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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...

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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 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.  The three primary goals of that Act are to 1) fund a public safety network, 2) meet consumers growing demand for mobile broadband by re-purposing broadcast spectrum, and 3) generate funds to reduce the national debt.

The Members emphasized in their letter that it is important for the FCC to maximize participation in the spectrum auction by both broadcasters (to relinquish their spectrum) and bidders.  It states, “in fact, inviting as many bidders as possible to compete in an open and fair auction on equal terms will allow for the full market price for spectrum to be realized and, in turn, lead to higher compensation to incent greater broadcaster participation resulting in more spectrum for the auction.”

The success of the spectrum auction is an important issue for consumers.  As the letter from the Members of Congress indicates, more spectrum is needed to meet the exploding consumer demand for new and innovative mobile broadband technologies.   The wireless industries’ ability to innovate and continue to meet the needs of its wireless consumers will depend on the availability of spectrum.  The letter from the Members of Congress highlights the major issues of importance for the upcoming spectrum auction.

 
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ITIF Panel: Tech Innovations on the Road  

I attended a panel discussion, hosted by ITIF (The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation), all about how the world of transportation is undergoing a dramatic transformation thanks to innovations in technology.

A panel of representatives from both the automotive industry and the tech world spoke about how the transportation industry has begun to incorporate technologies that help make our cars safer, while also reducing some problems such as traffic congestion.  Consumers need to care about the delivery of these new innovative technologies, because they make our cars safer with many exciting new features.  The industry is finding that consumers are increasingly demanding connected car.

A hot topic on the panel is that we are now connecting everything, or as Mary Brown of Cisco stated, we are in a time of the “Internet of Everything” and our cars are definitely a part of this connected world.  With these connected cars, and other IT devices, comes a greater demand on spectrum – and everything needs to be “enabled.”  Brown emphasized  it is critical that we get a sufficient amount of spectrum for the Internet of today and tomorrow; more spectrum is needed.

In addition to the panel discussion, we had an opportunity to see a demonstration of a new concept vehicle from Toyota, the i-Road.  It is a new front-drive, zero emission, and electric powered vehicle.  It will be helpful in reducing congestion in urban areas.  I’ve included a picture of the i-Road below.

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ITIF also released a paper on this topic, “The Road Ahead: The Emerging Policy Debates for IT in Vehicles.”

 
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New Survey on Older Adults and Internet Use  

There was an interesting event on the topic of older adults and technology use this week that presented some initial findings from a survey conducted by John Horrigan, PhD.  The program was hosted by the Advanced Communications Law and Policy Institute (ACLP), at the New York Law School.

Horrigan’s survey and study, “Closing the Digital Divide: How Seniors are Navigating the Digital Divide,” offers some important information regarding how the Internet impacts older individuals’ lives and what they primarily do when they are connected.  Not surprisingly, when older adults are connected and use the Internet, they find it quite valuable to their daily lives.  In response to the question, “How hard would it be to give up one of these devices in your home (Internet, cable, cell phone, landline phone, or newspaper),” more people responded that it would be very hard to give up the Internet – even more difficult than their phone or cable service!  Now that’s value!  Speaking of value, the greatest reason mentioned as to why they subscribed to an Internet service was to make it easier to communicate with family and friends.  Getting – and staying – connected with family and friends is most certainly a top priority for older individuals and the online world is recognized as an excellent tool to help facilitate communications.

Another initial key finding of the survey is that training in using the Internet and digital devices led to higher levels of impact and online use.  Digital literacy programs have been shown to be key components in helping older adults get online – and stay online.

The final study based on the survey results will be released in a couple of weeks and I look forward to reading more about Horrigan’s important findings.

 
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Consumer Resources

Below are additional resources to more information about online privacy.

Consumer Guide to Online Privacy (PDF)
What is 4G Wireless Service? (PDF)
Consumer Online Privacy Survey
2008 Online Safety Survey
bNetS@vvy
www.onguardonline.gov
www.ikeepsafe.org/
www.getnetwise.org
www.fosi.org
www.enough.org

 

Other Organizations

National Caucus and Center on Black Aged:
http://www.ncba-aged.org/

National Consumers League:
http://www.nclnet.org/

 

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