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Official FCC Blog

October, 2012

Experiencing the Magic of Innovation in Silicon Valley

by Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner
October 23, 2012

I have seen a lot during my three-plus years as an FCC Commissioner: executive offices at major cable and television networks, telecom and broadband-related meetings on different continents, NGO exchanges highlighting how simple flip-phone devices are saving lives and improving agri-business outcomes, and more broadcast studio control rooms than I can remember. But because of the pace and other demands of the post, I had been unable get out to that land called Silicon Valley. Two weeks ago, that all changed.

As we travelled up and down Highway 101, I saw a lot of relatively new signs and office complexes that are now household names and others that will undoubtedly soon join them. What is even more striking is that I saw countless numbers of young faces, heard from many eager personalities, and saw way more styles of denim and t-shirts than all of my years in junior and high school.

At Cisco, we discussed internet infrastructure, both wired and wireless. Innovation is alive and well and no matter what the naysayers put forth, America is not lagging behind. Cisco spends billions on research and development, and is increasingly using mobile technology in furtherance of its connectivity goals. The conversation touched on mobile healthcare technology, and how broadband is and will forever be essential for remote care. Additionally, the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in American schools cannot be overstated, as the speed of innovation must be matched by the ability of our citizens to grasp eve more complex concepts.

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Making a Dent in the 21st Century: Women and Technology

by Monique Jeanne Morrow, Cisco, Distinguished Consulting Engineer
October 22, 2012

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"WISENET (Women in ICTs Shared Excellence Network) is the International Bureau’s convening platform that aims to leverage the experience, resources and connections of the international ICT community to better the situation of women, their communities and their countries. As part of this work, the FCC has invited prominent women in technology from around the world  to post blogs sharing their experiences."

Monique Morrow holds the title of Distinguished Consulting Engineer within the Office of the CTO at Cisco.

I love technology, and I am passionate about getting people, particularly women, excited about choosing a career in technology. 

That is why I attended the Women@theFrontier event, “Design the Future 2012” which was hosted at NASA Research Park in Moffett Field, CA. At the event, I met the most amazing women from a variety of backgrounds who are each exponentially making a difference in this world using technology.

With NASA Research Park as the backdrop, I could not help but remember scientist and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride who passed away this summer. Dr. Ride was passionate about science and stimulating that passion in grade school.  She knew that inspirational teachers make a difference in shaping the path of a potential technologist.

Ping Fu, CEO of Geomagic, a leading provider of 3D software (yes, she wore platform shoes and a necklace that she had designed with her 3D software during her presentation) stated that instead of women moving upward to an artificial glass ceiling, we should move forward, just move forward!

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FCC Releases Machine Readable Data on E-rate Program

by Michael Byrne, Geographic Information Officer and Greg Elin, Chief Data Officer
October 19, 2012

We at the FCC know the importance of open data to policy making and government transparency. The FCC continues to modernize and streamline how it collects, uses, and disseminates data as smart policies depend on quality data, which should be accessible to the public in meaningful ways using modern digital tools.

Today we’re announcing newly available E-rate program data and the beginning of a process to provide easier access to even more data on the E-rate program.  Working with the staff of the Universal Service Administration Corporation(USAC), the administrator of the E-rate fund, we are releasing the most recent complete year of E-rate records available in machine readable format.  This data, for E-rate funding year 2010, is available for download and analysis here.

The FCC's E-rate program provides up to $2.3 billion a year to schools and libraries to help ensure they have access to affordable broadband and telecommunications services. When E-rate was created by Congress in 1996, only 14% of our nation’s schools were connected to the Internet.  Today over 97% have high-speed Internet access.

This data includes detailed information on what broadband and other communications services and IT equipment schools requested—100K unique service requests and 1.4 million records describing recipient schools and libraries, what categories of service they are actually purchasing, and how much they paid, and how much E-Rate program has dispersed.

We are eager to see what others can do with this data, and to understand what additional data we need to gather and publish to help answer important questions about the impact of the E-rate program.

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FCC Releases Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0 to Empower Small Businesses with Customizable Cybersecurity Plans

by Jordan Usdan, Kevin Almasy, and Maya Uppaluru, Public Private Initiatives
October 17, 2012

Small businesses are more dependent on the Internet than ever before, but 83 percent don’t have a formal cybersecurity plan to protect against cyber threats [1]  As larger companies improve cyber defenses, American small businesses are becoming more vulnerable targets.  According to Symantec, they were subject to hundreds of millions of cyber threats in just the first few months of 2012.[2] A typical cyber-attack that infiltrates a small business can cost, on average, close to $200,000 – enough to put many of them out of business.[3]

This week, the FCC is re-launching the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. Originally launched in October 2011, it is the result of an unprecedented public-private partnership between government experts and private IT and security companies, including DHS, NCSA, NIST, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Chertoff Group, Symantec, Sophos, Visa, Microsoft, HP, McAfee, The Identity Theft Council, ADP and others.

The Cyber Planner 2.0 features new details about cyber insurance to mitigate interruptions to business and financial loss from cyber-attacks, best practices on spyware, including how to avoid advanced versions of spyware and what immediate steps to take in case of infection, and recommendations to install new software systems that enable remote cleaning and tracking of laptops and mobile devices in the case of theft.  The FCC is also releasing an updated one page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet. The quick resource features new tips on creating a mobile device action plan and on payment and credit card security.

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FCC Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

by Thomas Wyatt, Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity
October 5, 2012

The FCC’s Office of Workplace Diversity, in collaboration with the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), hosted the Commission’s annual National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, in Washington.

 In opening remarks, Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau was issuing a $5 million notice of forfeiture (a type of fine) against NobelTel, marking another decisive step in the Commission’s ongoing combat against the deceptive marketing of prepaid calling cards and bringing to $30 million the forfeiture totals against companies engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices.”

 “As this action makes clear, we remain vigilant in our effort to crack down on prepaid calling card scammers who engage in deceptive marketing,” said Chairman Genachowski.  “Millions of Americans depend on prepaid calling cards to connect with family and friends around the world, and the FCC will not tolerate predatory schemes that include unfair or unclear fees. The Commission will continue to monitor marketing activities around prepaid calling cards – and will not hesitate to take decisive action when warranted.”

This year’s program also featured a roundtable discussion on media and telecom topics moderated by Jessica Gonzalez.  Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the NHMC, delivered the keynote.

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Coding is not just for Guys and Geeks

by Ann Mei Chang, U.S. Department of State Senior Advisor for Women and Technology
October 4, 2012

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As a twelve year old girl, I came across the Space Invaders video arcade game and was mesmerized by the relentless thump-thump of the advancing aliens, the satisfying sound effects, and the addictive simplicity of the game play.  Soon thereafter, I convinced my parents to buy my first computer, an Atari 400 with its awkward membrane keypad, and became entranced by the potential of building my own interactive experiences.  I set out to teach myself the BASIC programming language and learned how to make pixels move around the screen.  While I never developed a full-fledged video game, before I finished high school I went on to write a grading application for teachers at school, build a voice command interface demo at the local Army post, and teach at a computer summer camp.

After completing a Computer Science degree at Stanford University, I went on to work as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.  I found myself coding up algorithms and routines for this or that function within much bigger projects.  The analytical puzzles kept me challenged, but it was less than fully satisfying.  As part of a bigger team, I missed designing how the product would work, interacting with real users, and weighing which features were most important.  I became drawn to management positions that would give me this broader purview, solving real problems and designing complete solutions.  It is this tangible aspect of real world problem solving that I believe is key to engaging more girls and women (as well as boys and men) in technology -- make the work tangible and relevant.

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Innovation and Social Change for Girls and Women: Bridging the Gender and Technology Divide

by Renee Kuriyan, Director of Social Impact, Corporate Responsibility Office, Intel Corporation
October 2, 2012

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3 hours. That’s how long it used to take me to drive the local women’s group I worked with in rural Kenya from their village to the nearest bank -- 15 years ago.  When I visited these women a few months back, I watched as they electronically transferred money via their smart phones to their bank accounts in a matter of minutes. Technology is clearly a key ingredient in the economic empowerment of girls and women. Learning to utilize today’s technologies can lead to new economic, entrepreneurial and educational opportunities; and they are rapidly making life simpler and more efficient.

Technology also creates prospects for social and personal change. Two 14-year old girls in Egypt who participated in an Intel digital literacy program were tasked with the goal of using the technology skills they had learned to address a local issue in their community. They came up with a plan to fight illiteracy in their community, started a program, and received government funding to pay a teacher to run it. The girls learned that they can be decision makers, and that they have the power to change lives.

Despite the opportunities technology creates for enhancing economic activity and improving productivity, a technology divide exists. This is particularly salient for girls and women. In most emerging markets for example, women lag behind men in using the Internet, mobile phones, and radios. For example, women are estimated to account for just 25 percent or less of Internet users in Africa, 22 percent in Asia, 38 percent in Latin America, and a mere 6 percent in the Middle East.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 Plant Mix

by Wireline Competition Bureau
October 1, 2012

Please provide comments to the issue below as part of the Read more »

WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 Determining the Sharing Factor for Outside Plant

by Wireline Competition Bureau
October 1, 2012

Please provide comments to the issue below as part of the 2012 WCB cost model virtual workshop for inclusion in the record. Comments are moderated for conformity to the workshop's guidelines.

Background

The sharing factor represents the extent to which outside plant costs are shared among multiple providers, typically local exchange carriers, cable companies, and electric utilities.

Hybrid Cost Proxy Model: The HCPM assigns the following sharing factors to local exchange carriers:

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop Labor-Cost Adjustment Based on Location

by Wireline Competition Bureau
October 1, 2012

Please provide comments to the issue below as part of the 2012 WCB cost model virtual workshop for inclusion in the record. Comments are moderated for conformity to the workshop's guidelines.

Background

Hybrid Cost Proxy Model: When adopting the HCPM, the Commission discussed the possibility of adjusting costs due to regional variation in the context of plant-specific operating expenses. The Commission ultimately did not make those adjustments, however, because it could not determine how much of the variation among providers and areas was due to inefficiency by those providers as opposed to differences in labor rates. In addition, the Commission noted that "it would be preferable to use an index [of regional wage variation in determining operating costs] specific to the telecommunications industry."

CQBAT: The CQBAT model includes a cost adjustment based on the three-digit ZIP code of every area of the country. These cost adjustments are based on construction cost variations and are applied to capital costs—i.e., labor and materials.

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