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State and Local Governments - We Need Your Help

May 7, 2010 - 03:10 PM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:258:height=100,width=66]]I first joined the FCC in 1999 and worked various positions within the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, including legal advisor to the bureau chief. I then moved to Office of Legislative Affairs as Special Counsel. Finally in October of 2008, I joined IGA as Chief.

The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) was created to act as a point of contact within the FCC for state and local governments as well as other federal agencies.  One of IGA’s functions is to aid these entities in their understanding of the FCC’s programs, policies and rules.  However, we do not want the communications to be one-way.  We are looking for state, local, and federal input into FCC initiatives.  To kick this off, we are rolling out this blog with the hope that state and local governments will post comments about important developments in their jurisdiction.  With this, we expect the blog will become a path for dialogue on key issues of mutual concern such as rights-of-way and tower siting.

Your input will be useful to the FCC in understanding state and local perspectives as well as allow the FCC to pass on information pertinent to the state and local interests.  We also hope that state and local governments will take advantage of our new email account dedicated to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs staff, by emailing us at   In the months ahead, we also expect to be reaching out to state and local governments through events such as webinars.  We also look forward to working with you in the implementation of The National Broadband Plan, which was released by the FCC last month.  For more information on the National Broadband Plan please visit:  or click here to see The Plan.

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FCC's Own Service America Medal Finalists

May 7, 2010 - 02:58 PM


The Service to America Medals, or Sammies, are presented to members of the federal workforce for public service to the Nation and significant contributions which are innovative, high impact or of critical importance to America.  I was very pleased to attend a celebration May 5th at the Senate Russell Office Building, where Joe Casey and Paul Coburn, both outstanding members of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, were named as Finalists in the Homeland Security category.  Tim Peterson, our Chief of Staff, submitted the nomination, which highlights Joe and Paul’s innovation during and after Hurricane Katrina to start an initiative called Project Roll Call.


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The Future of Internet Policy in America

May 7, 2010 - 12:59 PM

Read video transcript here.

Cross posted from

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A Third-Way Legal Framework For Addressing The Comcast Dilemma

May 6, 2010 - 11:37 AM


When the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in the Comcast/BitTorrent case, it was clear the decision could affect a significant number of important recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, the Commission’s Open Internet proceeding, and other policy initiatives related to broadband.  In light of the uncertainty created by the decision, the Chairman asked me to investigate all of the options available to the Commission.  Other FCC staff and I have developed a proposal that we believe resolves the doubt created by the D.C. Circuit’s opinion while providing a firm legal basis for the Commission’s limited, but vital role with respect to broadband.  Whether, all things considered, the legal response to Comcast sketched out in our proposal is the best one for the Commission to adopt would be for the five FCC Commissioners to answer after public comment and private study.  In my judgment, it’s a question worth asking.

Read more about the proposal here.

Read Chairman Genachowski’s statement discussing his reasons for seeking comment on the proposal here.

[Cross-posted from Blogband]

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The Third Way: A Narrowly Tailored Broadband Framework

May 6, 2010 - 10:53 AM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:88:height=93,width=70]]Broadband is increasingly essential to our daily lives. It is fast becoming the primary way we as Americans connect with one another, do business, educate ourselves and our children, receive health care information and services, and express our opinions. As a unanimous FCC said a few weeks ago in our Joint Statement on Broadband, “Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks—both wired and wireless—lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st Century.”

Many have asked about the future of Internet policy and the FCC’s role in that future in light of the recent decision in the Comcast case.  Today I have issued a statement that describes a path forward, which will begin with seeking public comment on a narrow and tailored legal foundation for the FCC’s approach to broadband communications services.  Our goal is to restore the broadly supported status quo consensus that existed prior to the Comcast decision regarding the FCC’s role with respect to broadband Internet service.

This statement describes a framework to support policies that advance our global competitiveness and preserve the Internet as a powerful platform for innovation, free speech, and job creation.  I remain open to all ideas on the best approach to achieve our country’s vital goals with respect to high-speed broadband for all Americans, and the Commission proceeding to follow will seek comment on multiple legal theories and invite new ideas.
[This is cross-posted from Blogband]
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Hitting the Road, Reaching Out, and Listening

May 3, 2010 - 01:49 PM


Welcome to the new FCC, where our face, and the faces of our staff, are showing up not only in DC but around the nation.

The FCC has been hitting the road - going beyond the DC Beltway - busily setting up events and meeting with consumers and community groups from Charlotte to Seattle. And the nation is taking notice. What surprises and pleases me is that every time we do an event outside of the DC area, the local public seems not just excited – but thankful. We've heard comments from folks like: "I can't believe you came all the way from Washington, DC to listen to us." "Whether we agree with your actions or not, we really appreciate the fact that you're hearing us and giving us the opportunity to comment in person and to answer our questions."

On April 27th and 28th, the FCC took its show on the road to Seattle. The issue at hand was the "open Internet." Zac Katz, Deputy Director of the Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, opened the community forum on April 27th, explaining in laymen's terms just what "open Internet" is and what relevant issues are currently facing the FCC. The audience was diverse, reflecting the broad spectrum of Seattle's constituency.

The next morning the FCC hosted a workshop, "Approaches to Preserving the Open Internet," moderated by Paul de Sa, Chief of the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski welcomed the audience by video, as did Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Jay Inslee. Using new media tools, the FCC was able to field live questions via the Web and Twitter.

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Why What the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Does Matters

April 30, 2010 - 05:54 PM


I wanted to write something to inform you of the impact the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC has on the lives of millions of first responders and their families. This is especially relevant now, because May 9-15, 2010 is National Law Enforcement Week.

I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and I want to share with you some professional and personal insights on the importance of effective, efficient public safety communications.

So many times we get caught up in the day-to-day “to-do” lists at work, and we forget to think about why we do what we do.  Why is the work of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC so important?  Well, I want to remind you from a public safety practitioner’s viewpoint, why.

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An Opportunity Knocks for Broadcasters

April 29, 2010 - 03:01 PM


The Commission's proposal to invite voluntary participation by TV broadcasters in a spectrum exchange is an opportunity knocking at their door. Broadcasters who are strapped for capital may find that answering that knock will be just what they need to kick their performance up to the next level.

Many — though not all — broadcasters find themselves today to be capital constrained as they contemplate taking advantage of the many potential benefits of the DTV transition. Whether they seek to develop new digital content, expand their new media platforms, or exploit new technologies that enable transmission of two HDTV streams on a 6 MHz channel, these broadcasters may find that they are "spectrum poor" — their scarcest resource is not spectrum but the capital needed to make those improvements. To help broadcasters be all that they can be, ways need to be found to help them get that capital.

A voluntary spectrum exchange offers these broadcasters a chance to get the needed capital infusion to make the investments that will position them to serve their communities even better going forward. The Commission has yet to work out the details of such a voluntary program, and broadcasters' input to that process will be key. But a broadcaster is likely to have the option of contributing half of a 6 MHz channel and sharing spectrum with another station that has done the same, or — Congress willing — to contribute a 6 MHz channel to an incentive auction in which the broadcaster will share in the auction proceeds. Either way, a broadcaster will be able to use the capital thus generated to jump to an improved business model in its continued broadcast activities, making it a stronger contender in the multimedia ecosystem that is evolving daily. Innovative spectrum-sharing arrangements should create new opportunities for minority and niche broadcasters to prosper

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Spectrum Task Force Poised to Drive the Implementation of the National Broadband Plan's Spectrum Agenda

April 26, 2010 - 04:45 PM

By Julius Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, and Ruth Milkman, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

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Help Update the Spectrum Dashboard

by James Brown, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
April 22, 2010 - 10:39 AM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:120:height=100,width=71]]This week the FCC announced that a public forum will be held on May 12, 2010, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm to discuss potential enhancements to the Spectrum Dashboard in anticipation of release 2.0 of the Spectrum Dashboard in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Anyone interested in providing feedback on the list of potential enhancements below, suggesting additional potential enhancements, or participating at the forum by sharing your experiences with using the Spectrum Dashboard should contact me by April 30, 2010 at James.Brown at FCC dot gov or (717) 338-2621.  Final details of the forum will be announced approximately one week before the forum on this blog and in a public notice.

Potential Enhancements to the Spectrum Dashboard

Enhance license information:

  • Add spectrum leases, including the common name for lessees.
  • Modify how cellular licenses are depicted in the Spectrum Dashboard by cutting off Service Area Boundaries (SABs) at the Cellular Market Area (CMA) boundaries.
  • Update broadcast data to include more current information for full power TV stations and to add data for low power TV stations.

Add search capabilities:

  • Identify spectrum licensed on federally-recognized Tribal Lands.
  • Add additional types of licenses that can be searched and add additional search options.
  • Expand the range of spectrum bands where information is available (currently the Spectrum Dashboard encompasses 225 MHz – 3700 MHz).

Improve search results:

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