Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Official FCC Blog

January, 2011

FCC Files Court Motions Opposing Premature Challenges to Open Internet Order

by Austin Schlick, General Counsel
January 28, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:124:height=107,width=70]]

The rules that govern when and how parties may challenge FCC orders are clear, and Verizon and MetroPCS filed too early when they challenged the Open Internet order.

Today, the FCC filed several motions with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking that court to dismiss both companies' challenges as premature.

For easy public access, we have posted the motions below:

Cross-posted from OpenInternet.gov

Read more »

Is a unified platform the key to upward mobility?

by Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner
January 28, 2011

I recently experienced my second visit to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Across the many acres of displays, demonstrations, lectures, and booths, I found myself almost unable to comprehend how much technology has advanced in only one year. From tablets, tablets and more tablets to clean energy concepts, interactive gaming and the ever-growing concept of “TV everywhere,” the new and innovative offerings are awe-inspiring. You literally need a half dozen days to take it all in. I had two…

Every other article in the tech trade press devotes a lot of attention to the emergence and ever-growing use of Internet-enabled television sets. I’ve read about them and have seen a few “in action,” but I felt it necessary to experience GoogleTV on my own. I stopped by their display to witness a test run, and what I saw made me further understand what all the fuss is about. The ability to match a viewing screen with endless content on the web is an exciting opportunity for consumers to enhance their home enjoyment, and we should all be excited about the further evolution of this user interface.

I also spent a good amount of time at Panasonic’s display, learning about the company’s green technologies and energy initiatives. I learned more about the use of lithium ion batteries in hybrid electric vehicles, and the new uses of solar power generators and household fuel cells. Panasonic intends to invest $1 billion toward the development of green technologies between now and 2012, and from an environmental standpoint, that is exciting.

Read more »

Video: Crowd-sourced mobile broadband data

by Michael Byrne, Geospatial Information Officer
January 25, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:158:height=100,width=70]] We recently spoke at one of the largest federal mapping data events, the ESRI Federal Users Conference, where we presented a cool implementation of FCC APIs mashed up with other, powerful datasets.

Last Spring, the FCC launched a pioneering crowd-sourced data collection tool: the FCC Consumer Broadband Speed Test. Since then, the test has been run more than 1 million times, collecting results both from wired and wireless connections. This is real data, from real consumers, in real communities. To make the data more useful, we released an API to unlock those results and hand the keys to the developer community.

The presentation showed that crowd-sourcing data collections can yield great things—not just for agencies—but for developers in the private and public sectors that can take the data and build new products, services, and research.

By the numbers alone, we know the test has been popular. And for a crowd-sourced federal data container, we think it's a huge success.

The particularly exciting part of this presentation was the ability to display projected speeds at different geographies within standard error, all extrapolated out from the the speed test data points that were input by users. As we explain in the video, by using the 1 million+ records submitted by users, we were able to display a map that shows the probability of a certain level of mobile broadband speed at any given spot in the U.S.

These data sets are great tools at our disposal, especially in the run up to the release of the National Broadband Map. As we get closer to the product launch in February, watch this space for updates of interest to developers, geographers, and consumers.

Read more »

Haiti's Earthquake: One Year After

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
January 18, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=98,width=70]]It’s one year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti and we at the FCC, like many other organizations that have worked to help with the recovery, look back and to the future to see what awaits the country.  International organizations, including the UN, agree that much remains to be done to help Haiti’s reconstruction.  Haiti is still hurting as a result of a natural disaster that, according to new estimates recently announced by the Haitian Prime Minister, killed more than 300,000 people and affected an estimated 3 million -- a third of Haiti’s population. 

Right after the earthquake, Haitians, many of whom struggled to obtain basic services even before the tragedy, became almost totally deprived of the ability to communicate with emergency relief services, relatives, friends and the rest of the world.  Restoring of telecommunications services, however, went relatively quickly and played a major role in rescue efforts after the earthquake.  Mobile phones proved very useful in helping find earthquake victims, and volunteers developed mobile apps to help navigate through the numerous dirt roads and alleyways in Port-au-Prince.  Telecommunications will also play a large role in Haiti’s ability to advance in the reconstruction of the country and as an aid in providing health-related and other basic services to the Haitian people.

Read more »

New Tools Allow Developers to Leverage Spectrum Data

by James Brown
January 14, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:120:height=99,width=70]]

Today the Federal Communications Commission released two new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) on our developer page at fcc.gov/developer. The new APIs leverage data from the Spectrum Dashboard and provide the developer community with direct access to these assets.

Managing spectrum is one of the FCC's primary responsibilities. These APIs are tools that unlock our substantial databases related to spectrum ownership, spectrum use, and spectrum capabilities at different locations.

Below is snapshot of the two APIs.

Read more »

Report from CES: Your Connected Car

by Joel Gurin
January 14, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:78:height=98,width=70]]

For years, a major topic at the Consumer Electronics Show has been the increasing sophistication of in-car electronics. Six-speaker sound systems and GPS mapping were only the beginning. New cars today are often available with options that provide news, entertainment, communication, route planning, and safety – all enabled by wireless broadband. Many auto manufacturers are pushing the envelope of car connectivity. For instance, General Motors has the prototype EN-V – a tiny concept car that can use broadband to navigate itself and that comes when you call it from your smartphone.

At a standing-room-only session at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, attendees heard from a roster of companies that are now providing apps for cars. OnStar, a pioneer in the field, is growing its paid-subscription service to provide vehicle security and safety. Pandora, which millions of people already use for a personalized radio experience, is seeking to become as easy to use in your car as it is on your laptop or smartphone. Other companies are specializing in speech recognition, in-car systems integration, and other approaches to make a range of automotive conveniences seamless and safe.

Read more »

Reforming and Improving Lifeline and Link Up

by Sharon Gillett
January 13, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:119:height=98,width=70]]

Last year was a busy one for Universal Service Fund (USF) reform at the FCC. We adopted a major order that modernized the E-rate program, which supports broadband for schools and libraries. We began the reform process for the High-Cost Fund, which supports phone service and broadband in rural and other high-cost areas, and the Rural Health Care program, which supports broadband for rural health facilities.

As part of our commitment to modernize all our USF programs and improve protections against waste, fraud, and abuse, we've also been working hard on improvements and reform proposals for Lifeline and Link Up, which provide telephone service discounts to low-income consumers. These discounts ensure that the financial hardships these customers face don't disconnect them from the societal and economic benefits of having phone service.

Here's what's been going on...

Read more »

Report from CES: How Will You Watch TV?

by Joel Gurin
January 11, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:78:height=98,width=70]]

I'm back from the Consumer Electronics Show, the once-a-year showcase for the latest, most innovative consumer technology. With over 130,000 attendees, a show floor the size of six New York City blocks, and IMAX-sized arrays of flat-screen TVs everywhere, the CES can be hard to get your head around. But each year some strong themes emerge.

This year, a major development is what you could call the Emerging Entertainment Ecosystem. We're moving rapidly into a world where movies, live TV, music, and more will be available on all devices, anywhere and at any time.

The idea of "TV everywhere" has been around for a while. For instance, Slingbox began six years ago by marketing devices that send your TV signal to your smartphone or laptop, wherever you are. At the Slingbox booth, a rep told me how he'd recently used their product to watch his local TV station via Wi Fi on a plane over the Middle East. What's different now is that major manufacturers, software companies, and carriers are partnering to develop fully integrated systems to provide entertainment across devices.

The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on CES, chose several keynoters to talk about their visions for integrated entertainment. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg described how his company is developing strategies, infrastructure, and devices that will allow you to view TV or movies in HD with higher download and streaming speeds on your smartphone or tablet. The new XOOM tablet, designed in a partnership between Motorola, Google, and Verizon, is made for this use, and was a popular stop on the CES show floor. The XOOM, expected out early this year on Verizon's 3G network, will use a new version of Google's Android platform, called Honeycomb, that's developed specifically for tablet use and will be upgradeable to Verizon's new high-speed LTE network by mid-year.

Read more »

Genachowski, FCC Staff Take In CES 2011

by George Krebs
January 10, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:234:height=102,width=70]]Tablets and TVs; gadgets and tech-integrated vehicles; tech-enhanced musical instruments and heavily promoted headphones; innovative toys, energy efficient designs and wireless enabled products of all sorts. Sunday concluded a busy span of stunning technology pageantry in Las Vegas. Thousands of booths were set up and over 100,00 interested device enthusiasts arrived from all over the world for the Consumer Electronics Show , known more commonly as CES (or in this ever expanding, 140-character world, #CES).

Chairman Genachowski, all four Commissioners, and a retinue of FCC staff converged on the convention floor. They got a look at technology – from a wide range of companies – on the horizon and a sense of what's upcoming in the innovation space. Many of the exhibits in sight shouted wireless and they shouted mobile.

On Friday, day two, the Chairman gave a speech on the need for expanded spectrum offerings and then sat down to chat with the host of the event, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro. This is what the Chairman said:

"As evidenced by the trade show floor, the consumer electronics industry is going wireless, and the future success of this industry and our innovation future depends on whether our government acts quickly to unleash more spectrum -- the oxygen that sustains our mobile devices.

We're in the early stages of a mobile revolution that is sparking an explosion in wireless traffic.  Without action, demand for spectrum will soon outstrip supply.

Read more »

Open Internet Apps Challenge

by Steven VanRoekel, Managing Director
January 5, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:92:height=106,width=70]]For months, we've been hearing from a committed community of citizens that care deeply about preserving the foundational principles of the Internet.

Many of the same people have been involved with the FCC over the last few months through our FCC.gov Developer community. Now that the FCC has released the Open Internet order, we're calling on that developer community to help us meet a new challenge.

The Open Internet Apps Challenge, released by the FCC, asks this community — particularly the researchers and developers — to help build the strongest safeguards possible to preserve these principles and innovate online.

This is an opportunity for the FCC to tap talent in a variety of fields — technology development, research, monitoring, and more — to build a powerful toolkit that protects and informs consumers. These software tools could, for example, detect whether a broadband provider is interfering with DNS responses, application packet headers, or content.

The winners of this challenge will have their work widely seen and used. We think that there a number of interesting opportunities in this challenge, particularly for researchers with deep experience in highly-technical and specified fields of industry and academia.

We've called on the FCC Developer community before, like the Open Developer Day we hosted in October, and this challenge presents a new opportunity for the agency to partner with innovators and researchers working towards important goals.

Check out all the details for the Open Internet Apps Challenge at Challenge.gov.

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.