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Official FCC Blog

January, 2013

Women's Access to and Use of ICT in Latin America

January 31, 2013 - 10:01 AM

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 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) community to better the situation of women, their communities and their countries. As part of this work, the FCC has invited prominent women and men in technology from around the world to post blogs sharing their experiences.

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Several years ago, as a Peace Corps volunteer, I worked with women in rural Guatemala and had the opportunity to witness, first-hand, the challenges that Latin American women and young girls face every day – gender discrimination, limited access to education, and lack of health care, just to name a few. My experience with those women continues to motivate me and my team at Bixal to seek out opportunities that use information and communications technology (ICT) to address gender disparity

Gender inequality in Latin America does limit women's access to ICT. But for years, researchers have been unable to provide definitive metrics on the issue.  Instead, routine theories have persisted on the topic, such as that "women face barriers that include lack of access and training, and are confronted with software and hardware applications that do not reflect their female needs." Relying on anecdotal evidence, some studies have even concluded that women in Latin America are less likely than men to use digital technologies because they are "technophobic" and/or less tech-savvy than men.

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Commission Launches New and Improved Incentive Auction LEARN Website

by Gary Epstein, Chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force
January 17, 2013 - 09:51 AM

Today the FCC launched a new and improved LEARN website.

The LEARN (Learn Everything About Reverse-Auctions Now) website is a one-stop information resource for incentive auction stakeholders, particularly broadcasters.  Informing, educating, and reaching out to the broadcaster community is critical for both broadcasters who want to take advantage of the unique opportunities the incentive auction will provide and those who do not.  The new and improved LEARN website provides easy access to current, clear, concise, and accurate information designed to help broadcasters make informed business decisions about participating in the incentive auction.    

One of the many new features on the site is an 11-page summary of the broadcast incentive auction process, prepared by the Incentive Auction Task Force staff.  This FCC Staff Summary highlights the key issues considered in the broadcast incentive auction notice of proposed rulemaking. 

The Staff Summary and all of the other new informational tools on the new and improved LEARN site will help inform all stakeholders, and are just a few of the many ways the FCC is working towards a successful incentive auction.  We look forward to your feedback!

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Connect America Cost Model (Version 2)

January 16, 2013 - 11:00 AM

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

On December 11, 2012, WCB announced the release of version one of the Connect America Cost Model. Version one of the cost model allowed the Bureau and interested parties to examine various options for different network deployments to serve funded locations (e.g., fiber to the premises or fiber-fed digital subscriber line) and different assumptions about both the amount of existing facilities assumed to exist (e.g., green-field or brown-field deployments, the mix of aerial, buried or underground plant) and unit costs for capital and operating expenses.

Version two of the Connect America Cost Model augments version one in a number of key areas, specifically with regard to input data sets. Version two utilizes 2010 census boundaries and December 2011 broadband map data, as well as the latest available version of GeoResults wire center boundaries. Additionally, version two incorporates updated consumer location and business location counts.

The Bureau expects to adopt a final version of the Connect America Cost Model, with specific inputs, at a later date in 2013, which it will use to set Phase II support amounts to be offered to price cap carriers.

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Using Data To Make the Case for Gender in ICTs

January 15, 2013 - 02:56 PM

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 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) community to better the situation of women, their communities and their countries. As part of this work, the FCC has invited prominent women and men in technology from around the world to post blogs sharing their experiences.

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I love data. I love collecting it, playing with it, and using it for decision making. My firm, Sonjara, builds custom data applications for non-profits, academic institutions and governments, so we know a lot about how valuable data is, and the challenges of collecting and maintaining it.

“Without data, there is no visibility; without visibility, there is no priority.”[1] In a world of "big data", where more and more data is needed for decision-making, no data – or data locked in a PDF document – means an issue with no visibility.

This is a serious problem in the intersecting fields of gender equality and information and communication technology policy. Those of us working in both fields see massive gender disparity in the use and access to ICT.  However, the only evidence to date of this disparity exists anecdotally and in small case studies and data sets. Without a larger data set as evidence, it is difficult to prove the importance of incorporating a gender component into ICT for development activities. There are two things we can do to improve this situation:

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