Rural Texas needs the bandwidth to make Telemedicine a reality for these small communities that otherwise may not have a hospital, doctor, clinic, or other healthcare provider.

Access to health care and information is an issue for many providers as well.  Without broadband, health care professionals can be stifled in their work and professional development.

Betsy in Morgantown, West Virginia

As a faculty member in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy and also as President, West Virginia Pharmacists Association, I applaud the government for recognizing the vital role that establishing targeted nationwide, Broadband access has in health care.

Studies have shown consistently that pharmacists are the most accessible health care provider and that patients access their pharmacist many more times per week than other health care providers. However, limited access to Internet (many times due to geographic difficulties) in West Virginia makes timely use of important Internet based drug and medical information resources difficult.

As all pharmacists in WV, I am required by newly passed 2010 state law to have access to our state's online Controlled Substances Monitoring Program. This program serves to provide a database of patient prescription information, as it relates to "filled prescriptions" for controlled substances, to decrease patient misuse and divergence of controlled substances. However, I can not access the Internet site on a consistent basis to effectively utilize the resource. In addition, I am required to document my patient care responsibilities for patients I see through our state insurance program's (PEIA) Diabetes Face-to-Face Program. Again, my access is so slow that I can not provide timely documentation of the patient care services that I provide.

The National Broadband Plan is exciting to me because it may offer an avenue for fellow pharmacists in WV to have better access to the Internet. This access could improve the safety, welfare, and overall quality of life for the patients that I serve. With improved access, I will be able to better serve my patients with timely, accurate responses to their medication and health related questions and ensure a safer medication use system in my area.

The National Broadband Plan can help drive real health care reform, but we must continue making strides towards greater accessibility and affordability of both health care and broadband services. Please continue to share your stories with us and check out the broadband plan to learn about the recommendations for health care.

Momentum Building for FCC Plan to Deliver Cutting-Edge Public Safety Network

June 24th, 2010 by Jennifer Manner - Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Momentum is building for the FCC’s plan – outlined in the National Broadband Plan – to deliver the nationwide, cutting-edge, wireless public safety network America’s first responders need. Just since May, we have granted 21 waiver petitions for early builds of this critical network in a range of areas from New York State to Pembroke Pines, Florida to Seattle, Washington. These early network deployments will help us identify issues and sound, practical solutions in our efforts to deploy a public safety broadband network across the United States, covering 99 percent of the population. 

What has been most interesting and encouraging is the support we’ve been receiving from the public safety and technical communities, industry, and opinion leaders for moving forward with our plan.  For example, as we approach the ninth anniversary of 9/11, it is important to note that the Chair, Thomas Kean and Vice Chair, Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission have endorsed the FCC’s plan:

“The 9/11 Commission on which we served concluded that the absence of interoperable communications capabilities among public safety organizations at the local, state, and federal levels was a problem of the highest order.  Unfortunately, we have made little progress in solving this problem until now.  The Commission's proposed plan offers a clear roadmap for finally reaching that goal.  It will provide public safety users throughout the country with access to wireless broadband capabilities that will enable them to communicate effectively across departments and jurisdictions, while encouraging public safety to partner with commercial providers and leverage the investments they already have made.  It also calls for the public funding that is needed to help build, operate, and maintain the public safety network.”

To provide the technical underpinnings of our plan, we recently released a white paper on the capacity and performance needs of a 21st century public safety network.  This paper has been endorsed by four former FCC chief technologists and a large coalition representing well-over 200 companies, tens of thousands of jobs, and billions of  dollars of investment in our mobile broadband future.

Coalition for 4G in America (including Sprint Nextel Corporation, T-Mobile USA, Inc., the Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc., the Rural Cellular Association, Xanadoo Company, Access Spectrum, LLC, and Clearwire, Corp.):  “The Coalition for 4G in America applauds the Commission for engaging in a comprehensive analysis of the capacity needs for users of the interoperable public safety broadband networks recommended in the National Broadband Plan. The Coalition supports the Commission’s findings and endorses the assumptions that lead the Commission to conclude in the Capacity Study that 10 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band can meet the day-to-day capacity needs of the public safety community.

In light of the 700 MHz band’s superior radio frequency propagation characteristics, the allocation of 10 MHz in that band will provide public safety with ample coverage and capacity when used in cellular network architecture. Additionally, the near uniform adoption of spectrally efficient broadband technology across the entire 700 MHz band could allow public safety users to roam with priority access on adjacent commercial networks during surges in bandwidth demand. As explained below, the Coalition agrees with the central findings of the Capacity Study that site density, spectrally efficient technology, and roaming with priority access are critical inputs in maximizing the capacity of interoperable public safety broadband networks…”

Dale Hatfield, Former FCC Chief OET and adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado:  “Fortunately, in my opinion, legislation along the lines that have been set forth in the staff draft coupled with recommendations and analyses presented in the National Broadband Plan….provide the necessary policy direction, funding resources, and analytical framework to ensure the successful deployment of such a nationwide network.  I am in general agreement with the analysis contained in [the Capacity White Paper]…in terms of priority access and roaming…[this] is consistent with my strongly held belief that better spectrum management requires more dynamic sharing of the increasingly scarce resource.” 

Stagg Newman, Former FCC Chief Technologist:  “The Capacity White Paper provides the fact driven analysis that can drive cost effective policy decisions.  This paper clearly demonstrates the value of the incentivized partnership as the wise use of taxpayer dollars…
1)  10 MHz of broadband dedicated spectrum is certainly enough spectrum to meet public safety foreseeable day-to-day demand; and
2)  PS broadband applications, particularly incident video, requires a high density cellular network because of distance limitations.

The cost effective approach to meeting both needs above is to light-up public safety's broadband spectrum while sharing cell site and fiber infrastructure.  The country cannot afford to build a new totally stand-alone dense cellular public safety network to support only 1 Million or so users when each national cellular player supports many 10s of millions of users on its infrastructure.  The country can afford to give and should give public safety their own "lane" on the wireless broadband superhighway, i.e. dedicated spectrum on a shared broadband infrastructure.  Now is the time for Congress and the FCC to make some tough decisions and implement the FCC's recommendations for the national public safety broadband infrastructure.  In particular now is the time to appropriate the money needed to build a broadband public safety infrastructure in conjunction with the build-out of the commercial 4G Infrastructure in the U.S.”

Dave Farber, Former FCC Chief Technologist:  said the FCC deserves credit for a plan that offers a solution beyond throwing more spectrum at a problem. "They looked at the demand, looked at what was available and I thought came up with a very intelligent approach," Farber said. Some public safety groups are "rooted in the old way of thinking," he added. "There will always be protests against anything you do."

This week, we appointed twenty state and local public safety officials to our technical advisory committee, formed to advise the FCC’s Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC). This center will help ensure that public safety can communicate with one another across agencies and departments, and geographies.  This is all in addition to seeking public comment on interoperability rules and opening the filing window for the waiver recipients to make interoperability showings.  We are also seeking public comment on the proposed budget of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, the public safety broadband licensee to administer the leases for the early builders of the public safety broadband network. 

As we continue to progress with a creating a regulatory regime to enable the deployment of the public safety broadband network, we have recently received the following support:

Chuck Canterbury, President, National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP):  “The FOP supports the National Broadband Plan…and its strategic outline for the creation of a fully interoperable national network for public safety….The FOP agrees with the most recent conclusions of the FCC’s white paper, entitled, The Public Safety Nationwide Interoperable Broadband Network, A New Model for Capacity, Performance and Cost, which shows that the current spectrum dedicated to the Public Safety Broadband Licensee (PSBL) will provide the capacity and performance necessary for day-to-day communications and serious emergency situations…..The two largest public safety organizations, the FOP and our colleagues at the International Association of Fire Fighters…do not believe that the FCC’s vision or the overarching goal of establishing a national public safety broadband network depends on the D block being added to [the public safety license]…..The existing spectrum, along with…enhanced roaming on the commercial networks…would allow public safety agencies to operate across jurisdictional boundaries during emergencies in which greater capacities were needed….Capacity is not the only issue—an honest assessment of the needs and the cost to use that capacity effectively are equally important….”

Jonathan Moore, International Association of Fire Fighters:  “The public safety broadband network…outlined in the National Broadband Plan, will help assure that public safety has adequate capacity while providing first responders with resilient, hardened and affordable coverage…we believe that the ten megahertz currently allocated to public safety, combined with roaming and priority access on the D block and other commercial networks, will provide public safety with adequate capacity for everyday use as well as large-scale emergencies.  Furthermore, because such partnerships will be required to meet the….requirements established by ERIC, which itself will be advised by public safety, we have confidence that they will meet public safety’s mission critical standards….Leveraging commercial technologies…is expected to reduce the cost of devices to public safety….Lastly, by auctioning the D block, the FCC plan provides public safety with a true competitive choice among commercial partners, as well as the more competitive network rates which would follow.”

Brian Fontes, National Emergency Numbering Association:  “In NENA’s opinion, having access to a nationwide public safety broadband network with significant funding for construction, maintenance and operation of the network, with a guarantee of roaming and priority access, is a workable approach.”

Steve Berry, President and CEO, Rural Cellular Association:  “The FCC got it right!  Spectrum alone will not satisfy public safety’s needs - a new broadband technology with interoperable devices and funds to build the network is the best prescription.  I am pleased with the FCC’s report, and we can only hope that public safety takes advantage of this unique opportunity.”

Joe Hanley, Technology Planning and Service, Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (US Cellular):   “Support the….proposal to auction the D block and use the proceeds to fund a nationwide, interoperable broadband network.  A commercial auction of reasonably-sized D Block licenses followed by negotiated public/private partnerships will help meet both public safety and commercial broadband goals….A commercial auction of the D Block with an obligation for 700 MHz licenses to provide roaming access to public safety along with the option of public/private partnerships is the best path forward….commercial use [of the D block] may be essential to driving the necessary volumes of handsets and other devices need by public safety.  And as commercial use of this spectrum rises, the prices for public safety handsets should continue to decline…U.S. Cellular strongly supports the FCC’s plan for a commercial auction of D Block licenses followed ideally by shared public safety/commercial network partnerships.  With the PSBL spectrum, adequate funding and opportunities to negotiate with multiple commercial operators in a region, public safety entities will be in a strong position to develop favorable arrangements with D block and other 800 MHz licensees or develop public safety-only networks if they so choose.”

Coleman Bazelon, Brattle Group:  “The D block should be auctioned for unrestricted commercial uses and public safety’s needs should be directly funded.”

We are at a critical juncture.  We must move forward now with the deployment of the nationwide interoperable public safety network in order to realize this vision. In the end, under the FCC plan, public safety will have access to the latest wireless technologies, including handsets at commercially competitive prices that can be used across the 700 MHz band.  This will be particularly critical on those really bad days when first responders need additional capacity to respond to emergencies beyond the spectrum dedicated for their use. No longer will public safety be left behind the times or stuck on a technological island with outdated, expensive equipment they cannot afford to upgrade or replace.  Public safety will no longer be a bystander in the broadband revolution; they will have the opportunity to be part of future technological innovations, keeping pace with the latest broadband technologies for years to come.

Connecting America’s Stories: A Faster, less Frustrating Future

June 24th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

This is the third in a series of three posts on spectrum and the National Broadband Plan, and your stories.

Innovation requires investment, and plenty of space to grow. Right now in America, we have the opportunity to secure that space – namely, spectrum – for generations to come. But given the rate of technological change, we need more than a plan for today, we need a plan for the future.

That plan must be built on a solid foundation of data, so the FCC has released a tool for consumers to measure their actual broadband speeds – and compile data speeds in the FCC’s national dataset. 

Jordan Usdan, Program Manager and Attorney Advisor, National Broadband Task Force

We’ve rolled out our initial two tools on, which allow you to measure your upload and download speed, your latency, which is the delay between your computer and the testing server, and also the jitter, which is the difference in the delay. 

And we’ve also released a mobile tool, so on iPhone and Android you can download the FCC app from their stores and you can get your download and upload speed and your latency on that as well, and test in different locations.

The actual performance of broadband has very real consequences for Americans.

Cherish in Mapleton, Minnesota

I currently have 'broadband'. My test results were 116k and I pay nearly $80 a month - I would call that neither broadband, nor affordable.  There have been literally no advances in my area in the past ten years and I often feel like I'm getting left behind culturally, socially and economically.

When I lived where I had high speed access I used to have a small online business. I had to give that up when I moved because I just don't have the extra time/patience it takes to upload photos or answer customer questions. I've come to dread Mondays 'around the water cooler' chats when everyone is discussing the latest viral video that I couldn't watch because my internet is too slow for it to load. I'm tired of living in one of the broadbandless ghettos of this great nation and any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

The National Broadband Plan’s spectrum team took a hard look at the future of broadband – especially mobile broadband. There are some exciting things happening that will shape the future of communications in our country. 

This video discusses the past and future of some cutting edge broadcast technologies.

One that is going on right now is the roll out of 4G – 4th Generation – mobile technology.

Tom Peters, Chief Engineer, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau explains the migration from 1G to 4G.

We start with 1G and that was analog voice, a technology called amps.  It was very basic, beginning cellular telephone technology.

Then went to 2G and 2G really represented digitization of the cellular cycle.  It was still primarily voice, and it was still primarily what we call “circuit-switched,” meaning whenever you have a connection from your phone to the base station, you have a specific circuit and you have that circuit whether you are using that bandwidth or not.
3G offered some packetization of the resources [allowing information to be sent in “packets” and more people to use the same connection] – speeds got faster. 

When you go to 4G, what you’re getting to is the internet model, where everything is IP based, everything is packet based, even voice.  It’s a very simple architecture… compatible with the internet… without the need for intermediate steps.  With newer technologies they are able to use the network resources more efficiently, and give more people more bandwidth, more speed, more of the time. 

While the efficiency of 4G will be a boon to mobile communications, it isn’t enough.  So engineers are working on ideas to use our spectrum in a more efficient way than ever before – by utilizing what they call “white space.” Tom explains:

Several companies see a lot of unused spectrum and they see that they might be able to build a business around it. The trick is not interfering with the broadcast television… There are a couple of ways that could be done.  It’s really by putting intelligence in the radio.

One way to do it is this thing called “cognitive radio” – where the radio is smart enough to say, “Hey, I can hear channel 23 and I hear it at a signal level that is above a certain threshold – I’m smart enough to know that I can’t transmit on channel 23 because of that.  I’ll find another frequency that is below this threshold and I’ll transmit on that one instead.”

Another way to do it is by using GPS and a database of locations.  In that scenario the device will say, “Okay, I’ve got my coordinates from the GPS, I know where I am.  Here’s my database of frequencies that I’m allowed to transmit on from this location.” As you can imagine it’s a very, very large database, and it’s dynamic, it can be changing a lot of the time.

Spectrum is an invaluable resource of the American people.  You can count on very careful consideration and cooperation by the government, industry and the public to ensure that America’s spectrum policy provides the best opportunities for innovation and prosperity for decades to come.


Transitioning Lifeline to Broadband: A Roundtable

June 22nd, 2010 by Elise Kohn

Since they were established in 1980s, the FCC’s Lifeline and Link Up programs have made telephone service more affordable for low-income consumers.  (Lifeline reduces the monthly bill and Link Up reduces the cost of the initial connection.) They have helped the nation achieve its goal of connecting nearly all Americans to telephone service.  So with the next big goal facing us – connecting all Americans to broadband – it seemed logical to update these two programs for the broadband era, and the National Broadband Plan recommended doing just that.  Recommendation 9.1 says the FCC “should expand Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up America to make broadband more affordable for low-income households.”  The Plan also recommends that the evolution start with pilot programs to make sure that the changes will increase broadband adoption in low-income communities.  Well, that process begins now with a June 23 roundtable convening to discuss the design of pilot programs.  It’s open to the public at FCC headquarters, but if you can’t join us, watch online at, either live or in the archive. And we welcome your comments here.

Stakeholder Meetings

June 22nd, 2010 by Edward Lazarus - Chief of Staff

Since the D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Comcast Internet-discrimination case more than two months ago, there has been a vibrant debate among stakeholders from all parts of the broadband community on the best path forward. Some stakeholders have shared their ideas with staff at the Commission, including ideas for legislative options. Senior Commission staff are making themselves available to meet with all interested parties on these issues. To the extent stakeholders discuss proposals with Commission staff regarding other approaches outside of the open proceedings at the Commission, the agency’s ex parte disclosure requirements are not applicable. But to promote transparency and keep the public informed, we will post notices of these meetings here at As always, our door is open to all ideas and all stakeholders.

Ex Parte Meeting Notices:
June 22, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
June 22, 2010 - Alcatel-Lucent
June 23, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
June 22 and 23, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
June 23, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
June 24, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
June 24, 2010 - Motion Picture Association of America, Inc
June 24, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
June 24, 2010 - AT&T Services, Inc
June 24, 2010 - Time Warner Cable
June 29, 2010 - Sprint Nextel Corporation
June 29, 2010 - Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
June 29, 2010 - XO Communications
June 29, 2010 - PAETEC
June 30, 2010 - Public Knowledge
July 1, 2010 - Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
July 1, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
July 1, 2010 - Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC
July 2, 2010 - Tekelec
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - Free Press
July 6, 2010 - Leap Wireless International, Inc
July 7, 2010 - US Telecom Association
July 8, 2010 - Consumers Union
July 8, 2010 - Writers Guild of America, West
July 8, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 12, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
July 13, 2010 - XO Communications, LLC
July 14, 2010 - National Cable & Telecommunications Association
July 14, 2010 - Google, Inc
July 15, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc
July 16, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc
July 19, 2010 - National Cable & Telecommunications Association
July 19, 2010 - Motion Picture Association of America, Inc
July 20, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc
July 20, 2010 - CTIA - The Wireless Association
July 20, 2010 - Leap Wireless International, Inc
July 21, 2010 - Leap Wireless International, Inc
July 21, 2010 - Media Access Project
July 21, 2010 - AT&T Inc
July 22, 2010 - Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
July 22, 2010 - Free Press
July 22, 2010 - Free Press
July 22, 2010 - Clearwire Corporation
July 23, 2010 - Skype Communications S.A.R.L.
July 23, 2010 - National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
July 23, 2010 - Andrew Jay Schwartzman
July 26, 2010 - Skype Communications S.A.R.L.
July 26, 2010 - National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
July 27, 2010 - ALA, ARL and EDUCAUSE
July 28, 2010 - AT&T, Inc
July 28, 2010 - Computer & Communications Industry Association
July 29, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
July 29, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
August 1, 2010 - Recording Industry Association of America
August 2, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
August 2, 2010 - Windstream Communications, Inc
August 2, 2010 - Open Technology Initiative
August 2, 2010 - Public Knowledge
August 2, 2010 - Stanford Law School
August 4, 2010 - Verizon
August 5, 2010 - National Cable & Telecommunications Association
August 6, 2010 - Telepoly Consulting

Testing Broadband Speeds

June 21st, 2010 by Joel Gurin - Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

Here at the FCC, we've been working lately on new ways to measure broadband speed and help consumers understand it. We believe that consumers deserve to know what broadband speeds they need for different applications, from email to gaming; what the advertised speeds really mean; and whether they can be sure they're getting the speeds that are advertised. To that end, the FCC is partnering with SamKnows to conduct the first scientific, hardware-based test of broadband performance in America. To help us improve broadband quality in the U.S., volunteer at to sign up for this landmark test. The video below explains how it works and how you can get involved.

 View Transcript

Cross-posted on The Official FCC Blog.

Join The Discussion...

June 17th, 2010 by George Krebs

We're using our online discussion and deliberation platforms to encourage civic participation on the important issues surrounding broadband in America.

Your ideas and comments on issues related to the Broadband Framework NOI will help the agency determine the best legal framework to apply to broadband Internet services.

Follow the links below to make your voice heard:

Vote to Adopt the Broadband Framework Notice of Inquiry

June 17th, 2010 by Christopher Killion

At its public business meeting today, the FCC voted to adopt the Broadband Framework Notice of Inquiry (NOI). This NOI launches an open proceeding through which the agency will seek public comment on issues related to the future of broadband in America.

The NOI seeks input on the best legal framework to apply to broadband Internet services—such as cable modem and telephone company DSL services—in order to promote competition, innovation, and investment in broadband services; to protect consumers; and to implement important aspects of the National Broadband Plan.  A decision in April by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Comcast Corp. v. FCC raised serious questions about the Commission’s ability to rely on its current legal framework—which treats broadband Internet service as solely an “information service”—when moving forward on these policy objectives.

The NOI asks questions about three approaches in particular, while also inviting new ideas.  First, the NOI seeks comment on how the Commission could most effectively perform its responsibilities within the current information service classification.  Second, the NOI asks for comment on the legal and practical consequences of classifying Internet connectivity as a “telecommunications service” to which all the requirements of Title II of the Communications Act (the provisions that apply to telephone-type services) would apply.  Finally, the NOI invites comment on a third way modeled on the successful “Regulatory Treatment of Mobile Services” set out in the Communications Act. Under this third way approach, the Commission would: (i) reaffirm that Internet information services should remain generally unregulated; (ii) identify the Internet connectivity service that is offered as part of wired broadband Internet service (and only this connectivity service) as a telecommunications service; and (iii) forbear under authority Congress provided in the Communications Act from applying all provisions of Title II other than the small number that are needed to implement fundamental universal service, competition, and consumer protection policies that have received broad support. 

The NOI also seeks comment on the appropriate classification of wireless broadband Internet services, as well as on other discrete issues, including the states’ role with respect to broadband Internet service.  The NOI does not contemplate a change in the Commission’s treatment of, or authority over, Internet content, applications, or services.

The Broadband Framework NOI commences a thorough, objective examination of a topic that is being debated in the pages of the press, in the blogosphere, and at industry conferences.  We look forward to hearing your views. 

Cross-posted to The Official FCC Blog.

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