Technology

Modernizing America’s communications lifeline

Late last month, the Pew Research Center released a major report on broadband adoption. The results were mixed. On the plus side, 70 percent of U.S. adults have now adopted wireline broadband in the home, which marks a statistically significant rise over the past year. When you factor in smartphone adoption, 80 percent of U.S. households are now connected to the Internet and more than 90 percent of adults under the age of 49 are online at home. That’s all good news. The problem is that means one in five Americans is not connected at home and low-income Americans remain disproportionately on the wrong side of this digital divide. Among families earning less than $30,000/year, one in three is completely offline, and barely half are connected if you remove smartphones from the equation.

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Lifeline is a hand up, not a handout

At a time when many working families have been left behind in the economic recovery, the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program has never been more vital – or misunderstood.  Lifeline provides a modest subsidy to low-income consumers to pay for basic telephone service, crucial access that would otherwise be unaffordable.

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Driving American innovation and growth for the next generation

On football fields and hockey rinks across the nation, an increasing number of mothers and fathers are receiving data on their smartphones – sent wirelessly from helmet sensors –  about whether their child has experienced a head impact that could result in a concussion requiring additional medical evaluation is necessary.  This emerging technology is but one example of a new wave of innovation that is forming – the connection of people, data, processes and things to the Internet.

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Public safety network demands successful wireless auctions

The horrific events of September 11, 2001 changed everything when it comes to public safety. In big cities and small towns across America, it was clear first responders needed an expanded toolbox to tackle 21st century threats. Most critically, the brave men and women responding to public safety crises needed better communications tools – they needed a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. The 9/11 Commission recommended the creation of such a network,, and yet, a decade later, there is still no dedicated nationwide public safety network for first responders. While first responders constantly modify and adapt public safety approaches, the communications technology that is the backbone to effective response is lagging dangerously behind.  Public safety needs 21st century communication technology.

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Public/private collaboration vital to realize the promise of the 'Internet of Things'

Every parent’s worst nightmares were realized recently when a hacker took control of a Houston couple’s home baby monitor and spewed obscenities at their daughter.
Unfortunately, for many people this outrage was their introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT), and it left many wondering whether the IoT will impose unacceptable privacy and security worries on people and businesses.

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We already have a National Broadband Plan

In his August 13 op-ed, Marco Antonio Lopez's stresses the importance of a national broadband plan for a country's economy. Good thing the Obama administration completed a National Broadband Plan (NBP) three years ago and is waist-deep in its implementation.

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Bitcoin: Understated benefits and overstated risks

As the world’s first decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin worries policymakers. Voicing concerns over this digital currency—or cryptocurrency—officials cite its potential for facilitating money-laundering, making illicit purchases, evading taxes, and financing terrorism. Less often discussed, but equally important, are the potential benefits that Bitcoin may provide.

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National plan fosters broadband

For many Americans today, access to broadband Internet services has become the norm, but, while much progress has been made, millions of people here in the U.S. and around the world have yet to reap the benefits of these technologies.  There is broad-based consensus regarding the need to increase connectivity.   What has been subject to debate, to some degree, however, is the proper mechanism to increase broadband penetration.

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Mark Zuckerberg 'likes' immigration reform

“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants.”

Those were the words of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he announced a new initiative started by leaders in the technology industry to promote comprehensive immigration reform. This week, Zuckerberg took his support for comprehensive immigration reform a big step further, recognizing that we need to reform our immigration policies so that all 11 million aspiring Americans have a roadmap to citizenship.

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