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FCC Launches the Small Biz Cyber Planner

by Jordan Usdan and Josh Gottheimer, Chairman's Office
November 17, 2011 - 09:53 AM

The FCC is launching the Small Biz Cyber Planner, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. This 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 online tool is available at FCC.gov/cyberplanner.

By almost any measure small businesses have an outsized impact on our economy and it is critically important that small businesses, a vibrant engine for job and idea creation, are secure using the many broadband enabled tools they need to efficiently run their businesses. According to a survey released in October, 2011 by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), two-thirds of U.S. small businesses rely on broadband Internet for their day-to-day operations.  

However, the Symantec survey also found that 85 percent of small businesses think their companies are cyber-secure, but barely half of these businesses actually have a cybersecurity strategy or plan in place and nearly 80 percent say they lack a written Internet security policy. With larger companies increasing their online defenses, small businesses are now the low hanging fruit for cyber criminals and many may have a false sense of security.

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Low-Cost Broadband and Computers for Students and Families

by Josh Gottheimer and Jordan Usdan, Chairman's Office
November 10, 2011 - 05:10 PM

Yesterday, at a public school in Washington, DC, joined by cable and technology executives and nonprofit leaders, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced an unprecedented effort to help close the digital divide, bringing low-cost broadband and computers to millions of low-income Americans.

Right now nearly one-third of the country – 100 million Americans – doesn’t have high-speed Internet at home.  Compare that to Singapore and Korea, where broadband adoption rates top 90 percent.  Minorities and low-income Americans are the hardest hit by this divide.  Research shows that cost, relevance, and digital literacy are the primary reasons many people aren’t connecting. Whether we're talking about jobs, education, or health care, in this day and age, getting online is a necessity, not a convenience.

The “Connect to Compete” effort will offer millions of families eligible for the National School Lunch Program discounted $9.95/ month broadband Internet, $150 laptop or desktop refurbished computers, and free digital literacy training.  This represents a $4 billion in-kind offering for tens of millions of Americans. And it won’t spend any taxpayer dollars.

Yesterday, President Obama said: “This important partnership between my Administration and American businesses represents a major step towards closing the digital divide -- connecting more families to the 21st century economy, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities, and helping America win the future.”

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The 2011 OCBO Capitalization Strategies Workshop

by Thomas Reed , OCBO Director
October 24, 2011 - 04:40 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:344:]]On December 8, 2011, the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities hosted its third annual Capitalization Strategies Workshop for small businesses involved in the media and telecommunications industries.  Through seminars like this one, which also feature a financial mentorship program, OCBO is connecting entrepreneurs with financial experts who make daily decisions about capital infusion.  The focus this year was banking institutions and SBA products.

As part of its capitalization strategies program, OCBO focuses on small and diverse businesses looking to launch new enterprises or simply to expand their existing businesses.  Our workshops offer entrepreneurs a nuts-and-bolts approach to obtaining public or private sector financing and the many ways new businesses can tailor their marketing strategies to prospective lenders and investors.   

This year’s workshop showcased experts from private equity, banking, and government lending institutions.  They addressed capital formation strategies applicable to a variety of business sectors including broadband, cable, broadcast TV, radio, wireless services, common carrier facilities and content programming products. 

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FCC and Connect To Compete Tackle Broadband Adoption Challenge

by Josh Gottheimer and Jordan Usdan, Chairman's Office
October 13, 2011 - 12:14 PM

Connect to Compete

Yesterday, joined by executives and nonprofit leaders, Chairman Genachowski announced a first-of-its kind national effort to address broadband adoption, digital literacy, and the employment skills gap.  If you have a moment, there are two articles worth reading from USA Today and the New York Times.

Right now, nearly one-third of the country – 100 million Americans – don’t have high-speed Internet at home. That’s compared to Singapore and Korea where the adoption rates top 90 percent. 

Some facts:

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Connect America Fund: Putting Consumers on the Map

by Sharon Gillett and Michael Byrne, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau and Geographic Information Officer
October 12, 2011 - 12:09 PM

Last week, Chairman Genachowski unveiled his proposal to accelerate broadband build-out – wired and wireless – to unserved homes, businesses and anchor institutions across the country through the Connect America Fund. If adopted, this proposal would connect millions more Americans to high-speed Internet and bring enormous benefits to individual consumers, our nation’s economic recovery and our global competitiveness. 

View the full map

For example, consumers who make long-distance calls – including nearly all landline and mobile phone subscribers – will benefit from reduced prices or greater value for the money – or both, with an FCC-estimated $1 billion or more per year in benefits for wireless consumers alone.

Reform of the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Intercarrier Compensation  (ICC) system can’t come soon enough. There are currently 18 million Americans who lack access to broadband. The harms from not having broadband are rising every day for consumers, and for our country.

To help illustrate the size and scope of the challenge – and the urgent need for reform – we have developed this interactive map, which shows with striking clarity that large swaths of our nation are being bypassed by the broadband revolution.

On this map, you’ll see a mix of served, partially served, and unserved areas, often right next to each other. 

Without USF and ICC reform, the map is unlikely to change much.

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Behind the Scenes with Apps for Communities

by Brittany L. Stevenson, New Media Associate
September 30, 2011 - 07:04 PM

So, who's behind the 50+ apps that we've received so far? Curious to know some details?

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FCC and FEMA: How to Communicate Before, During and After a Major Disaster

September 21, 2011 - 11:46 AM

By Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Ask anyone who has lived through a significant disaster what that experience was like and – without a doubt – one of the things some people are likely to recall is how difficult it was to communicate from their mobile phones with friends, family and emergency services like 911 in the immediate aftermath.

Many of us were reminded of this last month, when both a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and Hurricane Irene struck parts of the East Coast. People immediately reached for their phones to call loved ones or 911.  Unfortunately, in some cases, loss of power made communication difficult.

The FCC and FEMA are doing everything we can to empower the public to be prepared for all emergencies (you can visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov to learn more).  But one of the lessons learned from that August earthquake was that we can do more to educate the public about the most effective ways to communicate before, during and after a disaster. 

Today, we are pleased to release a set of new, easy-to-follow tips to help all Americans prepare their homes and mobile phones for a disaster.  These tips are practical things everyone can do to better preserve the ability to communicate effectively during – and immediately after – a disaster. 

While we don’t have control over when or where the next disaster will strike, we do have control over what we do to prepare.  Check out these tips and please, take one more step and share it with your networks. Use Twitter, Facebook, email or a good old-fashioned phone call to help us spread the word – and help more Americans get ready before the next disaster strikes.

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FCC Announces Public Testing of First Television White Spaces Database

by Julie Knapp, Chief, FCC Office of Engineering and Technology
September 14, 2011 - 03:17 PM

Julius P. Knapp

White spaces are unused spectrum between TV stations and are considered prime real estate because signals in this band travel well, making the band ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and spurr new investment and innovation. 

The availability of spectrum for unlicensed devices has fueled a wave of innovation and new businesses based on technologies such as as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DECT cordless phones, baby monitors, RF ID, smart utility meters, and many others.  This new unlicensed spectrum is powerful platform for innovation and in turn, experimental use, holding rich potential for further investment in the development of new technologies and services such as "Super Wi-Fi", wireless broadband networks, video devices, and machine to machine communications, among others.   

Today, the Commission is taking a critical step towards that goal by issuing a public notice announcing the start of the first trial of a TV white spaces database. The limited public testing of Spectrum Bridge’s database system is intended to allow the public to access and test the system to ensure that it correctly identifies channels that are available for unlicensed TV band devices, properly registers those facilities entitled to protection, and provides protection to authorized services and registered facilities as specified in the rules.

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Apps for Communities- Reminder to submit entries

by Tammy Sun, FCC Communications Director
September 8, 2011 - 01:39 PM

It’s the final days of summer and the Apps for Communities entry deadline’s been extended until October 3, 2011. Thanks for all those who’ve already submitted; our judges are looking forward to reviewing your apps. To enter, apply via the Challenge.gov portal and add a link to your team’s fully functioning app or demonstration and the source code.  

The Apps for Communities Challenge is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Federal Communications Commission. The Challenge will offer up to $100,000 in prizes to winning application developers and is intended to bring together providers of public data, developers and traditionally underserved populations through a national contest. The challenge is an effort to drive the great technical skills we have in our country out into our local communities. A particular goal is to build new applications to improve access for people who struggle with accessing information and services online: Seniors, non-English speakers, people who are uncomfortable with technology, and others. The results of this contest can have an enormously powerful impact on local communities across the country.

This year, we’re honored to have investors, technologist, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropist who have agreed to server as judges for the competition:  Marc Andreessen, Mayor Cory Booker, Charles Best, Brad Feld, Jen Pahlka and Tom Lee.   

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Back to School in a Digital World Forum – A call for your questions

by Tammy Sun, FCC Communications Director
September 7, 2011 - 03:35 PM

Like many parents around the country, the FCC’s getting ready for back-to-school season. Tomorrow, we’re hosting Back to School in a Digital World, a forum bringing together parents, educators and experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges around technology use by adolescents. Recent surveys show that nearly three quarters of online teens use social network sites and, on average, teenagers send one text message every ten minutes during waking hours. The event will highlight questions from parents, educators and others from across the country. 

We want to hear from you. As parents, tell us your burning questions – the ones you talk most about with your friends, family, teachers and others – surrounding issues related to your child’s online and digital experiences, at home, at school, on mobile phones, tablets and other devices. The FCC has set up a crowdsourcing site to help collect some of the most common questions from parents on this important topic. Submit your questions – or vote for topics you’d like to see discussed – here: fcc.us/digitalparent  Anyone can participate by submitting a question or voting for questions.  The forum will be webcast live on www.fcc.gov/live.  Parents will also be able to send in questions during the forum at livequestions@fcc.gov or tweet their questions to #fcclive. So feel free to give us your questions now, and one way or another, we’ll respond!

Back to School in a Digital World is free and open to the public. If you live in the Washington-DC area and want to attend, here are the details.

WHEN:           

Thursday, September 8, 2011

10:00AM – 11:15AM Eastern

WHERE:        

Columbia HeightsEducational Campus

Main Auditorium

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