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Mr. Obama drinks the net neutrality kool-aid

Posted November 10th, 2014 in Federal Communications Commission, net neutrality, Obama and tagged , , by Alton Drew

Mr. Obama, unfortunately, has fallen for the #TitleII argument for regulating the #internet, erroneously arguing that the internet has been operating via net neutrality since the beginning of time. Wrong.

Certain traffic has always been sent before others because of the traffic’s makeup i.e. e-mail versus video. Title II would create various levels of internet service just like it did for telephone service. Also, Title II regulation means FCC and state approval of new services, just like Title II required of telephone services.

For those of us who worked in telecommunications regulation, we witnessed first hand how long and burdensome the approval process is for new services. Bottom line, if you want to see a slow down in the introduction of new internet services, go ahead and throw your support behind the President and Title II/net neutrality.

The President may have been a great constitutional law professor, but on telecommunications law, he needs to do his homework…..

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Could Obamacare scare broadband adoption?

Posted October 22nd, 2013 in Broadband, digital divide, Federal Communications Commission, Obama by Alton Drew

The Federal Communications Commission and the Obama Administration have as a social policy goal access to high-speed broadband services by every American household. Although a finely-tuned website for accessing health insurance companies may not have been a part the FCC’s or the Administration’s broadband adoption plans, you can see where there could be an indirect impact on adoption.

First, the Administration is miffed that the website’s glitches may be a turn off to a tech-savvy younger generation. According to Bloomberg Business Week, “The failures may discourage the young, healthy, web-savvy consumers whose participation is critical to offset the risk of insuring older, sicker people and to keep the program sustainable.”

And what of older people and their use of the Internet? Overall 15% of adults do not use the Internet according to Pew Research. In addition, 32% of non-Internet users site difficulty of usage of the Internet and computers as reasons for not adopt9ing broadband.

Approximately 43% of adults 65 and over have broadband at home compared to 80% of adults age 18-29. A website that doesn’t reach the young sure won’t reach the old.

Policy wise, while won’t derail the national broadband plan, it’s not helping it either.

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Obama administration unveils initiative to encourage broadband deployment

Posted September 17th, 2013 in Broadband, capital, economy, Obama, wireless communications and tagged , , by Alton Drew

Yesterday the Obama administration announced the latest policy that it hopes encourages greater deployment of broadband facilities. The policy is centered on providing broadband carriers with data that shows which government properties are available for access in order to deploy an antenna or run cable.

Last year there was some chatter out of the administration about granting providers a right-of-way in easements held by the federal government along its highways and interstates. With a mapping feature, broadband providers can identify roof tops for placing antennas. For example:

“An interactive mapping tool that allows carriers and communities to view and identify opportunities to leverage Federal properties for the deployment of high-speed Internet networks. For example this map can help the wireless industry identify Federal rooftops where commercial antennas can be placed to support wireless networks. The national map includes data on broadband availability, environmental or historic information, property locations, and contact information so companies can easily obtain more information. The map was built with open government data, displayed in a new way to make it easier for carriers to take advantage of Federal assets in planning or expanding their networks.”

According to the executive order upon which the initiatives are based, the Administration believes the social goal of expanding broadband to all American households can be facilitated by providing the broadband sector with data on existing opportunities for placing facilities. With 10,000 buildings and 30% of all land under federal ownership, it appears that the Administration believes making the private sector aware of these spaces will lead to greater broadband availability for consumers.

The Administration did mention some operational costs savings to a broadband provider. For example, the “Dig Once” initiative allows carriers to time their deployment activities to coincide with an ongoing road or highway construction. The Administration estimates cost savings on deployment at a rate of 90%.

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Comparing Romney to Obama on potential broadband policy

Posted September 20th, 2012 in Broadband, Election 2012, FCC, Government Regulation, Mitt Romney, net neutrality, Obama and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

Last week the Innovation Technology and Information Foundation released a report comparing the expected policies and platforms of President Barack Obama, Governor Mitt Romney, and the Republican and Democratic parties in a number of areas including broadband, special access, and spectrum. Here is a summation of the findings in the report.

On broadband, specifically a digital infrastructure, President Obama has promoted a robust wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure capable of supporting an enhanced electrical grid, health care, and education. The Romney campaign has not articulated a position on the nation’s digital infrastructure.

The Obama Administration would like to see high-speed wireless capability within reach of 98% of Americans. The Romney campaign has not taken a position on expanding high-speed wireless access, but current FCC members agree with Democrats on the issue of modernizing the Universal Service Fund mechanism to support access to broadband.

In the area of special access, the Democratic majority on the FCC supports suspending deregulation of special access, while Republicans want to see deregulation continued.

Republicans and Democrats agree that the USF should be modernized so that rural and underserved households receive greater access to broadband services.

Republicans are opposed to the FCC’s net neutrality rules that were imposed in December 2010. Democrats, including the President, have been steadfast about removing the rules. While Democrats would like to see net neutrality rules not applied to wireless services, Republicans want the same forbearance for both broadband wireline and wireless services.

Can we really say we see any surprises?

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Mittens is not a Social Media Shot Caller, Baller Like POTUS. Not Yet Anyway.

Seems like presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Willard M. Romney has a ways to go to catch up with incumbent Barack H. Obama in terms of a social media presence, according to Mr. Romney allegedly has 251,000 followers on the micro-blog platform, Twitter. On the social networking behemoth, Facebook, Mr. Romney has 1.6 million “friends”.

Mr. Obama is doing better on both platforms. Mr. Obama has allegedly 14.6 million disciples on Twitter while his Facebook acquaintances number approximately 26 million.

It’s not surprising that Mr. Obama would have a commanding lead in the social media world. He has shown his preference for connectivity via technology ever since entering the White House and making arrangements for a special Blackberry that would allow him to stay connected while keeping people with ill will at bay.

Also given Mr. Obama’s relative youth and being a member of a minority demographic that makes disproportionate use of cellphones and Twitter, not only should we find Mr. Obama to be a proponent of social media use, but we should also expect him to exploit it to its fullest.

It’s not to say that Mittens can’t catch up. At this juncture it’s about how you leverage those social media resources versus how many Twitter followers are making you feel like Jesus.