Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Official FCC Blog

On the Importance of Communication

by Dr. David A. Bray, Chief Information Officer
October 21, 2013
David Bray

Our modern world teems with communication. Most of us have cell phones or smart phones that allow us to be reached 24/7 by almost anyone as we move about the planet. We can access the Internet and catch-up on global and local news, share our thoughts via blogs, wikis, instant messages, or uploaded media files. Digital images, sounds, music, and video all can be accessed through the Internet to communicate ideas, share perspectives, and convey emotions from events both at home and halfway around the world.

I am so excited to join the FCC family as the new CIO. I realize I have much work to do to learn the full breadth and depth of the FCC's existing and historical IT efforts both internally and in collaboration with the public and private sectors. Everyone has been friendly and excited to communicate the Commission’s great endeavors. There is a palpable sense of purpose and mission here at the FCC. I am impressed by the number of people who have been here for fifteen, twenty, and thirty years or more, all who say they are here because of the role the FCC plays in enabling communication to support our national growth, prosperity, security, safety, and freedom.

Read more »

Updated: The Low Power FM Application Window Is Fast Approaching

by Bill Lake, Media Bureau Chief
October 21, 2013

Reposted from the September 19, 2013 post "The Low Power FM Application Window is Fast Approaching" with Updated Information

In August we had our first of two webinars on how communities and non-profit organizations can apply for new low-power FM radio station licenses during the next window, October 15 – November 14, 2013.  The webinar allowed viewers to ask questions directly to Bureau staff.  We were delighted to answer many questions during the session and have continued to respond to your inquiries since then.  The second webinar will be held on Thursday, October 24.  Before this next session, we want to give you these reminders and highlights on a number of important issues:

First and foremost, don’t forget you can start filling out your Form 318 application online now!  You won’t be able to file the application until the October 15 – November 14, window, but we highly recommend you complete the entire application as soon as possible.  This will allow you to avoid any last minute questions or technical issues.

Second, remember that, while you do not need a 501(c)(3) certification, you must be organized as a nonprofit educational institution, corporation, or entity under your State’s laws, as of the date of the application filing, to be eligible to apply for an LPFM license.  In other words, if you have only recently filed your incorporation papers and have not received confirmation as of October 29, you will not be eligible to apply. 

Read more »

For researchers, useful datasets and potential questions

by Irene S. Wu, Senior Analyst, Policy Division, International Bureau
September 27, 2013

At the Federal Communications Commission, we publish a large amount of information and data, much of it potentially useful for research projects.  However, the FCC’s information is organized in ways that facilitate rulemakings, not research; and for those not directly involved in rulemakings, it can be difficult to find the most useful resources, even though the information is public.  To help researchers, today we are releasing a list of questions that we hope will pique the interest of researchers in the US and around the world, along with some tips as to where the public data already exist.  The list includes

  • Public datasets that could be used by researchers, such as
    • Broadcasting ownership data
    • International traffic data
    • Broadband performance data
    • Consumer complaints
  • Public information that could be used to build a dataset, such as
    • 911 calls
    • Consumer lookup tools
  • Research questions touching on issues such as
    • Interpreting broadband service quality and performance
    • Network configuration options for schools
    • Price elasticity studies for international calls
    • IP-to-IP international calling
    • Cloud computing

Of course, any efforts expended by researchers to address these topics are completely voluntary, and no funding has been obligated or is expected to be obligated for any contractual undertakings.  We hope this will continue the long and fruitful dialogue the FCC has had with the research community and generate new ideas and insights that will benefit public policy in the future.

Read more »

Providing Relief for the Families of Inmates From the High Cost of Staying in Touch

by Julie Veach, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau
September 26, 2013

Today, the Commission released an Order that will provide meaningful relief to millions of Americans who have borne the financial burden of unjust and unreasonable interstate inmate calling service (ICS) rates.  These reforms are the right thing to do.  Our actions will increase inmates’ ability to stay in contact with their families and loved ones—including the 2.7 million children with an incarcerated parent.  That increased contact reduces recidivism, which benefits all of us through safer communities and by reducing the expense of incarcerating the re-offenders.  In fact, one study notes that a 1% reduction in recidivism would lead to $250 million in annual cost savings.   

The ICS rates that spurred us to act are high.  In one case, the cost of a 15-minute call is $17.50—about $1.15 per minute.  The Order we released today is a major step toward fulfilling our statutory obligation to ensure that rates for all consumers are just, reasonable and fair. 

Let’s take a look at the reforms:

Read more »

The Low Power FM Application Window Is Fast Approaching

by Bill Lake, Media Bureau Chief
September 19, 2013

***Due to the Government-wide lapse in funding the webinar date and LPFM Open Filing Window Deadline have changed. Please see "Updated: The Low Power FM Application Window Is Fast Approaching" for the correct dates.***

Second, remember that, while you do not need a 501(c)(3) certification, you must be organized as a nonprofit educational institution, corporation, or entity under your State’s laws, as of the date of the application filing, to be eligible to apply for an LPFM license.  In other words, if you have only recently filed your incorporation papers and have not received confirmation as of October 29, you will not be eligible to apply. 

Third, we will permit organizations in a community to work together to file a single Form 318 application.  Alternatively, organizations in a community could apply separately – for the same or different frequency – knowing that they may decide later to aggregate points so they can negotiate a time-share agreement if the Commission determines that they are tied with the highest point total in the same mutually exclusive group.  (Applications are mutually exclusive if they are filed in the same window and the simultaneous operation of the proposed stations would result in one, or more, stations causing objectionable interference to another.)

Read more »

FCC Celebrates National Health IT Week

by Matthew Quinn, Director of Healthcare Initiatives
September 16, 2013

The week of September 16-20, 2013 is National Health Information Technology (IT) Week.  National Health IT Week celebrates the efforts that have been made—and are being made—in the transformation of how care is delivered and paid for and how patients engage in their own health and health care http://www.healthit.gov/healthitweek/.

At the FCC, we’re joining public and private stakeholders in raising awareness of the role of Health Information Technology’s power to improve the health and health care of patients all across the nation, and at lower cost.

To highlight its efforts in supporting health IT innovation, the FCC is participating in a variety of activities during National Health IT Week including:

Read more »

Demonstration of Innovative Accessibility Technology at FCC on Sept. 12

by Kelly Jones, Outreach Specialist, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division
September 9, 2013

Would you like to see live demonstrations about new and exciting technologies designed to enhance accessibility?  The FCC will be hosting several such demonstrations in conjunction with its Accessibility and Innovation Initiative speaker series.  Some of these demos will show how a smartphone can scan printed material into electronic text, how a web-browsing assistant can extract news articles for later reading, and how cloud computing can enhance accessibility for all.

At the second event in this speaker series, we are pleased to welcome guest speaker Dr. Yevgen Borodin, a renowned professor and entrepreneur, who is known for his research in the field of computational methods and non-visual interfaces for improving Web accessibility.  Dr. Borodin will be discussing “Improving Accessibility for the General Public.”

Additional details about Dr. Borodin’s presentation can be found at the following events page:
http://www.fcc.gov/events/accessibility-innovation-initiative-speaker-series-presents-yevgen-borodin-improving-accessib. His presentation starts at 10 a.m.

Following Dr. Borodin’s presentation, there will be technological demonstrations in our Technology Experience Center (TEC) in the FCC library from 1:00pm – 3:00pm.  The afternoon demos will showcase accessible technology solutions that illustrate topics of the morning’s presentation. 

The following TEC demos are now scheduled:

Read more »

A New Step in Promoting Safety and Innovation in Healthcare IT

by Matthew Quinn, Director of FCC Health Care Initiatives
September 6, 2013

The FCC is committed to accelerating the adoption and innovation of health information technology (health IT) through wired and wireless broadband.  Health IT tools such as electronic health records, mobile health applications and mobile body area networks (MBANS) hold great potential to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

The Commission has worked closely with federal partners like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to achieve these goals.

Last year, Congress called for the FDA to work with FCC and ONC to provide recommendations for a regulatory framework for health IT that promotes safety and innovation and reduces regulatory duplication. Specifically, this call for recommendations was called for in section 618 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, otherwise known as FDASIA.

Earlier this week, we achieved an important milestone. A working group of ONC's federal advisory committee released its recommendations on this framework: The Path Toward a Risk-Based Regulatory Framework for Health IT. The workgroup, which included participation from the FCC, formed to obtain broad stakeholder input from across the health care, IT, patients and innovation spectrum. Our three agencies were active participants in these discussions and learned a great deal from them.

The FCC looks forward to continuing to work with FDA and ONC to develop final recommendations to Congress by January 2014.

Read more »

Accessibility and Innovation Initiative Speaker Series

by Susan Fisenne, Outreach Specialist, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division
August 26, 2013

Those of us working at the FCC strongly believe that the power of technology should benefit and be available to all Americans, including those with disabilities.  Communications technology is empowering to all, but for people with disabilities, it is especially promising.  It can enable someone to telecommute or run a business out of their home; shop online; get involved in their community; receive remote healthcare; take online classes; stay connected with friends and family.  The list goes on and on, but all of these opportunities would be lost if people with disabilities do not have access to the Web.

Dr. Yevgen Borodin and the company he co-founded, Charmtech Labs LLC, are driven by the social cause of making the Web universally accessible for all.  And for that reason, the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau is honored to have Dr. Borodin as the guest presenter at the Accessibility & Innovation Initiative Speaker Series scheduled for September 14, 2013, from 10 am to 12 noon in the Commission Meeting Room.  The Accessibility & Innovation Initiative launched its speaker series earlier this summer to raise awareness and encourage innovation in accessible communications technologies that will benefit people with disabilities. 

Read more »

Adding Local Voices to the Radio Airwaves

by Bill Lake, Chief, Media Bureau
August 12, 2013

The FCC recently announced that it will accept LPFM license applications between October 15, 2013 and October 29, 2013.  I am extremely excited about the new opportunities presented by the window, which is the result of the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 and the work of the Commission to implement that legislation. 

As Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn recently said: “Local groups across the country will have a unique opportunity in October to apply for a license to provide LPFM radio broadcast services to their communities.”

The LPFM service was initially established in 2000 to create opportunities for new voices to be heard on the radio.  The FCC envisioned LPFM stations would serve very localized communities of underrepresented groups within those communities.  An LPFM station can be authorized to operate with up to 100 watts and will typically have a service radius of approximately three and one-half miles.  LPFM stations are available to local, nonprofit educational entities, Tribes, and public safety organizations, but are not available to individuals or for commercial operations.  LPFM stations are authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting only, and LPFM licenses generally cannot own or have an interest in any other broadcast stations.

Read more »
close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.