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

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

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

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

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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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Routing

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: The HCPM builds loop plant directly to customer locations via individual micro-grids. At the time the HCPM platform was adopted, micro-grids were hundreds of feet across. This approach allowed for an error of up to a few hundred feet in determining customer locations. The model defines customer "lots" within each micro-grid based on the customer population. The model allows for spanning-tree optimization of routes, although this is recommended only in sparsely populated locations. The feeder network is built on explicit spanning-tree algorithms, with user-defined inputs to select various approaches (e.g., airline v. rectilinear distance, allow artificial junction nodes).

CQBAT: The CQBAT model builds loop plant along road segments. It utilizes a spanning tree algorithm in order to find the optimal route (i.e., the lowest cost route) to serve all customer locations along road paths—a minimum spanning road tree.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Capturing Variation by Geography

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: The HCPM varies costs by nine density zones. Many of the inputs are the same across multiple density zones, while others show more variation among lower-density zones. The model also varies installation costs by geologic conditions, like soil type.

CQBAT: The CQBAT model varies costs according to three density zones (urban, suburban, and rural). The model as submitted in the record does not specify how locations are assigned to those zones.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012

October 1, 2012

The virtual workshop is now closed. Parties should submit any additional input regarding the model development, including any follow-up commentary to topics that have been previously posted in the virtual workshop, in WC Docket No. 10-90.

Welcome to the home page for the Wireline Competition Bureau's (WCB) cost model virtual workshop, through which the Bureau is soliciting input from the public on Connect America Fund (Connect America) Phase II cost model design and inputs. A notice announcing this virtual workshop was released on September 12, 2012.

The virtual workshop will take place over a period of weeks sufficient to allow public input on all material issues. Discussion on multiple related topics will be facilitated through the various subject matter-specific discussion forums listed below. The Bureau will announce which topics will be discussed in which timeframes by Public Notice and on this page.

If you would like to make longer posts, we encourage you to place them in the Commission’s public comment site (ECFS) as an ex parte and place a summary of the post with the relevant URL in the forum. Similarly, if you would like to include an attachment to a post, include the URL for the attachment in your post. To ensure security, the forums will not support live links or attachments. ECFS can be reached here.

At the close of the virtual workshop, an electronic copy of all posts will be placed in the official record of the relevant dockets, much as a transcript of a hearing would be placed in the record.

If you have any questions about the format or operation of the virtual workshop or have any difficulties accessing any of the subject matter forums, please contact Katie King at 202-418-1500, katie.king@fcc.gov.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Determining Customer Locations

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 concluded that it should use geocode data to the extent available for determining customer locations. The Commission later affirmed this conclusion, but found that "no source of actual geocode data has yet been made adequately accessible for public review." The Commission expected that a source of accurate and verifiable actual geocode data would be identified in the future for use in calculating federal support.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Clustering

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: In developing the HCPM, the Commission concluded that a clustering algorithm should group customer locations into serving areas in an efficient manner to minimize costs while maintaining a specified level of network performance quality. Efficient clustering of customers leads to a least-cost and most-efficient network design that is consistent with forward-looking modeling principles.

The HCPM limits clusters by engineering constraints. It attempts to group customers so that they are no further away than allowed by network design, and so that no more customers are attached to a digital loop carrier remote terminal (DLC) than is permitted by network design. Initially, the model groups all customer locations into one cluster, then divides the cluster if one or more of the engineering constraints is violated. The model then uses several optimization routines that reassign certain customers to different clusters in order to lower the cost of constructing distribution areas.

CQBAT: The CQBAT model largely uses the same clustering approach as the HCPM, but uses road-based routing to determine the maximum size of the clusters. Thus, clusters defined by CQBAT are likely smaller but more realistic estimates of cluster size; by using road segments in clustering, CQBAT avoids the problem of having the length of some loops along roads exceed maximum loop length.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Inter-Office Transport Cost

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: The HCPM sizes inter-office transport based on voice connections. The model assumes the use of state-of-the-art SONET rings. The Commission concluded there should be an allocation of a reasonable portion of the joint and common costs of the switching and inter-office functions to the cost of providing the supported services, i.e., voice telephony. Moreover, the model uses the Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG) database to determine host-remote relationships.

CQBAT: The CQBAT model uses a tandem switch—central office switch relationship to determine which central offices tie to which aggregation points. This information comes from the LERG database. The model assumes Ethernet-based fiber connections among wire centers and between wire centers and tandem switches, including the use of reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADMs) and wave division multiplexing (WDM) gateways. Additionally, the model connects each hierarchy to the nearest (lowest cost) Internet access point regardless of ownership. The CQBAT model also uses routing along roads to determine the cost of deploying fiber to make connections, and includes Broadband Remote Access Servers (BRAS) and/or gateway costs.

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