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Official FCC Blog

March, 2010

Auction 87 Online Tutorial

March 31, 2010

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The FCC has developed a new interactive, online auction tutorial to replace our long-standing practice of hosting live auction seminars and streaming them over the web (although we could still hold a live seminar in addition to providing the tutorial if desired for certain auctions). We believe that this tutorial will allow us to provide high-quality training materials to potential auction applicants in a more user-friendly format. The tutorial software allows interested viewers to choose the specific materials they wish to view and to do so whenever and as often as it is convenient and useful.

The first auction for which the FCC has posted a tutorial is Auction 87, the upcoming auction of licenses for lower and upper paging bands spectrum, which is scheduled to begin on May 25, 2010. The tutorial is available here. This video provides a brief demonstration of the new tutorial:

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Highlighting the staff of the FCC...

March 31, 2010

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Jeff Riordan, the Deputy AV Officer in the Commission’s Audio-Visual Center, is another “behind the scenes” public servant who makes sure the numerous events held at the Commission and around the country each month run smoothly and are publicly accessible.

Have you ever attended an Open Commission Meeting or watched a live webcast of an FCC event?  For days before a public event, Jeff and our other expert audio-visual staff engage in meticulous planning and preparations to help ensure that these proceedings run without a glitch.  Jeff spends most of his day going over dozens of details to make sure that the technical aspects, such as sound, lighting, audio and video are carefully coordinated, and that the equipment is working properly, so the public can easily tune in to Commission events.

Recently, as part of the Commission’s efforts to solicit input from the public in the development a National Broadband plan, Jeff’s job has required him to travel across the country to work on FCC field events in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, to oversee the audio-visual and streaming needs of these events."

Through his job working on Commission events Jeff has met some well known people including Stevie Wonder, Marlee Matlin, Vinton Cerf and Elmo!

"I enjoy my job,” said Riordan.  “By working on FCC events held in Washington or across the country, and providing consumers with smooth webcasts, I feel like I’m doing my part.  Most people can’t come to D.C. to see Commission events first-hand.  I get to help bring the FCC to the public so they can be part of the important things we do.”

Jeff has worked in the FCC’s AV office for almost 19 years.  Before joining the Commission he worked for the EPA in their television studio.

He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife and their two children.

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Women's History Month Profile: Rachel Kazan

by Jenny Hou, New Media
March 31, 2010

Since we began this blog we have been highlighting FCC staff in a series of profiles.  As March is Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on some of our female colleagues and talking to them about their experiences as professionals, and as women, working in public service at the FCC.

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Women's History Month Staff Profile - Shirley Suggs

by Page Buchanan, New Media
March 30, 2010

Shirley Suggs
Administrative Management Specialist, Media Bureau
President, Blacks in Government
Years at FCC: 37 years

Shirley Suggs was recruited to the FCC secretarial pool out of high school in 1973. She worked her way up in the agency, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all while raising her family and breaking through barriers for women. She has become a leader at the agency, currently serving as the President of Blacks in Government.

I’ve been here a long time so I’ve seen how things changed for women. … I remember having this male supervisor who … intimidated women. It was at a point he just wanted to make sure we stayed at our desks, but of course the men didn’t. The men weren’t intimidated like that. It came to a point where I said, “Okay, this has got to stop.”

She is grateful for the contributions of women in the past and present for helping to change not only the way that women are seen, but the way that they see themselves.

I think that women have chosen to be who they are and not be afraid of the consequences of standing up for themselves, and that’s the only way that change is going to occur, for us to move into better positions.

Women’s History Month and the honor of being profiled for this project were a welcome opportunity for her to reflect on her own path, and the paths of so many other women in our history.

I thought about all the women through history… Sojourner Truth, the women through the suffrage, you know all these women – women that kind of pushed, and still are pushing… [I admire] Michelle Obama, for obvious and less obvious reasons. Of course she is the first lady of the United States and she is African-American. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a role model.

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Chief FOIA Officer Report Shows Great Progress in FCC FOIA Processing

March 29, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:39:height=90,width=70]]The newly-issued Chief FOIA Officer Report for the FCC demonstrates how the Commission is applying the President’s and the Attorney General’s guidance that the Freedom of Information Act is to be administered with a presumption of openness.  General Counsel Austin C. Schlick, the FCC’s Chief FOIA Officer, led a review of the Commission’s FOIA operations.  Key points reported by the Chief FOIA Officer include:

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A Blog from the CTIA Show

March 24, 2010

The FCC continued its active outreach program at CTIA – The Wireless Association on Monday, March 22, in the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The convention was scheduled from March 23 – 25.  The FCC participated as part of an afternoon pre-show program and as usual, heard new, different, and important comments on our licensing systems and how we could improve them.

The FCC also hosted a booth on the convention floor which featured welcoming messages from the Chairman and commissioners.

The Brainstorming Session was to solicit ideas about how to improve the current licensing systems across the FCC Bureaus, and also entertained comments on the newly released beta version of Spectrum Dashboard which allows new search functionality, downloading and mapping for some of our radio services.  We also provided a high level overview of the Spectrum Dashboard beta.

Our outreach program will continue.  Watch for scheduled events in early April where you will be able to join the discussion and learn more about the development of the Consolidated Licensing System.

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Spectrum Dashboard Q&A

by James Brown, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
March 24, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:120:height=100,width=70]]Last week, the FCC released the Spectrum Dashboard in beta.  The Spectrum Dashboard is truly an exciting new tool that allows the public to search, map, and download licensing data with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Currently, the search, map, and download features are available for licenses within 225 MHz – 3700 MHz in the following services:

  • 700 MHz
  • 800 MHz Cellular
  • Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)
  • Broadband Personal Communications Service (PCS)
  • Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS)
  • 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service (WCS)
  • Full Power TV Broadcast
  • Mobile Satellite Services (MSS)

 Over the years, we have received similar questions from lots of different groups about who holds licenses for certain types of spectrum and where the licenses are held.  The reasons for these questions ranged from an individual trying to locate a mobile phone provider in a specific area, to a company trying to acquire spectrum, to a firm trying to analyze parts of the telecommunications industry.

In the past, we were not able to point anyone to a single place at the FCC where this information could easily be found or understood.  It’s wonderful to finally be able to point someone to the “Spectrum Dashboard.”  Below, I will show how five fairly common questions can be answered by using the Spectrum Dashboard.

Questions that can be answered by using the Spectrum Dashboard

1) Can I see a list of all the licenses held by a company even though the company holds licenses under 100 different legal names?

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'Zooming in' on the High-Speed Report maps . . .

March 24, 2010

We are busy assisting filers of the next round of Form 477 broadband subscribership data – which were due Monday, March 1 – but want you to know about some December 2008 data we've recently posted. If you've been zooming your browser to locate your census tract on the High-Speed Reports maps, help has arrived. Join the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband stimulus grant applicants – who've been calling to ask – in checking out our new postings. Click here and scroll down to the "Census Tract Info" item.

As in the past, we've posted the data needed to exactly replicate report maps. But like the maps, the data is now much more granular than in the past because it is reported by census tract. A Microsoft Excel version lists all the census tracts, by state and county. A separate Excel file organizes them into counties. Researchers and GIS specialists can check out the same information in CSV format or SAS dataset format. Don't ignore the data dictionary – it explains data-item names and the ranges into which data are coded. And, if you don't know your census tract, here's a lookup tool that works for almost all areas (those with "E911" emergency phone service).

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Women's History Month Profile: Eloise Gore

March 23, 2010

Since we began this blog we have been highlighting FCC staff in a series of profiles. As March is Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on some of our female colleagues and talking to them about their experiences as professionals, and as women, working in public service at the FCC.

Eloise Gore, Associate Bureau Chief, Media Bureau
Years at FCC: 13

Eloise Gore considers herself lucky. Beginning her career with the federal government as an intern in 1978, she benefited from both the barrier-breaking women of the generation before her and the government’s early efforts at diversity. As an attorney, first for the Federal Trade Commission, then the Commerce Department, and here at the FCC for the past 13 years, she recalls sitting across the table from attorneys in the private sector that at times were all white men.

In those years, in the middle-late seventies, the government was one of the places that women could go, because the government was much more accepting of women, as attorneys, as other kinds of professionals, than the private sector was… so it would be frequently the case that those of us who were in the government would be in negotiations with outside law firms and they would be all these men in suits. And we were the only ones that had women.

She is proud of the way that women, and men, are given the opportunity to thrive here at the FCC, especially with regard to balancing their families with career.

Women who want to have families, who want to have children, are very supported particularly by the government. Again that was something that the government did first: to allow women a chance to go and be a mother and have day care so that they could come back and have their children near them.

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Welcome to the Spectrum Dashboard

March 18, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:201:height=100,width=70]]Welcome to the FCC’s beta release of the Spectrum Dashboard.  The new Spectrum Dashboard’s versatility lets you review how spectrum bands are allocated and used and also lets you identify license holders in specific areas.  The initial version we release today provides plain language information of mobile broadband service frequencies between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz.  In addition, the Spectrum Dashboard contains enhanced search, mapping and data download capabilities for licenses in those broadband service bands.  These enhanced research functions are currently available for licenses in 700 MHz, 800 MHz Cellular, Advanced Wireless Service, Broadband Personal Communications Service, 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service, Broadband Radio Service, Educational Broadband Service, Full Power TV Broadcast, and Mobile Satellite Service.

The primary source of information on frequency usage or spectrum allocation is Part 2 of the FCC rules.  These rules often contain technical language and terms of art that may be difficult for the general public to understand.  In contrast, the Spectrum Dashboard highlights important information from those rules using plain language to help the public understand many aspects of band use.

We want the Spectrum Dashboard to be a “one-stop shopping” portal for licensing information by combining the information currently available on separate electronic databases and filing systems.  The Spectrum Dashboard repackages some of our existing data in order to make it easier to search and find allowing you to generate maps and export data more easily.  Some of the ways this searching capability is now more user friendly include the following:

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