Members of Congress Send Letter to Wheeler on Spectrum Auction
Members of Congress Send Letter to Wheeler on Spectrum Auction

I recently read the letter that 78 Members of Congress sent this week to FCC Chairman Wheeler about some important issues related to the upcoming spectrum incentive auction.  The Members want to ensure that the auction meets the critically important spectrum provisions in the... Read The Story...

Archive for July, 2012

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NARUC: Telecommunications in 2020  

I had the opportunity to attend an interesting panel discussion at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioner’s Conference (NARUC) in Portland, Oregon last week. The topic addressed the question, what’s the vision of telecommunications in 2020?

One message that was loud and clear from panelist Joel Lubin of AT&T: we are moving to an all-broadband world for our telecommunications, and as a result, more spectrum is needed. Other panelists also had spectrum front and center on their minds. Google’s policy counsel Patrick Ryan said that wireless spectrum reform will dominate in the next several years.

Lubin doesn’t want regulation to impede innovation — an important point– and stressed that it’s important to keep it all simple. Massachusetts State Commissioner Why defended basic consumer protections, including services such as E911. It was an interesting discussion on some important issues that I’m sure we will continue to hear about as we look forward to the future of telecommunications services.

One general session that I found most interesting brought two industries together — electricity and wireless — to discuss how they work together to operate the smart grid. The panel reviewed some of the similarities and differences in the two industries, and then how they work together to bring the benefits of smart grid technology to consumers: energy efficiencies, reliability, customer home energy management, etc.

And wouldn’t you know it? Even in this session, concerns about the looming spectrum crunch were raised. With wireless technologies an important element of the smart grid, it is important that there be adequate spectrum for utility use. While we know that the increasing growth in mobile data usage and demand by consumers is leading to the need for more spectrum, it was interesting to think of yet another need for more spectrum: to power-up the smart grid.

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Smartphone Adoption Continues Rapid Growth  

A newly released study by comScore reveals that smartphone adoption continues to grow rapidly in the U.S. Nearly half — 47.5% — of the phone subscribers who purchased a device in April 2012 bought a smartphone. According to the study, as of April 2012, 110 million Americans own smartphones; up 44% from the previous year. The comScore study found that 61.5% of subscribers purchased an Android device, 25.2 an Apple device, 7.1 a device operating on a Microsoft platform, and 4.8 a RIM device.

The rapidly growing number of smartphone owners are also using and demanding more data from their mobile devices. While all this user demand is great, it also has led to a need for more spectrum. It’s important for government to continue the effort to find quick solutions to meet the need for more spectrum as soon as possible.

Check out the comScore press release for more stats on the study:

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MMTC Raises Telecom Act Rewrite  

At the MMTC Telecommunications Conference in Washington, D.C. last week, there were several references to a “re-do” of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. MMTC’s president David Honig announced that MMTC would initiate an effort to work with others to make sure that diversity issues were well represented in a rewrite of the Act.

The National Urban League’s President and CEO, Marc Morial, also spoke about the Telecommunications Act during his luncheon remarks. He stressed that it is a necessary action, and then spoke of the need for a bold twenty-first century broadband infrastructure.

While an update — or “redo” — of the Telecommunications Act by Congress is not an easy task, I agree with Honig that it is important that diversity issues be incorporated into any rewrite. As Marc Morial stated, diversity is in the public interest.

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