Category Archives: Access to Technology & Broadband

CALinnovates Lauds Senate Confirmation of Wheeler and O’Rielly to FCC

Encourages new FCC Chairman and Commissioner to tackle spectrum auctions and IP Trials

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 30, 2013 – CALinnovates today issued the following statements in light of the unanimous Senate approval of Tom Wheeler to be Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Michael O’Rielly for FCC Commissioner.

Executive Director Mike Montgomery said:

I’m delighted that Tom Wheeler has finally been confirmed as FCC Chairman. He’s a well-regarded tech veteran who takes the wheel at a critical time for the Commission.  His experience will no doubt serve him well. I also look forward to seeing the many talents of Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in action in his new position.

With California’s economy increasingly dependent upon the tech industry, I hope Wheeler and O’Rielly will apply new energy and focus on two critical issues: The transition to next-generation high-speed broadband networks, and freeing up more airwaves via open spectrum auctions that allow all carriers to bid equally and without restriction.  Both of these issues are essential to the ongoing health of our economy — not just in California, but nationwide. Quick work is vital if we are going to keep the app economy thriving.

Barbara O’Connor, Ph.D., a CALinnovates Advisory Board Member, Emeritus Professor on Communication at California State University, Sacramento and an Officer and Director of the California Emerging Technology Fund, says Wheeler is an expert at working with all government agencies to shape a coherent administration policy:

My experience in working with Tom Wheeler is that he is skilled at consensus-driven policymaking by working with all interested parties.  Chairman Wheeler has the opportunity to tackle great challenges, including expanded access to high-speed broadband.  Our country is fortunate to have him at the helm of the FCC.

CALinnovates Advisory Board Member Josh Becker, CEO of Lex Machina, applauds the Senate for approving the appointment of Wheeler:

Silicon Valley and the entire California technology community welcome the confirmation of Mr. Wheeler as Chairman of the FCC.  This is an important first step in moving the commission forward on a variety of issues that will ultimately lead to greater innovation and increased opportunities for all Americans.

About CALinnovates

CALinnovates serves as a bridge between the thriving and fast paced technology communities based in California and the slower moving but equally important public policy communities in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Our members include C-level executives, political leaders, entrepreneurs, techies and California consumers interested in keeping up with the latest in public policy and innovation.

Mike Montgomery: President Obama’s State of the Union Address Should Offer Hope for the New Economy

Today, speechwriters in the West Wing will put the finishing touches on President Obama’s State of the Union address. The State of the Union provides every President an unparalleled opportunity to showcase his policy priorities. And the opportunity is never more valuable than in an inaugural year, when it can set the tone for the next four. This year I hope the President speaks to the digital economy and, specifically, California’s burgeoning tech sector.

In my dream scenario, the President’s speech will sketch a blueprint for building a stronger future for America. To me that means focusing some policies on Silicon Valley and San Francisco, still the headquarters of the new economy, a fact that Washington seems to forget from time-to-time. Tech-friendly policy initiatives will directly benefit the new economy, California, and the U.S. Take these, for example:

Give the app economy a boost. As consumers and businesses use more and more data, California’s burgeoning app economy could use a digital infrastructure upgrade, which could be accomplished by moving to all-IP networks across the country. A new Brookings Institution book by Robert Litan and Hal Singer, The Need for Speed: A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century, offers a potential roadmap for a regulatory re-think that could help expedite the delivery of broadband to consumers and keep the new economy humming. Meanwhile, the federal government, under President Obama’s leadership, needs to speed the reallocation of underutilized spectrum, the invisible radio waves over which our connected devices communicate. If our telecommunications infrastructure clogs up like our freeways at rush hour, either because of inadequate spectrum or insufficient private investment, then our app economy will suffer.

Read the Full Article on the Daily Kos

CALinnovates and California-Based Tech Groups Ask FCC to Speed Modernization of Nation’s Communications Networks

CALinnovates and California-Based Tech Groups Ask FCC to Speed Modernization of Nation’s Communications Networks

Comment supports petition seeking national conversation on speeding up transition to all-IP based networks with beta trials to measure consumer benefits

 

SAN FRANCISCO – CALinnovates, a tech advocacy organization, along with eight other California-based tech groups-Alphabird, Appallicious,At The Pool, Avetta, ,iSideWith, Lex Machina, MySocialCloud, and the Silicon Valley Italian Executive Council–have jointly filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing support for a petition currently pending at the Commission.

The petition, submitted last year by AT&T, asks the FCC to work with the private sector to begin geographically-limited beta tests to examine the complex technical and policy issues associated with the transition away from existing legacy voice networks to modern IP-based networks. The guidelines provided in the petition propose a framework that will allow the private sector and the government to address the operational, technical and policy issues related to the transition to new IP-based networks in an open and transparent process.

“Startups in-and-around Silicon Valley need reliable, forward-looking high-speed networks to deliver for our customers,” said Chase Norlin, CEO of Alphabird. “Supporting the rapid development of communications infrastructure will allow us to maintain a free and open Internet, encourage private investment, and support innovation and free flowing ideas.”

“Existing regulations mandate continued investment in outdated, 20th century networks that consumers are using less and less,” said CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery. “Old school networks can’t offer the infrastructure needed for seamless communication of voice, data, video, and Internet applications among various devices.”

Montgomery continued, “This petition is a first step in determining how the FCC and the private sector can work together to upgrade the country’s communications infrastructure beyond the limited capabilities of networks designed for voice-only communication. The new communications ecosystem no longer operates solely through telephone companies. This filing is about updating a regulatory environment that promotes access to new technologies, protects consumers, and enhances our economic productivity.”

“The beta trials deploying IP-enabled networks will help accelerate the evolution of technology and drive increased connectivity and innovation, while fostering immense capital investment,” said Montgomery. “Investing in stronger and faster IP networks will provide substantial benefits to consumers and businesses nationwide ranging from job creation to greater access to education, healthcare, training, and public safety.”

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Contact: Mike Montgomery
mike@calinnovates.org
415-494-8626

 

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$14 Billion Additional Investment in Broadband Networks Means Big Things for Consumers and Innovators

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Contact: Mike Montgomery
mike@calinnovates.org
415-494-8626

 

$14 Billion Additional Investment in Broadband Networks Means Big Things for Consumers and Innovators

CALinnovates’ new infographic says evolving consumer behavior demands private sector investment to expand communications infrastructure and support tech innovation

 

SAN FRANCISCO – California’s economic recovery will be bolstered by a recent announcement that AT&T plans to invest an additional $14 billion to expand and enhance its wired and wireless Internet Protocol (IP) broadband networks.  For Californians looking for expanded access to the benefits of the Internet, this development signals great optimism for the future of communications, according to CALinnovates, a San Francisco-based high-tech advocacy group.

According to their 3-year investment plan, 300 million people will be covered by AT&T 4G LTE by the end of 2014, and millions more will have access to next-generation wireline IP broadband networks.  CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery stated, “Connecting virtually everyone in the U.S. with high-speed Internet is a long stride in the right direction toward meeting the goal of President Obama’s National Broadband Plan.  And we know that high-speed Internet connections, both wired and wireless, create the kind of jobs we urgently need right now.”

“Consumers, entrepreneurs and people everywhere are clamoring for more connectivity and faster speeds.  It takes this kind of multi-billion dollar private sector investment to give people the high-speed connections they want and need,” said Montgomery.  “Investment is the linchpin to staying ahead of the massive growth in consumer demand for speed, data capacity and devices and apps that are now central to our lives.”

A new CALinnovates infographic on its website documents how consumers are driving the market that is revolutionizing communications and creating skyrocketing demand for new technology that can handle more data than ever before.  In describing the infographic, Montgomery said, “Consumers today want to be connected everywhere in every way possible.  But, we can’t take for granted the robust high-speed networks that are necessary to carry the innovations that are driving the economy and improving our lives.  Those networks require mega investments to keep them growing and improving.”

“Continued investment to build the communications infrastructure of the future is what will keep the U.S. and Silicon Valley ahead of the innovation curve,” he said.

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A New Era in Communications: Evolution of Consumer Habits [INFOGRAPHIC]

Transformational Transportation – The Rideshare Revolution

Yesterday, I joined the rideshare revolution. Today I’m writing about it. I downloaded this app on my iPhone and took three short car trips yesterday courtesy of SideCar, a San Francisco-based ridesharing company that connects people who need a ride with drivers already on the road. Simply put, it’s a reinvention of carpooling through smartphone technology.

SideCar, founded by visionary cleanweb venture capitalist Sunil Paul, is only available in San Francisco at this time.

Read the Full Article

Staying Connected: A Runner’s Perspective

If you run or bike while listening to music and want to keep your eyes on the road, the smartphone is your friend.  An iPod is great, but it doesn’t give you the variety a smartphone offers.  Today, we don’t really need to carry multiple single-use devices.  Today’s smartphones incorporate many of the following standard-use items:

  • Phones
  • Music Players
  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Flashlights
  • Cameras
  • Phone Books
  • Maps
  • Newspapers

Of course, not every item is necessary if you’re training for a marathon like our interviewee is here, but why carry more than one device if you’ve got to carry anything at all?

See our interview with Lauren, a marathon runner who uses her iPhone during long practice runs.

Interview with Phil Ting, SF Assessor-Recorder and Candidate for CA Assembly

CALinnovates interviews Phil Ting about the SF tech rebirth, his role in ensuring a tech-friendly environment in San Francisco, and as a candidate for CA Assembly*, how he will bring these common sense public policy solutions to Sacramento.

*This is not an endorsement of Ting’s candidacy.  CALinnovates cannot endorse candidates for elected office per its 501(c)(4) nonprofit status.

Interview with Richard Bloom, Mayor of Santa Monica

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom met with us to talk about his experience with and vision for California’s tech community.  The City of Santa Monica, while known mostly for its beaches, is also home to a thriving tech community.  Mayor Bloom has embraced the biz-tech community and, as a candidate for the State Assembly*, is outspoken about the role tech will play in our state’s future.

*This is not an endorsement of Bloom’s candidacy.  CALinnovates cannot endorse candidates for elected office per its 501(c)(4) nonprofit status.

Interview with John Duffield, JWT Inside

CALinnovates sits down with John Duffield, Senior Digital Strategist for JWT Inside. Hear what he has to say about reaching out to job seekers, increasing broadband access, and the “Pirates of Silicon Valley”