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Chairman Genachowski: The Clock is Ticking

Posted March 16th, 2011 by George Krebs

This morning Chairman Genachowski spoke on spectrum, consumers and America’s small businesses, delivering the keynote address as part of the Mobile Future Forum. He called attention to the growth of broadband in America, the looming spectrum crisis and our solution of voluntary, market-based incentive auctions to free up that spectrum. He emphasized that “we must act” to set the pace for 21st century technology and said, “there’s no other choice than for the U.S. to lead.”

Given the theme, the event was held at Voxiva, a mobile based information solutions firm recently named one of the most innovative companies in the world. Peter Rysavy of Rysavy Research released a report prior to the Chairman’s talk entitled The Spectrum Imperative: Mobile Broadband Spectrum and its impacts for U.S. Consumers and the Economy. Here's an excerpt from the Chairman's speech.

To some, it was a surprise that the Broadband Plan included major sections on mobile broadband.  At the time, many assumed that broadband was what you got when you connected your computer to the modem plugged into your wall.

…Mobile broadband is being adopted faster than any computing platform in history.  The number of smartphones and tablets being sold now exceeds the number of PCs.

The Mobile Future report released this morning puts a fine point on this.  According to their report, quote, “The clock is ticking, with rising demand rapidly closing the gap with existing supply.  The consequences of inaction are severe, widespread and wholly negative for consumers and the U.S. economy.”

The point deserves emphasis:  the clock is ticking on our mobile future. Demand for spectrum is rapidly outstripping supply.  The networks we have today won’t be able to handle consumer and business needs. 

Read the rest of the Chairman’s speech The Clock is Ticking.

Posted in Events Wireless Office Of Chairman Mobile Usf

Demand for mobile broadband

Posted February 10th, 2011 by John Leibovitz

By John Leibovitz & Robert Alderfer

Cisco recently released an update to its Visual Networking Index: Mobile Data Traffic Forecast report, which contains projections of data usage on mobile wireless networks over the next five years. The report is widely followed because Cisco’s role as a network equipment supplier throughout the network ecosystem –  including wireline networks, cellular networks, and consumer WiFi networks – gives them some unique insights into where network trends are heading. Last year’s VNI report, which projected surging demand on wireless networks, was an input into the spectrum demand analysis we released this past fall. We were therefore interested to see how Cisco’s report changed since the prior edition.

The bottom line is that Cisco continues to foresee an enormous surge in wireless demand.  Let’s take a look at their North American regional breakout. Cisco estimates that in 2010, North Americans transmitted 49 Petabytes (PB) per month over mobile networks. That’s about 4,900 times the amount of information in the printed collection of the Library of Congress. By 2015, Cisco expects this number will grow to 986 Petabytes – nearly one Exabyte, equivalent to almost 100,000 Libraries of Congress.

In relative terms, Cisco’s projects 20X growth in the next five years. This is lower than the 47X growth forecast in the previous Cisco report, but only because this year’s forecast starts from a higher “base” compared to the previous year. Overall, Cisco predicts that data growth begins to slow down in out years, but that the growth still continues at an impressive rate. The forecast consumption is 58X larger in 2015 compared to the 2009 estimate reported in last year’s report. Any way you look at it, that’s enormous growth.

Importantly, the report accounts for some offsetting effects, most notably the use of WiFi and femtocell networks to “offload” capacity from the mobile network to a fixed broadband connection. Cisco estimates that about 21% of traffic from smartphones and tablets was offloaded to WiFi or femtocells in 2010 and that this proportion will increase to 30% by 2015. This finding demonstrates the vital importance of unlicensed spectrum in helping address our nation’s wireless capacity needs. Still, overall traffic growth is likely to outpace offloading, according to Cisco’s forecast.

Consider what this astounding growth means to American families, to our economy, and to our future. All of those bits and bytes represent new ways of communicating, informing, and transacting with one another. They are video messages sent to grandparents, invoices sent to customers, and research findings sent to universities. And countless other uses, as diverse as the Internet itself. Our obligation at the FCC is to ensure that our wireless rules are flexible enough so that the supply of spectrum will meet this inexorable demand. That’s what keeps us busy every day.

Posted in Wireless National Broadband Plan Mobile
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Chairman Genachowski and FCC Staff Take In CES 2011

Posted January 10th, 2011 by George Krebs

Tablets and TVs; gadgets and tech-integrated vehicles; tech-enhanced musical instruments and heavily promoted headphones; innovative toys, energy efficient designs and wireless enabled products of all sorts. Sunday concluded a busy span of stunning technology pageantry in Las Vegas. Thousands of booths were set up and over 100,00 interested device enthusiasts arrived from all over the world for the Consumer Electronics Show , known more commonly as CES (or in this ever expanding, 140-character world, #CES).

Chairman Genachowski, all four Commissioners, and a retinue of FCC staff converged on the convention floor. They got a look at technology – from a wide range of companies – on the horizon and a sense of what’s upcoming in the innovation space. Many of the exhibits in sight shouted wireless and they shouted mobile.

On Friday, day two, the Chairman gave a speech on the need for expanded spectrum offerings and then sat down to chat with the host of the event, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro. This is what the Chairman said:

"As evidenced by the trade show floor, the consumer electronics industry is going wireless, and the future success of this industry and our innovation future depends on whether our government acts quickly to unleash more spectrum -- the oxygen that sustains our mobile devices. 

We’re in the early stages of a mobile revolution that is sparking an explosion in wireless traffic.  Without action, demand for spectrum will soon outstrip supply. 

To seize the opportunities of our mobile future, we need to tackle the threats to our invisible infrastructure.  We need to free up more spectrum."

Read the Chairman’s full speech.

As our team makes their way back to Washington, we’ll bring you their takes and some collected insights. For now, enjoy this video from the Washington Post, showing the Chairman touring the CES floor, speaking to the unbounded potential for job growth on display, and managing to get in a quick game of ping-pong using Microsoft’s Kinect.

(Cross posted on Blogband. Please leave comments there.)

Posted in Events FCC Staff Wireless National Broadband Plan Consumers Mobile
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Announcing Generation Mobile, Featuring Jane Lynch

Posted December 9th, 2010 by George Krebs

(Photo credit: LG Text Ed)

You can find them in the most innocent settings. The dinner table, the classroom, during evening homework hour or an otherwise quiet family walk. Clicking, clacking, beeping, buzzing and whirring. This maneuvering marauder? Mobile phones equipped with text messaging. These devices are exploding in use among the current generation and teens seem programmed to use them constantly.

A happy medium exists. Commonsense and responsible use of technology is within reach. To many parents the mobile culture is unfamiliar. We’re hosting a Generation Mobile forum next Tuesday bringing together teens, parents, educators and experts. During this event we’ll do our best to help parents navigate these challenging issues.

We’ll discuss cyberbullying, sexting, over use, privacy, and texting-while-driving. The Pew Internet and American Life project will present their findings from a landmark study, “Kids and Mobile Phones.”

For the Gleeks in the audience we’re pleased that actress and comedienne Jane Lynch, of LG’s Text Ed campaign, will be joining us remotely. Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes the book upon which the movie Mean Girls was based, will join FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in hosting the first panel “Generation Mobile Speaks” featuring teens, parents and educators. The second panel, “Ask the Experts About Generation Mobile” will feature experts from SafetyWeb, Facebook, Sprint and other major mobile and technology players. A full list of panelists and speakers is below.

This event is about you. We’ve lined up an impressive slate of experts for our sessions on kids, teens and mobile phones. What do you want to know when they take the stage Tuesday? We’ve filled in a couple of starter questions to stimulate ideas. Far more importantly we want to hear from you. Type in your question, wait for User Voice to generate and then click “Create New Idea” below the box. Ask your questions now.

We’re honored to be hosted by DC’s own, cutting edge McKinley Technology High School (151 T Street Northeast). The event will take place on Tuesday December 14th from 10am to 1pm ET. If you’re able to join us – free of charge – please RVSP to generationmobile [at] fcc [dot] gov. Since most of you are outside of the DC area we’ll be live streaming this exciting event online at fcc.gov/live. Participate through Twitter using #genmobile.

Stay tuned. We’ll post updates to the agenda and the speaker list as they become available.

Speakers and Panelists Include:

  • Julius Genachowski, FCC Chairman
  • Jane Lynch, Emmy Winning Actress and Spokesperson for the LG Text Ed Council
  • Rosalind Wiseman, Author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, basis for Mean Girls the movie
  • Tim Sparapani, Director of Public Policy, Facebook
  • Parry Aftab, Kids Technology Expert and Creator of Stopcyberbullying.org
  • Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist, Pew Research Center
  • Marsali Hancock, President, Internet Keep Safe Coalition
  • Michael Clark, Co-Founder, SafetyWeb
  • Dr. Michael Levine, Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center
  • Maureen Cooney, Privacy Officer, Sprint
  • Stephen Balkam, CEO, Family Online Safety Institute
  • K. Dane Snowden, Vice President, CTIA
  • Alan Simpson, Vice President, Common Sense Media
  • Lanita Preston, Author and mother of Frank Preston
  • Stacey A. Kopnitsky, Assistant Principal, Cabin John Middle School
  • Dwan Jordon, Principal, Sousa Middle School, Washington, DC
  • And we’ll hear from a panel of teens about how they use mobile technology

Update 12/13 1:26pm ET: Final Agenda for Generation Mobile Program

10:00 a.m.       Welcome, Opening Remarks, Live Chat with Jane Lynch

  • Welcome by David Pinder, Principal, McKinley Technology High School
  • Remarks by Julius Genachowski, Chairman, FCC
  • Live Video Chat with Actress Jane Lynch, LG Text Ed Council 
  • Presentation by Amanda Lenhart, Senior Researcher, Pew Internet Project

10:40 a.m.       Panel I:  Generation Mobile Speaks

  • Rosalind Wiseman, Author and Teen Expert, Member LG Text Ed Council
  • Julius Genachowski, Chairman, FCC


  • Tori Dugger, Senior, McKinley Technology High School
  • Jonathan Harris II, Senior, Dr. Henry A. Wise High School, Upper Marlboro, Md.
  • Erin Maines, Sophomore, Falls Church High School, Falls Church, Va.
  • Frank Preston, Junior, Howard High School, Ellicott City, Md.
  • Lanita Preston, Author and Mother of Frank Preston
  • Stacey A. Kopnitsky, Assistant Principal, Cabin John Middle School, Rockville, Md.
  • Parry Aftab, Executive Director, WiredSafety.org
  • Dwan Jordon, Principal, Sousa Middle School, Washington, D.C.

11:40 a.m.       Panel II: Ask the Experts About Generation Mobile

  • Josh Gottheimer, Senior Counselor to the Chairman, FCC


  • Marsali Hancock, President, Internet Keep Safe Coalition
  • Dr. Michael Levine, Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center 
  • Maureen Cooney, Privacy Officer, Sprint 
  • Michael Clark, Co-Founder, SafetyWeb
  • Dane Snowden, Vice President, External & State Affairs, CTIA
  • Tim Sparapani, Director of Public Policy, Facebook
  • Alan Simpson, Vice President for Policy, Common Sense Media
  • Stephen Balkam, CEO, Family Online Safety Institute

1:00 p.m.         Program Concludes

(Cross posted on Blogband.)

Posted in Events Consumers Office Of Chairman Parents Mobile

Emergencies Abroad: What Do You Dial?

Posted December 1st, 2010 by Mindel DeLaTorre - Chief of the International Bureau

If you're traveling in Europe and suddenly you need to make an emergency call - what do you do?  Dial “112.”  Don’t call 911 as you would in the United States; that number doesn’t work in Europe.  Dialing 112 from any country in the European Union (EU) will connect you to emergency services, such as police, fire, and ambulance services.  (See the list of European Union member countries.)  Dialing 112 could be a life-saver and is completely free.  You can dial 112 from any mobile phone, landline, or payphone.  In most EU countries, the operator will speak both the local language and English (you can find country specific details). 

If you’re traveling to countries outside of Europe, check the State Department website before you depart to identify the emergency calling number in the countries you’ll be traveling to.  These numbers are available from the State Department.  (Click on the specific country, then search under “Information for Victims of Crime.”)  You will see that “112” also is the emergency calling number in many other countries.  But it is not the number everywhere.  For example, the emergency number in South Africa is “10111.”  And in some countries, there may be variations.  In India, the local equivalent to our “911” emergency number is “100,” but “112” also works on mobile phones; and from a mobile phone in South Korea, the number is “02-112.”  Be aware too that in some countries such as Brazil and Haiti, you have to call a different number for different services.  For example, in Brazil, the number for police is “190,” while the number for fire and medical is “193.”  When traveling abroad, also keep in mind that the response times and services available on the other end of the call may be different than those in your local community in the United States.     

Here is additional international travel information that you may find helpful:

Posted in International Bureau Mobile
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Faces of Distracted Driving: The Stories Behind the Statistics

Posted November 17th, 2010 by Ray LaHood

We’re honored to have this guest blog post from Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. This week DOT debuted Faces of Distracted Driving, a web video series that tells the stories behind the statistics.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always so outspoken about the dangers of distracted driving. Like a lot of folks, I just didn't give a lot of thought to it.

But that all changed as I met people from coast to coast who told me about the loved ones they lost in senseless crashes caused by texting and cell phone use behind the wheel. And it was their stories--of dreams shattered and lives cut short--that turned the fight to end distracted driving into my personal crusade.

These people have had a profound effect on me. And I think their stories will have a profound effect on you.

I'm proud to announce "Faces of Distracted Driving," a new online video series featuring people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones to distracted driving.  We're launching this today with three videos, and we'll add a new one every few weeks.

We also invite others who would like to share their stories to post their own videos on YouTube and email a link to faces [at] distraction [dot] gov.

Just last year, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 500,000 more were injured in distracted driving-related crashes.  But, these aren't statistics. They're children and parents, neighbors and friends.

There's 13-year-old Margay Schee, who boarded her school bus and never made it back home.

There's 58-year-old Julie Davis, who never got to meet her 14th grandchild.

And there's 16-year-old Ashley Johnson, whose dream of becoming a psychiatrist will never come true.

From left to right, Margay Schee, Ashley Johnson, and Julie Davis

These lives, and too many others like them, were cut short--not because of malice, but because of carelessness.  And the families they left behind understand the tragic consequences of distracted driving better than anyone.  They will all tell you the same thing: no text or phone call is worth the risk.

So, I hope you'll watch these videos. I hope you'll share them with the people you love. And I hope you'll think of these faces--of Margay, and Ashley, and Julie--when you get into your car and put your cell phone in the glove compartment.

(This is cross-posted from the Department of Transportation's Fastlane Blog.)

Posted in Mobile Guest Post
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Brainstorming: the FCC Mobile App

Posted October 5th, 2010 by Haley Van Dÿck - FCC New Media

Haley Van Dyck The rate of mobile users has sky-rocketed in the past ten years, with over five billion mobile devices world wide.  Today Americans are spending more time online through their phones than ever before, with 6 out of 10 Americans connecting to the Internet through mobile access.

The FCC understands that growth like this makes mobile broadband even more vital in keeping Americans connected. To empower and inform consumers, we released iPhone and Android applications to test mobile broadband speeds. Since the FCC Broadband Speed Test launched in March, over 1.3 million speed test have been run.

As part of our FCC.gov redesign efforts, we’re heading back to the drawing boards to develop more powerful and innovative mobile applications to put in consumers’ hands.

Here's where we need you. We want to hear your ideas for new FCC Mobile Applications. What kinds of functionality could we deliver? Guidelines and precautions for emergency situations? Tools that illuminate the sometimes fuzzy world of consumer electronics and billing? Maps that mash up FCC data with private sector data?

Send us your thoughts on your ideal consumer-focused FCC mobile applications.  You can post your ideas in our forum, or check out ideas from other people and vote on your favorites.

Click here to share your ideas, or post a comment below.

Thanks—we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Reform - Redesign Mobile

Trading in your wallet for your phone

Posted October 5th, 2010 by Linda Pintro - Senior Legal Advisor, International Bureau

(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)

If you can’t remember the last time you were without your cell phone, but you can remember your embarrassment when you forgot your wallet, you’re a good candidate for a mobile wallet. What’s a mobile wallet and where can you get one? Well, get in line.  While all over Japan and Korea, people are waving their telephones over reader pads to pay for everything that you could pay for with cash, checks, or credit cards, we in the U.S. are pretty much still waiting. Even in the developing world mobile banking is allowing cash to travel as quickly as a text message to pay for all kinds of things. By now you’ve guessed that mobile banking is intended to replace your wallet with your cell phone (which for those of us who are trying to downsize our purses is reason enough to consider the option).  For mobile payments to safely and securely catch on in the U.S., consumers, banks, merchants, and carriers must work together.  I’ll be blogging on this subject for a bit, so tune in and join in the discussion, as I look forward to learning from you as well.

Posted in International Bureau Wisenet Mobile
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