Technology

Getting illegal bus companies off the road

When a passenger steps on board a bus to begin a trip, they need to know that the bus they are on is safe and in good working order, the driver has met all the current certifications and the bus company is reputable and operates within the law.

On June 13, I, along with Federal Motor Coach Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro and three others, testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee about ways to make bus travel safer. We at the American Bus Association are working closely with members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee, the FMCSA and all other interested parties as Congress continues its work on the new, six-year transportation reauthorization bill.

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Agriculture’s real challenge

We have it pretty good in America. When we're hungry, we can run to the nearest restaurant or grocery store for our favorite burger or salad. When we need a snack we head to the neighborhood convenience store on the corner. We live in a country where we enjoy the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply in the world, right at our fingertips.

Our ability to largely find what we want, when we want it is in large part due to the hard work and innovation of America's farmers, ranchers and growers. Today, each agriculture producer is responsible for supplying food for more than 150 people. That's a modern miracle many of us take for granted. However, there's more for them to do.

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Expanded wireless broadband: A necessity for rural America

This week, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association was in Washington to discuss policy issues of utmost importance to the communities across the country it represents. This included delivering support for policies that can accelerate adoption of the potential social and business benefits advanced mobile broadband networks will bring to rural and harder-to-reach areas across the nation.
 
Our nation’s ranchers and farmers rely on modern technology. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as we’ve been tasked with the role of helping to feed a growing world. We don’t take that challenge lightly, and technology helps achieve the efficiencies necessary to fulfill that goal.

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Television for the 21st century

Eyes were wide when television was unveiled at the 1939 World’s Fair. Incredulous onlookers were so suspicious of the technology that a glass TV set had to be constructed, an attempt to convince skeptics that the product was not a hoax. But the awestruck were right to be wary. Social upheaval was soon to follow.

Television signals traveled the path then efficient: terrestrial broadcasting. That drew in regulators to supervise airwave use. They seized the opportunity to police not simply the mundane conflicts of overlapping emissions, but to design the market. The TV Allocation Table of 1952 defined a paradox: huge bandwidth was set aside for broadcasting, but very few licenses were issued. Competitive forces were quashed. Indeed, when a fledgling fourth national broadcast network - DuMont - challenged NBC, CBS and ABC, it was extinguished by 1955. Cause of death: regulation.  

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Embracing the new media landscape

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to contact your member of Congress, you mailed them a letter or picked up your home phone and called their office. Today you can send a text from your mobile phone or an email from your iPad. In a little over a decade, the Internet has revolutionized the relationship between elected representatives and their constituents. Now, almost every member has a “digital office” and online presence with virtual office hours to serve constituents around the clock.

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The keys to safe shipment of batteries

Attention to the U.S. government’s failure to promptly update regulation of the air transportation of lithium batteries is well deserved, but the criticism of recent congressional efforts to address the issue is misdirected. Virtually all experts agree that the key to effective regulation is consistency. But the United States has dawdled for more than two years to bring our regulations up to the more stringent international standards. Congress should act now to assure that this is done.

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Building intelligent cities

With an estimated 1 million people moving into cities each week, experts predict that the population in the world’s cities will double by 2050. Already more than half of the world’s population lives in an urban area. This rapid urbanization poses both opportunities and challenges for cities and their residents. Cities face aging infrastructure, declining budgets, changing demographics and increasing threats. At the same time, information and communication technology offers our cities the possibility to understand and diagnose their problems. They can be better places to live and work if they embed intelligence into their operations – and that’s starting to happen.

Today, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., is hosting a forum to illuminate some of the ways cities can get smarter using information and communication technology, even in these times of fiscal restraint.

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Will the FCC stay committed to rural America?

Almost every month, a new telecommunications innovation is launched that has a profound impact on our lives.

Lately we’ve seen the impact of these telecommunication changes in ways we never could have imagined. In past months we’ve witnessed the Egyptian government being toppled by citizens using their cell phones to organize mass rallies and send videos of shocking violence against the demonstrators around the world. And in just recent days we learned it was through sophisticated tracking of a cell phone that led our soldiers to Osama bin Laden’s doorstep in Pakistan. In both cases, a broadband wireline network infrastructure transported these important communications and changed history.

Nearly every day, billions of citizens around the globe are using their telephones, both land line and mobile, in ordinary and extraordinary ways, empowering them to do new and different things. This is possible because their governments have made access to telecommunications a priority.

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Wireless competition

The irony of America’s entrepreneurial spirit is that today’s innovator too often becomes tomorrow’s obstructionist, using litigation and political influence to protect themselves from the same competitive forces that first brought them success. A fight in today’s telecom industry is proving that to be as true in the information age as it was in the industrial age.

In the early 19th century, steamship companies revolutionized transportation. But less than half a century later they were using law suits and lobbying to block an emerging challenger – the railroad.  Ultimately a combination of market forces and government policy focused on mutual development supported the creation of an integrated network that propelled U.S. economic growth.

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Points to consider before the AT&T and T-Mobile merger hearing

As we approach Thursday's House Judiciary Committee hearing on the acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T, I have been reflecting on what we heard during and after last week’s Senate hearing on this topic and am wondering what the House will consider when it is inquiring about the proposed transaction. Here are some questions I would ask:

− How can we most quickly address changing wireless customer demands?

− How competitive is the wireless market?

− Do you think Deutsche Telekom sees a possible future in America considering that Deutsche Telekom has said they are no longer investing in their U.S. business?

− Is there a historical precedent in the U.S. wireless industry that prices increase following mergers?

− What will happen to T-Mobile customers and employees with and without the merger?

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