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Official FCC Blog

September, 2012

FCC Acts on Key mHealth Task Force Recommendations to Spur Adoption of Wireless Health Technology

September 25, 2012 - 10:35 AM

In today's connected world, it's surprising to learn that more than 60% of doctors use a fax machine as a predominant form of clinician communication and only 1 in 5 doctors use a smartphone as part of their work. While email and smartphone use alone could create greater efficiencies for doctors, the promise of mHealth goes far beyond this to encompass innovations such as remote patient monitors that automatically send diagnostic information – such as fetal heart rate, blood pressure, or glucose levels – back to doctors and databases.

These innovations not only have the potential to save money across the U.S. health care system, but they could fundamentally transform patient care and improve health care delivery.


The co-chairs of the mHealth Task Force.
The co-chairs of the mHealth Task Force are Dr. Julian Goldman, Medical Director of Biomedical Engineering, Partners Healthcare System; Robert Jarrin, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Qualcomm; and Douglas Trauner, CEO, Health Analytic Services, Inc ( The event was moderated by Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.


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Chairman Genachowski Touts Promise of Digital Learning and Applauds National School Speed Test Launch

by Jordan Usdan, Maya Uppaluru, Kevin Almasy, Public Private Initiatives
September 12, 2012 - 04:32 PM

A recent study by the LEAD Commission found that 92% of teachers believe that technology is very important in helping students become more engaged and active participants in their own learning. As access to technology in the classroom becomes a necessity rather than a luxury for our nation’s students, we must do everything we can to ensure that we don’t leave anyone on the wrong side of the digital divide.

This is why Chairman Genachowski applauded today’s launch of the National School Broadband Test at this morning’s “Education Drives America” Bus Tour Kickoff Event at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA. The test is being conducted by EducationSuperHighway, an educational non-profit dedicated to ensuring that every K-12 school in America has high capacity (100MB+) Internet.

EducationSuperHighway is asking the nation’s teachers, administrators, and students to take one minute to run a broadband performance test that will automatically post results to a public database. It’s as easy as going to their web site, entering your school name, and hitting “Go”. Those interested in participating in the speed test can go to

In addition, yesterday at the LEAD Symposium on Technology in Education at Stanford University, the Chairman challenged education technology leaders to work together with government to remove Internet bandwidth as a constraint on education and innovation in our nation’s schools.

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Lifeline To Our World

by Kris Monteith, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Acting Bureau Chief
September 10, 2012 - 04:53 PM

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like without a phone, corded or wireless. How would you contact emergency services if there was a fire or a serious injury? How would you contact a potential new employer, or keep in touch with a current one? How would you contact your utility company about a power outage, or a doctor about your sick child? How would you keep in touch with your loved ones and your community?; In this day and age, telecommunications services are a real necessity, and not being able to afford them is a real liability.

Since the creation of the Lifeline benefit program in 1984, millions of low-income Americans have depended on it to make basic telecommunications services affordable to them. Without this program, countless households would be deprived of contact with health care providers and government services, access to work opportunities, and communications with family and their communities.; As more and more essential functions and services of our economy and our public sectors shift to wireless and online formats, the Lifeline program has been reformed to help low-income Americans overcome obstacles to Internet access and wireless communications. As part of this effort, the FCC has adopted an express goal for the program of ensuring availability of broadband for all low-income Americans, allowing Lifeline support for bundled services plans combining voice and broadband or packages including optional calling features.

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Developing New ICT Role Models for Girls

September 5, 2012 - 04:51 PM

Vicki MacLeod is an international consultant in communications policy and regulatory issues.  She is a representative on the OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee.

Careers in communications and technology are for everyone, including women. But we need to show girls the benefits of a STEM eduction – science, technology, engineering and math – and provide role models to guide their path.

As a child I used to look forward each Christmas to receiving the latest Girls’ Annual – a collection of stories about an intelligent, independent young heroine, who solved everyone’s problems in the course of her day. These larger than life characters (including Cherry Ames, a nurse, and Vicki Barr, a mystery-solving flight attendant) showed how women could use their brains and personal skills to lead exciting lives while making a real difference in the world.

The numbers of young people studying science and technology are declining, as are the numbers of girls in particular choosing to enter the ICT industry. This will leave a serious skills shortage as more of the pioneers of this industry reach retirement age. A lot of attention is being given to this issue by governments and industry around the world. Everyone agrees there is a problem; the question is what do we do about it?

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Heading Back to Kansas

by Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner
September 4, 2012 - 12:51 PM

There's no place like home.

I grew up in the great state of Kansas. When I was four years old, my family moved to Parsons, a small town of about 10,000 people in the southeastern corner of the state. My parents and many childhood friends still live there, and it's always a pleasure to visit. It is an area of the country that I care deeply about.

I'm therefore happy to report that I'll be heading back to the Sunflower State this week-for the first time in my capacity as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-to meet with a wide range of Kansans to talk about communications policy, technology, and rural deployment, and how they are helping to transform our way of life. Given the rapid transition to high-speed broadband networks and services globally, we are at a critical crossroads as regulators. It is important that the FCC work to remove barriers to investment and innovation and help unleash a wave of economic growth and job creation all across the country.

As I stated in my congressional testimony during my confirmation hearing, the world of communications was much less advanced when I was growing up. We made long-distance calls using a bulky phone connected to the wall by a thick wire, and our "data" connections to the outside world, such as they were, consisted primarily of analog video and local newspapers. In order to see how far we've come since then and where we still can improve, I'll visit a number of towns nestled in the southeast corner of the state.

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