Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Official FCC Blog

May, 2010

Our Sleeves Are Rolled Up: We Are Ready to Do Whatever It Takes

May 28, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:53:height=100,width=66]]

The 2010 Hurricane Season forecasts predict as many as 15 named Atlantic storms, several of which could reach hurricane-level strength in the Southeast and Gulf Coast.

In my job with the Federal Communications Commission, I am constantly impressed with the leadership, dedication and true heroism of America’s first responders, all of whom make daily sacrifices to serve their communities.  Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina I still remember hearing the stories following that devastating disaster about how first responders and hospital personnel were stranded in New Orleans without communications and had only limited essential resources with which to survive. Like many others in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, some local public safety officials and first responders were stranded on rooftops, but were still making efforts to assist those in need, to do what they could to help others survive until rescue teams could get to them.  Their efforts were amazing and showed that they were willing to do whatever it took to get the job done—even in the most challenging and trying circumstances.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:136:]]

Read more »

21st Century Emergency Alerting: Leveraging Multiple Technologies to Bring Alerts and Warnings to the Public

May 26, 2010

When potential threats to life and property are imminent or disasters strike without warning as did the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas that claimed innocent lives recently, we all know how critical it is for all of us to receive timely alerts and warnings, access to the latest information about an emergency situation and guidance from government officials on what we should do to protect ourselves and our families. Early and accurate public alerts are a key element in all of this and can make the difference between life and death.

On June 10, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will co-host a workshop to address emergency alerting. This workshop – 21st Century Emergency Alerting – will bring together experts from Federal and state government agencies, the broadcast, cable, wireless and wireline industries, the disability community and others to discuss how we as a Nation can leverage multiple technologies to provide timely and accurate emergency alerts to the public. The workshop will also present an opportunity for the public to learn about the progress that has been made to enhance the Emergency Alert System (EAS), develop and deploy the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) and develop and deploy the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

Read more »

Public Safety Outreach in the Carolinas

May 25, 2010

By Louis Sigalos, Robert Kenny, Todd Mitchell, Paul Coburn, and Doug Miller, Public Safety Outreach Team.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:150:height=98,width=70]]With an outreach and education mission, traveling via the long lonesome highway, covering two states in three days, five intrepid travelers set forth from the comfort of their offices on May 11, 2010.  And now members of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) and the Enforcement Bureau have met with public safety officials in two more states that could be vulnerable during the upcoming hurricane season. We were also joined by a National Communications System (NCS) staff member.  A similar outreach tour with our federal partners of the Gulf States in 2009 included stops in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and meetings with more than 350 public safety officials to hear their stories.  Now, we have added the Atlantic Coast States of South Carolina and North Carolina.

In South Carolina, we learned that the biggest concerns are hurricanes, nuclear plant disasters, hazmat spills, AND earthquakes. In fact, that morning of May 12, residents in Charleston, SC experienced an earthquake that registered 2.8 on the Richter scale.  The state sits on a fault line, and unfortunately projections do call for a much larger earthquake to occur in that region at some point according to scientists.  We were also invited by South Carolina officials to participate in a major planning exercise being conducted in June and we learned that South Carolina has implemented a program called SC HEART that enlists hospital workers/HAM operators to provide back-up communications during emergencies.

Read more »

Reflections from the Chairman on the May Commission Meeting

May 21, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:234:height=102,width=70]]Chairman Genachowski provides his thoughts on yesterday’s Open Commission Meeting in the below video blog.

Read more »

Your input matters - Consolidated Licensing System (CLS) outreach continues

May 21, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:129:height=100,width=70]]

Following our first CLS Public Workshop on May 6th we are actively continuing our efforts to get customer input. On May 18th we were invited to hold a CLS brainstorming session at the Spectrum Management Association Conference in Arlington, VA.

This was a very active session reinforcing many of the insightful suggestions we received at the earlier workshop. The participants at this session included: licensee, third party filers, and other federal government agencies. Many of the participants offered a unique perspective and very valuable feedback.

The suggestions ranged for recommendations for improving the access, and search capabilities to our licensing data, to collecting additional technical data in CLS. Participants also offered suggestions on cleaning up the data in the Commission Registration System (CORES) and recommended creating linkages between the Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) Database and CLS.

The recommendations did not stop there; we went on to discuss enhanced mapping capabilities as well as the need for user testing, training and manuals as we move forward with the new system.

When addressing participants at the CLS Public Workshop on May 6th Mary Beth Richards, Special Counsel to the Chairman on FCC Forum reinforced that we need to hear from you. She asked participants "to please be forthcoming, and creative, and that we look forward to hearing from you." It was obvious at this session that our customers are up to the task.

Read more »

State and Local Groups: FCC Webinar Event on May 25th

May 21, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:156:height=100,width=70]]

SAVE THE DATE:  Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm Eastern time

The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) is staffing a special series of interactive web events.  These outreach webinars are designed to share vital information about Commission actions and priorities and improve federal/state dialogue and information sharing.

The first of this event series, similar to some of the National Broadband Plan workshops that took place at the Commission, will take place on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm Eastern time. The FCC is seeking a two way dialogue on key events and issues related to telecommunications and for us to learn and/or partner with state and local governments and their organizations.

You can view the webcast at fcc.gov/live.

The e-mail address where questions can be e-mailed on May 25th during the webcast is:  livequestions@fcc.gov.

For more information about the kick-off State and Local Groups Webinar, contact:
Emmitt Carlton, emmitt.carlton@fcc.gov, (202) 418-7321 or
Carmen Scanlon, carmen.scanlon@fcc.gov, (303) 418-0544

AGENDA

2:05 - 2:10 p.m.: Opening Session, Welcoming Remarks
Gregory Vadas, Chief
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau

2:10 - 2:35 p.m.: Overview of the National Broadband Plan
Phoebe Yang, General Counsel
Omnibus Broadband Initiative

Read more »

FCC Grants in Part, Denies in Part NARUC Petition on State Broadband Data Collection

May 18, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:255:height=100,width=70]]I joined IGA as a Special Counsel in July 2009 after working as an Attorney, FCC Office of General Counsel, Associate Director,  Office of Legislative Affairs, Chief Counsel and Staff Director, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, and Staff Attorney, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure. Since 1985, I’ve also been an Adjunct Professor, Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America, teaching media law and First Amendment law.

In an action that should be of interest to followers of state broadband deployment and mapping initiatives, the FCC on April 26, 2010, granted in part and denied in part a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). The petition concerned state authority to collect data from broadband infrastructure and service providers.

The Commission clarified, as NARUC requested in its petition, that the FCC “has not preempted or otherwise precluded the States from mandating that broadband providers file data or other information regarding broadband infrastructure or services within the States.”  Citing the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA), the FCC Order on the NARUC petition notes that “Congress recognized in the BDIA that State broadband data gathering can be ‘complementary’ to federal efforts.”

The Commission, however, declined to rule on the question of whether or not the States have or should have the authority to collect broadband-related data.

Click here for more information on the NARUC petition.

Read more »

A Celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage

May 18, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:234:height=102,width=70]]Over one hundred Commission employees were witness to a remarkable presentation yesterday morning in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage month in the Commission Meeting Room. Here’s a rough rundown of the program. The morning started off with Yul Kwon, Deputy Bureau Chief in CGB and today’s master of ceremonies, giving a brief introduction to the assembled crowd. He began by sharing a bit about why he chose to compete in the Survivor program, which he won in 2006. Great misperceptions about Asians persist, Kwon said, and going on Survivor gave him the platform to counter many of these in front of a worldwide audience.

 

(View the full photo set of the above pictures from yesterday's event. Photo credit: Jenny Hou)

Read more »

Workshop on Expanding Disability Access with Wireless Technologies

by Ruth Milkman, Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
May 12, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:186:height=100,width=70]]Wireless technologies present tremendous opportunities to benefit all Americans, including those with disabilities. At the FCC, we are excited about these possibilities for innovative communications services, applications and devices. We want to better understand how such technologies can bring more access to more people, and how the FCC can help ensure new technologies as inclusive as possible.

On Thursday, May 13th, the Commission will be exploring these issues during a workshop called "Expanding Disability Access with Wireless Technologies." I hope that everyone who is interested will join us in the Commission Meeting Room or via the web from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If that time doesn't work for you, the workshop will also be available online afterwards.

The first panel will focus on current access challenges. We will be discussing mobile communications access issues facing people with disabilities and disparities in technology access. During that session, we will be asking our panelists to give us their thoughts on questions such as:

  • What are the key disabilities access challenges that need addressing?
  • How is current technology trying to meet these challenges?
  • What emerging technologies will better meet these challenges?
  • Are there current regulatory barriers that deter technological innovation or negatively affect emerging technologies?

Our second panel will explore technology trends. During this session we will discuss ways in which new technologies can offer opportunities to overcome challenges in access to mobile communications. We will be looking at issues such as:

Read more »

Consumer View: Stop the Shock

May 11, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:78:height=100,width=70]]

It could happen to anyone, and it happened to me. Last year, I took on a consulting job that involved working out of town. Without realizing it, I began using my cell phone more frequently and for longer conversations. By the time I caught the problem, my monthly bill had gone from about $300 a month to well over $500, two months in a row. I worked out a compromise payment with my carrier and changed to a plan with more monthly minutes. I had learned about bill shock first-hand.

Bill shock – surprising jumps in cell-phone bills that happen without warning – is a common and serious problem. The FCC's Consumer Center receives complaints all the time from people whose bills may double or triple, going up by hundreds of dollars in a single month. Sometimes cell-phone carriers contact customers when they see an unusual calling pattern, as mine did, to their credit. Often they don't, and the bills go up.

Bill shock has been a major problem in Europe, where you can go into an international calling zone, at international rates, with as little effort as it takes Americans to drive from one state to another. The European press has reported many cases of bills reaching thousands of Euros. Now the European Union has taken action. Cell-phone carriers in Europe are now required to alert their customers when they're approaching the limit of their calling plans. This simple solution, which has just gone into effect, should be a practical way to prevent bill shock. At the least, it will ensure that every customer has fair warning.

Read more »
close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.