Genachowski Hope Street Group 2012 Colloquium: Innovation Panel
FCC CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI
HOPE STREET GROUP 2012 COLLOQUIUM: INNOVATION PANEL
MAY 24, 2012
Thank you Hope Street for the opportunity to participate in this panel discussion on innovation.
One of the things I admire most about the Hope Street Group is their comprehensive approach to
promoting economic success. They are focused not only on solutions to drive economic growth
and job creation, but also ensuring the doors of opportunity are open to all Americans, and
tackling major challenges like education and health care.
Obviously communications technology is key to addressing all of Hope Street’s goals.
I’d like to talk for a moment about what we at the FCC sees as three key ingredients for
innovation in communications technology sector that will drive economic growth, promote broad
opportunity, and enable new advances in areas like health, education, and energy.
First, unleashing spectrum for mobile broadband.
Spectrum is the invisible infrastructure that sustains the mobile revolution that is transforming our
economy and the way with live.
The U.S. is leading this revolution. We have now regained global leadership in mobile.
American-designed apps and services are being adopted faster than any others, both inside and
outside our borders.
Freeing up more spectrum for broadband and promoting its efficient use will help the U.S.
maintain its leadership in mobile.
It will also enable new devices and services to flourish, from interactive digital textbooks to smart
homes where appliances talk to one another saving energy costs.
Earlier today, the FCC adopted new rules making the U.S. the first country in the world to
dedicate spectrum for Medical Body Area Networks – which enable advanced health monitoring
that will improve the quality of care, lower costs, and ultimately save lives.
Previously, the Commission dedicated spectrum for Medical Micropower Networks, which have
the potential - literally - to enable paraplegics to stand.
A second key ingredient to innovation is driving universal broadband deployment and adoption.
To maximize the benefits of wired and wireless broadband, we need to work toward connecting
But nearly 18 million Americans couldn’t get broadband if they wanted it. The infrastructure
isn’t there. Deploying broadband in these areas would enable a variety of innovative new
services and applications for rural Americans, making it possible for small businesses in these
communities to fully participate in the 21st century economy.
To close this deployment gap, the Commission unanimously approved a once-in-a-generation
overall of our universal service programs that puts us on the path ton broadband for all within a
We face not only a broadband deployment gap, but also an adoption gap. Nearly 1/3 of
Americans – about 100 million people – still haven’t adopted broadband in the home.
Getting these Americans online would deliver dramatic benefits to each of these individuals – in
the form of access to job listings that are exclusively online, children who can research on the
Internet to help with homework, and deals that can save consumers thousands a year.
Getting these 100 million Americans online would have tremendous benefits for our overall
economy. Imagine if we could expand the online marketplace by 50% and how much that would
do to drive sales for small businesses and make the U.S. a more attractive market for investment.
A third key ingredient to innovation is increasing the speed and capacity of broadband.
Broadband speed and capacity are important to innovation -- from education and health care to
information and entertainment.
Greater speeds and greater capacity will create more incentives for innovators to develop next-
generation products and services that will provide dramatic benefits.
That’s why we need test-beds of super-fast broadband at anchor institutions like research
hospitals, like the work being driven by organizations such as Gig.U.
We also need steadily increasing broadband speed and capacity for the average consumer.
With fast networks and high monthly capacity, families with connected high-school students
won’t have to fight over who gets to use the Internet for homework this week and who doesn’t.
A distance learner can take a full course load online, as opposed to picking and choosing lectures.
A senior with diabetes can take advantage of treatments that use online video for regular
consultations and wireless monitoring that requires high-data transmissions.
When it comes to speed and capacity, an environment of abundance, not scarcity, will open the
door to new innovation – some we can envision and others that we can’t even imagine today.
New business models and new services can be a good thing for consumers by driving efficiency,
providing more choices, and improving affordability by offering lower prices per bit. It can also
help ensure that lower users aren’t subsidizing heavier users.
At the same time, to drive U.S. leadership in the broadband economy, new business models and
new services by broadband providers should not come at the expense of competition, including
from over-the-top providers, or at the expense of increases in broadband speed and monthly
The Commission is committed to promoting all of the ingredients of innovation, and we look
forward to working with Hope Street and all of you to seize the opportunities of broadband
Internet for our economy and society.