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Blog Posts by Mindel de la Torre

An Update: Driving Innovation and Reforms from the International Bureau

by Mindel De La Torre , International Bureau Chief
April 23, 2013 - 12:28 PM

The Commission recently adopted the Second Report and Order on Foreign Ownership (“Order”) to overhaul and streamline the way it reviews foreign ownership of U.S. wireless companies under sections 310(b)(3) and (b)(4) of the Communications Act.  These reforms will dramatically reduce the number of hours applicants spend to prepare required filings, as well as lower, by up to 70%, the number of such filings annually.;

This Order is the latest in a series of regulatory reform and data innovation efforts we in the International Bureau have taken under the leadership of Chairman Genachowski.  I’d like to take this occasion to highlight these reform accomplishments and to thank the excellent staff in the Bureau and the Commission for their efforts to streamline and improve the way we interact with industry and the public.

A guiding principle of our regulatory reform efforts has been to achieve flexible, common sense, market-based, data-driven and targeted regulatory frameworks that are informed by our experience and made in consultation with a broad set of stakeholders, including industry, commenters, and relevant Executive Branch agencies.  They also demonstrate that there are several approaches to regulatory reform, including identifying and eliminating unnecessary rules, streamlining required rules, and refocusing existing rules to meet technological and market sector changes.

In addition to the foreign ownership streamlining action, here are just a few of the significant reform efforts we have taken over the last four years:

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Launch of the Redesigned WISENET

by Mindel De La Torre, Chief, International Bureau
July 9, 2012 - 04:30 PM

WISENET began as an experimental community to give women working in the information and communication technology sector a way to learn, innovate, and engage their community and colleagues. It was a blog with posts that picked up a variety of themes such as a need for more female ICT decision-makers, the economic benefits of broadband expansion, the importance of Internet governance and mobile money to name a few. Our bloggers represented organizations such as the FCC, the ITU, and other governments. These were just the first steps in a larger conversation about the role of ICTs in women’s lives around the world.

And this conversation continues. We are launching a redesigned WISENET that will build upon this foundation, identify new voices and points of view to create an improved convening platform for engagement, participation and innovation. We are also expanding what we offer on WISENET – now we highlight events, recent news, and research in the area of women and ICTs. In addition,
the new blog will be divided into four sections:

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Launching the Broadband Partnership of the Americas

by Mindel De La Torre, Chief, International Bureau
April 17, 2012 - 04:52 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=98,width=70]]President Obama’s visit to Colombia last weekend for the Summit of the Americas included an exciting new broadband announcement: the Broadband Partnership of the Americas (BPA), a vital new collaboration to expand broadband access in the Americas.  The Summit of the Americas is convened every three or four years to bring together heads of state in the Americas to discuss issues critical to the region.  This year’s Summit theme -- Connecting the Americas:  Partnership for Prosperity -- focused on the role of physical integration and regional cooperation in fostering economic growth and development across the Hemisphere.  Not surprisingly, access to broadband played a lead role.

Studies show that broadband networks and broadband connectivity drive economic growth and development, and provide an important platform to address social issues including poverty, health care and education.  A study by the World Bank found that in less developed economies, every 10% increase in broadband penetration accelerates economic growth by approximately 1.38 percentage points, even grater than the 1.21 percentage points increase found in developed economies. Over the past 15 years, the Internet has enabled as much economic growth per capita as the Industrial Revolution generated in its first 50 years.

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Celebrating International Women's Day: Going Mobile and Connecting Women

March 8, 2012 - 12:52 PM

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As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, we at the Federal Communications Commission honor women who play an increasingly important role in the information and communication technologies (ICT) field. Last week, I attended a Global Telecom Women’s Network (GTWN) event in Barcelona celebrating 20 years of women in telecommunications.  The GTWN began with a handful of members and has grown to hundreds, an example of how many more women are choosing careers in telecom.

As the month of March is Women's History Month in the U.S., we hope our initiative encourages women in the ICT field as they take on prominent roles that will be celebrated in future years.

While women have made great strides in ICT, we also recognize the women who remain on the wrong side of the digital gender divide, who are unable to harness the true potential of ICTs in their lives.  Two weeks ago, Commissioner Clyburn announced the Women’s Initiative: Going Mobile and Connecting Womenthat highlights the unique role of ICTs to promote economic opportunities for women and girls around the world.

The FCC is helping to bridge that divide through the Women’s Initiative. We are excited to announce the next steps in our initiative:

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Second Annual Wireless World Travel Week

by Mindel De La Torre, Chief, International Bureau
July 19, 2011 - 04:49 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=98,width=70]]Now that the summer season is in full swing, many of us will be traveling abroad. So, the FCC has designated the week of July 18th as the second annual Wireless World Travel Week. During this week, we are providing tips and information on “roaming” with your mobile telephone, for Americans heading abroad on vacation or other international travel. Roaming means that you are not using your local carrier any more, but your phone continues to work seamlessly on another company’s network as it moves with you. We are also offering tips on making international phone calls from the U.S. These tips focus on how to dial such calls, and how to find the cheapest rates. They are available on our Wireless World Travel page

Roaming.  You may find it helpful to use your mobile phone as you travel.  For example, you can call home, check e-mail, and access data.  But, you need to do some homework before your trip to make the most of your mobile device abroad, and avoid unhappy surprises.  If you don’t, you may find that your mobile phone is not compatible with the local network, or you may incur high charges that you won’t know about until you return home.

The key fact is that roaming is complicated.  So check with your service provider to verify that your mobile phone will work where you’re going, and find out the rates you’ll pay for using it.  You may want to ask about rates for four different uses while abroad:

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