Technology

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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?

Read More...

Companies must be vigilant with location-based data

That old commercial asking “It's 11pm. Do you know where your kids are?” came to mind recently when I heard news that technology companies are saving location-based data from mobile phones. Most parents want to know where their kids are at all times - whether they are at school, at a friend’s house, at the mall or at a game. However, I think most parents are not comfortable with advertisers and big technology companies knowing that same information. But that’s what happening when Apple and Google gather location-based data from mobile phones.

According to data last year from Mediamark, 35 percent of US kids ages 10 to 11 have cell phones, which is double the amount from 2005. Even 5 percent of 6 to 7 year olds have mobile phones. These are all young children and whether or not it’s appropriate to have cell phones at that age trumps the fact that companies like Google and Apple could be collecting data on their location. 

Read More...

How Chinese companies steal a critical business advantage

As if the U.S. economy doesn’t have enough to contend with: American businesses are facing competitors in China and other emerging markets that are illegally cutting overhead costs by stealing the software they need to design and manufacture products, run offices and do business in the global marketplace.
 
This widespread software piracy is not a trifling matter. The direct, commercial value of stolen software tools for personal computers came to $59 billion globally in 2010, according to newly released figures from the Business Software Alliance. The indirect costs are greater. Enterprise software theft undercuts legitimate business activity and imperils job creation in every sector of the economy.

Read More...

Why we can have both reliable GPS and more broadband

A major radio spectrum problem before the Federal Communications Commission this year is the dispute between the GPS community and a company called LightSquared, which seeks to operate a new mobile broadband service using terrestrial base stations that will compete with existing cellular carriers.

Depending on your viewpoint, this dispute is either an attempt by greedy entrepreneurs to wreck the ubiquitous GPS system, endangering public safety or a spectrum fight between users of neighboring bands in which one group wants to solve a technical problem by putting all the burdens of the solution on the other.

Read More...

Radio's future is getting paid and paying for music

Last fall, radio broadcasters slyly avoided bipartisan legislation requiring radio stations to pay for the music they used by seeking a mandate on FM tuners and antennas in all cell phones. While not one member of Congress supported the silly idea, the resulting confusion and pending congressional business left the performance royalty legislation for the next Congress. This Congress, two legislators have begun the effort to right the wrongful harm to the music industry.
 
Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-Calif.), a member of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, introduced a resolution titled the “Creativity and Innovation Resolution.” The Issa-Eshoo resolution protects “creativity and innovation” across two fronts: first, by urging broadcasters to begin paying royalties to recording studios and artists. And second, by opposing efforts to mandate FM tuners in cell phones.

Read More...

Pages