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Official FCC Blog

Supporting Calling Plan Rights for Military Service Members

by Kris Monteith, Acting Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief
July 6, 2012 - 03:20 PM

Celebrating the birth of our nation reminds us of the sacrifices our forefathers made for our liberty, and the sacrifices the men and women of our armed services continue to make today to ensure we remain free.

Here at the FCC, we remind U.S. service members of their rights regarding mobile/wireless calling plans under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

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FCC to Host a Supplier Diversity Conference for Small, Minority and Women-Owned Businesses

by Calvin Osborne, Attorney Advisor
June 29, 2012 - 04:52 PM

The FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities (“OCBO”) hosted a Supplier Diversity Conference and Workshop on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm. The conference focused on government and private sector business opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses.

The event included a panel discussion, followed by small workshops. The goal of the Supplier Diversity Conference is to provide networking opportunities and share business information with suppliers of telecommunications and technology companies. This will further establish a diverse supply base. The panelists discussed how to develop and utilize the many skills and talents that small businesses possess, and address the various contract needs of large companies and how small businesses can distinguish themselves in the race for lucrative opportunities.

The first panel featured procurement officers from the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Federal Communications Commission. The second panel featured executives from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, Comcast, and Microsoft.

The panels were moderated by Thomas Reed, Director of OCBO, and Ronald Johnson, President of Solutions4Change, and a member of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age OCBO coordinated one-on-one sessions between the panelists and any small business owner who wished to participate. In these confidential meetings, small business owners received individualized advice on supplier strategies and information on current contracting opportunities.

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FCC Chairman Challenges Private Sector to Accelerate the Next Generation of Wireless Health

June 15, 2012 - 05:24 PM

Imagine a wireless sensor embedded in your gym clothes, so small and lightweight that it is barely noticeable, that tracks your heart rate and calories burned as you exercise and sends the data to your mobile phone.  Or a wireless heart monitor that warns a physician that her patient with congestive heart failure is experiencing severe symptoms, in time to intervene before an arrhythmia occurs. 

These and other wireless health care innovations hold tremendous promise to transform health care delivery, not only by revolutionizing the way patients manage their own care, but also by cutting costs and increasing efficiencies across our health care system. 

The U.S. spends about $2 trillion annually on health care expenses—17% of GDP and more than any other industrialized country.  Chronic disease management accounts for 75% of our total health system costs, and because of that, many wireless health devices are targeting this very aspect of health care.  Studies have found that remote patient monitoring reduced the risk of hospitalization by 47%, reduced hospital stay length, and reduced office visits by 65%.

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A Call for Nominations: FCC Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

by Kris Monteith, Acting Bureau Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
June 14, 2012 - 07:08 AM

The Commission recently announced that it would be accepting nominations for the second annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman's AAA). This project, coordinated by the Commission's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I Initiative), seeks to recognize innovations in the field of Accessibility and Technology. The Chairman's AAA and the A&I initiative are based on recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, an FCC report to Congress in 2010.

In a rapidly changing world, we must ensure that newly developed technologies continue to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Technological advances, moreover, provide opportunities to bridge current accessibility gaps in a cost-effective and efficient manner. To this end, the A&I Initiative works to foster collaborative problem-solving among industry, consumer, and government stakeholders so that people with disabilities can reap the full benefit of broadband communication technologies. The Chairman's AAA encourages innovation in this field through high-profile recognition.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Community Anchor Institutions

June 1, 2012 - 05:00 PM

Please provide comments to the issue below as part of the 2012 WCB cost model virtual workshop for inclusion in the record. Comments are moderated for conformity to the workshop's guidelines.


The Commission has a statutory obligation to ensure that schools, libraries, and health care providers have access to advanced telecommunications and information services. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission established a performance goal of ensuring "universal availability of modern networks capable of delivering broadband and voice services . . . to community anchor institutions." Community anchor institutions are defined by the Order to include such entities as schools, libraries, hospitals and other medical providers, public safety entities, institutions of higher education, and community support organizations that facilitate greater use of broadband by vulnerable populations, including low-income, the unemployed, and the aged.

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WCB Cost Model Virtual Workshop 2012 - Business Locations

June 1, 2012 - 05:00 PM

Please provide comments to the issue below as part of the 2012 WCB cost model virtual workshop for inclusion in the record. Comments are moderated for conformity to the workshop's guidelines.


Hybrid Cost Proxy Model: The Hybrid Cost Proxy Model (HCPM) used carrier-submitted line count data to determine the number of switched business lines and special access lines in a wire center and assumed a certain percentage were provided using a DS1. A DS1 provides 24 voice equivalent channels (DS0s) using two copper pairs. These percentages were then used to reduce the number of DS0 lines deployed by the model in each wire center to account for the DS1s that were deployed to serve business locations and special access locations. Although the costs of special access services were included in the total cost of each wire center, and costs were unitized by both switched access and non-switched access lines, support was only provided to locations served by switched access lines (including business locations).

Connect America Cost Model: In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission established a performance goal of ensuring "the universal availability of modern networks capable of delivering broadband and voice service to homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions."

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Thoughts on the Digital Government Strategy

by Michael Byrne, Geographic Information Officer
May 24, 2012 - 05:47 PM

On a regular basis, I find myself working with increasingly bigger datasets, and investigating increasingly more complicated patterns. However, as data gets bigger and more complicated, government IT budgets are getting smaller. At the same time, the public expects government to quickly provide open access to data in a wide range of formats and delivery mechanisms. This leads to a conundrum - we understand that data is capable of many types of outputs, and we must allow it to serve as many uses as possible while keeping costs to a minimum.

This week the Federal CIO released a strategy for ‘Digital Government’ which challenges us to innovate to meet these growing demands. The strategy contains four themes: information-centric, shared platform, customer-centric, and security. This broad approach to information technologies provides the innovative foundation for the entire strategy. Key to this approach is making our data more open by decoupling it from any predefined presentation layer; in short, publishing data as simple services which anyone can access. The strategy calls for using APIs as a cornerstone to this decoupling.

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Channel Sharing Workshop: Just the Sort of Input We Need

by Bill Lake, Chief, Media Bureau
May 24, 2012 - 04:30 PM

We held a workshop on channel sharing this week, to explore the practical business and operational challenges facing broadcasters who may want to try this innovative way to use spectrum more efficiently.  Over 200 people participated in person and over the web, making it a successful kickoff to a series of events through which we’ll invite input that will help us to implement our new incentive auction authority.

We proposed channel sharing as a way for broadcasters to contribute much-needed spectrum in connection with an incentive auction, enjoy the financial benefits of sharing in auction proceeds, and at the same time stay on the air to serve their viewers.  Our panel of broadcast professionals discussed the business models that might fit with channel sharing and the practicalities of putting together a channel sharing arrangement.

The panelists, a number of whom have clients actively considering channel sharing, shared with us their insights into wide-ranging issues, including –

  • the types of stations for which channel sharing would be an appropriate business decision;
  • how stations would go about choosing partners;
  • what kinds of provisions channel sharing agreements should contain;
  • how to handle the possible termination of a channel sharing arrangement; and
  • potential collusive behavior that stations negotiating channel sharing agreements might need to avoid.

While it seems accepted that the technology exits to implement channel sharing, the discussion also covered a number of technical issues about how it might be implemented.

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FCC.GOV Redesign: One year later…

May 22, 2012 - 01:50 PM

A little more than a year ago, the FCC launched its first website redesign in nearly a decade. Building a website that serves many audiences is a complex challenge. And it is a challenge best met in partnership with the site’s frequent users. Included with the launch were prompts inviting our Web audience to tell us what they think, suggest improvements and report problems. We have responded to a significant portion of these so far and continue to do so.

In the last year, we have also:

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Final Plan for Retrospective Review of Regulations at the FCC

by Jennifer Tatel, Associate General Counsel
May 18, 2012 - 03:30 PM

The FCC continues to make agency reform a top priority. A key focus of this reform has been carrying out our statutory mission in a way that recognizes changes in technology and the marketplace and reduces burdens on business and industry while promoting incentives for investment and promoting economic growth.

Last year, the President issued an Executive Order to the heads of all independent agencies, including the FCC. The new Executive Order builds on the President's January 2011 Executive Order on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and asks independent agencies to conduct both retrospective and prospective regulatory analyses, consistent with law. Chairman Genachowski has said the agency would act in accordance with the new Executive Order, and that he expects all FCC Bureaus and Offices will perform their responsibilities consistent with the order.

In November 2011, we developed a Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules, which recognized the importance of retrospective analysis and identified numerous Commission proceedings that predated the Executive Order, as the FCC historically has incorporated retrospective review into its rulemaking process.  The Preliminary Plan also described the ongoing agency-wide process of identifying outmoded or counterproductive rules.

Today, the agency releases our Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules. The Final Plan represents the Commission’s strategy for incorporating retrospective analysis into the agency’s processes for reviewing its rules.

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