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?


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. 


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.


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.


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.


Inspiring consumer confidence through data privacy legislation

Today, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011, which is a necessary step to building a foundation of confidence for individuals that their privacy will be protected. Intel believes that federal privacy legislation is essential to individuals’ continued use of and trust in technology, and urges Congress to begin discussion of the bill, so we can establish such a framework of trust.

At Intel, we consistently hear that one of the barriers for individuals using new technology is the concern that their personal privacy will not be protected. Our business thrives when consumers use technology in new ways to tackle the world’s big issues, such as education, healthcare and the environment. We thus believe that putting in place a legal and regulatory system that provides for strong privacy protections is key to the growth of our business. 


FCC’s overreaching power grab harms innovation, investments and jobs

The Internet’s innovation and success is unmatched and since its inception, it has thrived without government interference. The Federal Communications Commission nonetheless ruled in December to impose Internet regulations, even though Congress has never authorized it to do so. There is also no crisis warranting such intervention.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has repeatedly asked the FCC to provide an economic and market analysis to demonstrate its rules are warranted and would not cause harm to the currently open and thriving Internet. The FCC’s response was lacking. Rather than show an actual problem to support its brazen power-grab, the FCC relied on speculation of future harm.


Can creators call 911?

Parasitic innovation online by rogue websites is beginning to abate after a decade of civil litigation. 

Parasitic innovation—the science of innovative free riding—not only harms the innovators whose works are being ripped off, it also harms the economy as a whole. 

Many rogue sites are among the top websites in the world, some are in the top 100 on Alexa. Rogue sites prey upon consumers who usually don’t know they are being sold counterfeit pharmaceuticals, fake consumer goods, or illegal copies of music and movies.


Smart Communities can strengthen America's economy

America is poised to power forward out of the recession and into the new, 21st Century economy. But congestion on our roads and highways is a drag on economic growth, interfering with our daily activities, slowing the flow of goods and services, polluting the environment and wasting fuel. It’s an increasingly expensive problem, costing our economy more than $115 billion every year.

To address the issue, we have introduced the SMART Technologies for Communities Act. This bipartisan legislation provides communities with the resources necessary to implement intelligent transportation systems (ITS) that will help to reduce congestion, improve safety and improve the air we breathe by reducing air pollution. 


Science ÷ politics = a loss for everyone

Scientific research, including climate science, has the potential to be a game changer for America’s global competitiveness, national security and public health and safety. But, when we pit political strategy against scientific integrity, we not only risk the legitimacy of the science and the strength of the policy, we also limit their potential to protect and enhance the public good.

As John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”