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Apps for Communities- Reminder to submit entries

by Tammy Sun, FCC Communications Director
September 8, 2011 - 01:39 PM

It’s the final days of summer and the Apps for Communities entry deadline’s been extended until October 3, 2011. Thanks for all those who’ve already submitted; our judges are looking forward to reviewing your apps. To enter, apply via the Challenge.gov portal and add a link to your team’s fully functioning app or demonstration and the source code.  

The Apps for Communities Challenge is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Federal Communications Commission. The Challenge will offer up to $100,000 in prizes to winning application developers and is intended to bring together providers of public data, developers and traditionally underserved populations through a national contest. The challenge is an effort to drive the great technical skills we have in our country out into our local communities. A particular goal is to build new applications to improve access for people who struggle with accessing information and services online: Seniors, non-English speakers, people who are uncomfortable with technology, and others. The results of this contest can have an enormously powerful impact on local communities across the country.

This year, we’re honored to have investors, technologist, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropist who have agreed to server as judges for the competition:  Marc Andreessen, Mayor Cory Booker, Charles Best, Brad Feld, Jen Pahlka and Tom Lee.   

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Back to School in a Digital World Forum – A call for your questions

by Tammy Sun, FCC Communications Director
September 7, 2011 - 03:35 PM

Like many parents around the country, the FCC’s getting ready for back-to-school season. Tomorrow, we’re hosting Back to School in a Digital World, a forum bringing together parents, educators and experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges around technology use by adolescents. Recent surveys show that nearly three quarters of online teens use social network sites and, on average, teenagers send one text message every ten minutes during waking hours. The event will highlight questions from parents, educators and others from across the country. 

We want to hear from you. As parents, tell us your burning questions – the ones you talk most about with your friends, family, teachers and others – surrounding issues related to your child’s online and digital experiences, at home, at school, on mobile phones, tablets and other devices. The FCC has set up a crowdsourcing site to help collect some of the most common questions from parents on this important topic. Submit your questions – or vote for topics you’d like to see discussed – here: fcc.us/digitalparent  Anyone can participate by submitting a question or voting for questions.  The forum will be webcast live on www.fcc.gov/live.  Parents will also be able to send in questions during the forum at livequestions@fcc.gov or tweet their questions to #fcclive. So feel free to give us your questions now, and one way or another, we’ll respond!

Back to School in a Digital World is free and open to the public. If you live in the Washington-DC area and want to attend, here are the details.

WHEN:           

Thursday, September 8, 2011

10:00AM – 11:15AM Eastern

WHERE:        

Columbia HeightsEducational Campus

Main Auditorium

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Tips for Communicating in an Emergency

by Jamie Barnett, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
August 27, 2011 - 01:59 PM
James Arden Barnett, Jr.

I want to share some important emergency information to you for during the storm so that you and your family stay safe.

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Electronic Filing for Full-Sized Cellular Maps

by Chris Miller, Program Analyst, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
August 26, 2011 - 11:53 AM

This week we made the announcement that starting on September 8, 2011, applicants can file full-sized (1:500,000 scale) cellular maps electronically using a standard GIS format.

These maps are filed when licensees of 800 MHz cellular service apply for authority to operate in an “unserved area” or notify the FCC of a reduction in their Cellular Geographic Service Area (CGSA).

With this exciting option, applicants will no longer need to file full-sized paper maps (although they can if they want to). By filing these maps electronically, we believe everyone involved benefits. First, the public will now gain instant access to these maps by using readily available GIS software. Applicants no longer need to print and mail these large maps to the FCC. And, we will now have another tool in our hands as we review these maps.

There are some specific steps that need to be followed when these maps are filed, so please take a look at the Public Notice we released for additional information.

We really are excited about this new option and look forward to having the first electronic maps filed next month.

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At the National Council of La Raza Conference

by Keyla Hernandez-Ulloa, Associate Chief, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division
August 23, 2011 - 11:50 AM

Embrace Now, this year’s National Council of La Raza (NCLR) conference, kicked off at the end of July. The Commission was well represented as we exhibited at the conference’s National Latino Family Expo. We provided information on a range of topics from the Do Not Call Registry to unwanted telephone marketing calls and information on finding local broadcast television stations. Of particular interest was Lifeline - which provides eligible consumers a basic monthly discount on one basic local service - and Link-Up - which pays for part of a connection or activation charge for new phone service. Consumers who were not aware of the eligibility requirements or restrictions were advised to contact their local service provider or public utilities commission. Most attendees who visited our booth wanted information on how to file an informal complaint or how to comment.National Council La Raza

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Announcing Apps for Communities Deadline Extended

by Clay Johnson, Partner, Big Window Labs
August 19, 2011 - 04:44 PM

We are thrilled to have already received over 35 entries to the Apps for Communities contest, but because we've just recently confirmed our impressive slate of judges, the Knight Foundation and the FCC wanted to give everyone a few extra weeks.  The results of this contest can have an enormously powerful impact on local communities across the country and we could not be happier that so many participants are interested in our contest.  As a result, we're extending our deadline until Monday, October 3rd.  

In addition, we are also honored to have the participation of so many distinguished judges:  Marc Andreessen, Mayor Cory Booker, Charles Best, Brad Feld, Jen Pahlka and Tom Lee.  They are looking forward to judging your entries.  This challenge is an effort to drive the great technical skills we have in our country out into our local communities. A particular goal is to build new applications to improve access for people who struggle with accessing information and services online: Seniors, non-English speakers, people who are uncomfortable with technology, and others. This contest seeks to bring the value of broadband to people who are, up until now, less likely to be online.

For those of you who've already submitted apps -- if you'd like to tweak and fine-tune your app and edit your submission, please feel free. Or if you'd like to double your chances of winning, you're welcome to use this extra time to create a second entry.

For those of you looking to enter our contest -- now's your chance to get started.  We've got an extra month on our deadline -- and if you'd like to get your work in front of these impressive judges, improve the way people use data in communities across America, and potentially win up to $60,000 -- now's your chance!

Good luck and thank you.

 

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Enhancements for Part 87 Aviation Radio Service Applications

by Scot Stone, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
August 16, 2011 - 12:10 PM

Today, we announced enhancements for certain types of Part 87 Aviation Radio Service applications filed in the Universal Licensing System (ULS).

First, applications can be filed for new or modified aeronautical enroute and flight test stations for authorization to operate with 8.33 kilohertz (kHz) channel spacing.  This enhancement is based on an FCC decision that permits voluntary narrowbanding from 25 kHz channel spacing to 8.33 kHz channel spacing. Narrowbanding aeronautical enroute channels provides the aviation industry with the ability to greatly enhance spectrum efficiency and alleviate congestion. Likewise, narrowbanding benefits flight test stations, which also face increasing frequency congestion.

Also, licensees that hold aircraft station licenses can file transfer of control and assignment of authorizations applications in ULS. This enhancement is based on an FCC decision that removes the prohibition on the assignment or transfer of aircraft station licenses. This change reduces administrative burdens and transactional costs for licensees.

Additional information about both of these changes is located in a Public Notice released today by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

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Announcing Judging Panel for Apps for Communities

by Ellen Satterwhite, Consumer Policy Advisor
August 12, 2011 - 12:46 PM

The FCC and the Knight Foundation have partnered up for a competition to build apps to make cities more livable! As developers and communities’ use the last few weeks of summers to finish their entries for the Apps for Communities Challenge, it’s time to announce the impressive panel of judges who will be reviewing and scoring those entries.  We are honored to have investors, technologist, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropist who have agreed to server as judges for the competition; which ends October 3.  Without further ado, the judges are:

Marc Andreessen , co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz.

Marc Andreessen is a noted investor in information technology. He previously developed the web browser Mosaic and co-founded the company Netscape; he is an investor in numerous technology startups including Digg and Twitter; and he serves on the boards of Facebook, eBay and Hewlett-Packard (among others).

Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org.

DonorsChoose.org is a website that allows people to donate directly to specific projects in schools and classrooms. It was started in 2000 by Charles Best, when he was a teacher at a public high school in the Bronx. Since then, it has grown to serve all the public schools throughout the United States. As of August 2010, more than $55 million dollars had been donated to over 138,000 projects, helping more than 3,400,000 students in need.

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey

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Wireless Backhaul Reform

by John Schauble, Deputy Division Chief, Broadband Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
August 9, 2011 - 02:03 PM

Today, the FCC released a wireless backhaul item that implements key recommendations of the National Broadband Plan, by removing outdated regulatory barriers and unleashing additional spectrum for broadband services. The FCC’s actions will stimulate additional opportunities for broadband deployment, especially in rural America.

Wireless backhaul facilities carry voice and data communications from cell sites, businesses, wireless internet access points and other facilities to the public telephone network and the Internet.  Wireless technology is an increasingly important source of backhaul, as the overall demand for backhaul capacity continues to rise. In some rural and remote locations, fixed microwave links may be the only practical option for backhaul. Finding new opportunities to use wireless backhaul, and ways to use it more effectively, will help to solve the broadband capacity puzzle as more Americans use smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices to browse the web, use email, and download applications wirelessly.  

The wireless backhaul Report & Order takes several actions, including:

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Retrospective Analysis at the FCC

by Ruth Milkman, Special Counsel for Innovation in Government, FCC
August 9, 2011 - 09:06 AM

On July 11, 2011, 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.

In a recent communication to staff, Chairman Genachowski 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. The Chairman asked me to oversee development of a plan to follow up on this directive.

The President's directives are consistent with the values and philosophy we apply here at the FCC. In a press conference following the release of the July 11 Executive Order, Cass Sunstein, the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB, noted that the FCC has a robust regulatory review process in place. Under Chairman Genachowski's leadership, we are proud of the progress we have made so far.

We've eliminated more than 50 unneeded regulations and we're working toward eliminating 25 unnecessary data collections.

We're focusing on developing innovative market-based policies that help advance important policy goals, such as Incentive Auctions for repurposing spectrum; increasing the flexible use of spectrum; and market-based mechanisms to more efficiently and effectively distribute Universal Service Fund support.

We've responded to calls from industry to review our rules and initiated proceedings on Retransmission Consent, and on Out-of-Band Emissions in the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) bands to permit operators to use licensed spectrum more efficiently.

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