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Letter Of Support For CHANCE In Tech Act

A number of the nation’s foremost technology organizations have formally pledged their support for H.R. 1733/S. 777, the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology (CHANCE in Tech) Act. In a letter sent today to Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer and Kevin McCarthy, the organizations urged the House of Representatives and Senate to pass the legislation during the 116th Congress. We’ve published the letter in its entirety below:

Re: H.R. 1733/S. 777, the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology Act

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Democratic Leader Schumer, and Republican Leader McCarthy:

We, the undersigned organizations, write in strong support of H.R. 1733/S. 777, the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology (CHANCE in Tech) Act, and urge the House of Representatives and Senate to pass this important legislation during the 116th Congress.

As the nation’s foremost technology organizations, we speak on behalf of many of the world’s most innovative companies. These companies are creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and helping ensure the United States remains the most competitive economy in the world.

The CHANCE in Tech Act would make commonsense reforms to the Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program and generate job and economic growth. The proposal would create technology apprenticeships and help forge public-private partnerships to serve as intermediaries between employers participating in the registered apprenticeship program, industry, training partners, and government entities. Each intermediary would assess and train potential apprentices in coordination with local and regional workforce demands. The intermediaries would lessen the regulatory burden on participating employers by tracking success indicators and managing other reporting requirements. The proposal would also establish a program to recognize those high schools providing exemplary IT training and counseling. Collectively, the plan put forward would better align workforce upskilling with local and regional demands.

While today’s economy is increasingly dependent on the technology industry to create jobs, the skills gap is slowing further growth. In 2018, the industry contributed nearly $2 trillion to the U.S. economy, employed more than 11 million workers, and added more than 260,000 new jobs. However, there were nearly 4 million job openings in this arena, nearly 400,000 of which were in emerging technology areas, in large part due to the skills gap.1 What is more, it is estimated that nearly 800,000 IT workers will retire between now and 2024, and almost half of technology business leaders believe the skills gap has grown over the past two years.2

The CHANCE in Tech Act would help shrink the skills gap by revitalizing the registered apprenticeship program and provide students and workers with the hands-on, experiential learning needed to compete in today’s economy. It is for these reasons that we support H.R. 1733/S. 777 and urge the House of Representatives and Senate to pass this important legislation during the 116th Congress.

Respectfully,

ACT | The App Association BSA | The Software Alliance CALinnovates
CompTIA

Developers Alliance
Engine
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) Security Industry Association (SIA)
Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA)

Cc: U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor; U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

1 “Cyberstates 2019.” CompTIA. March 2019. https://www.cyberstates.org/

Click image to enlarge.

Statement on Save the Internet Act

The following statement regarding Save the Internet Act can be attributed to Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates:

“The backwards-looking bill paraded before the cameras does little to accomplish the important goal of enshrining net neutrality into a law that will stand the test of time. This bill is the textbook definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Lasting net neutrality regulations require a modernized, bipartisan and bicameral approach and the Save the Internet Act, unfortunately, falls short.”

USC Study: Rooftop Digital Advertising On Taxis & Rideshare Vehicles Could Stimulate The LA Economy Up To $16 Million Annually

**NEWS RELEASE**

USC Study: Rooftop Digital Advertising on Taxis & Rideshare Vehicles Could Stimulate the LA Economy Up to $16 Million Annually

Study Joins Growing Chorus of Economists and Taxi Industry Opposing Councilmember Blumenfield’s Proposal to Ban Rooftop Digital Advertising

Los Angeles, CA, February 12, 2019 — A new economic analysis by Professor Greg Autry with the USC Marshall School of Business finds that rooftop messaging smart screens (RMSS) on taxis and rideshare vehicles “promise to upend the traditional paradigm of mobile advertising in a positive way, delivering significantly greater returns to individual drivers and offering a real- time, mobile messaging platform for public entities.”

The rooftop messaging smart screens such as those deployed by Firefly offer supplemental income for taxi and rideshare drivers with no capital or additional time required of drivers. Professor Autry finds that rooftop messaging smart screens (RMSS) have promise to significantly stimulate the Los Angeles economy. For example, equipping the Los Angeles taxi fleet with RMSS could stimulate up to $16 million in primary spending with a significant multiplier effect resulting in secondary economic activity of many tens of millions of dollars. The ride-hailing fleet offers an even larger impact.”

This economic study offers a grim analysis of the pending proposal by Los Angeles City Councilmember Blumenfield that would ban taxi drivers from equipping their vehicles with rooftop digital advertising. The proposal will be considered on Wednesday, February 13th at 1pm in the Council’s Transportation Committee.

According to Kish Rajan, Chief Evangelist of CALinnovates, the group that commissioned the study, “We reject this proposal to ban innovation in the taxi industry, especially given the well documented harm it would inflict on drivers and their families. This technology offers taxi drivers countless possibilities to improve the services they provide riders, helps them compete, and raises their incomes without increasing fares on riders. It is a no-brainer that City Officials should reject this ban.”

Professor Autry joins UCLA Professor Gary Blasi, author of, “Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles ” in objecting to the proposed ban. Professor Blasi’s research found that taxi drivers in Los Angeles worked very long hours for much less than a living wage and he stated, “For the City of Los Angeles to deny these drivers and their families the ability to add a few hundred dollars to their meager incomes would be a disgrace.”

Councilmember Blumenfield’s proposal would disadvantage taxi drivers by eliminating the opportunity to earn additional income without working longer hours. The presidents of the Independent Taxi Owners Association, LA Checker Cab and the United Independent Taxi Drivers, Inc. have asked the Council’s Transportation Committee to reject the proposal. A letter they submitted states:

The elimination of our drivers’ right to install rooftop taxi advertising signs, even the traditional lighted taxi toppers that have been safely deployed in this City for over 30 years, would take away a potential source of meaningful extra income for hardworking taxi drivers. This would be a critical blow to the competitiveness of our industry, which has struggled in an increasingly competitive market. And it would cut short an opportunity for the City of Los Angeles to encourage innovation and growth in the taxi industry.

** Media interviews are available with Professor Autry and Andrey Minosyan, President of the Independent Taxi Owners Association.

Media Contacts:
Anna Williamson Mobile: 843-408-7125
Kish Rajan Mobile: 415-570-9303
kish@calinnovates.org

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Click image to read full study.

New Poll Shows LA Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposal To Harm Taxi Industry And Driver Well-Being

**NEWS RELEASE**

New Poll Shows L.A. Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposal to
Harm Taxi Industry and Driver Well-Being
Anti-innovation proposal from Councilmember Blumenfield would eliminate income opportunities for drivers

Los Angeles, CA February 7, 2019 – A new poll released this week shows that a majority of Angeleno voters, by a margin of 55-26 percent, oppose banning digital rooftop advertising for taxi drivers along with any policy that may negatively affect the ability of taxi drivers to earn income. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said that the Los Angeles City Council and the Taxi Commission should be helping drivers earn more money without raising fares for riders.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Seven out of 10 Los Angeles voters agree that limiting new innovative opportunities for taxi drivers keeps them from competing and being competitive with rideshare.
  • 66% surveyed feel the Los Angeles City Council and Taxi Commission should help drivers earn more money without raising fares for riders.
  • 67% of the City’s registered voters would have a less favorable view of any official who votes to ban taxi drivers from earning more money by displaying taxi top advertising.
  • Six out of 10 voters believe that a new policy to prevent taxi drivers from earning up to 20% more money would have a disproportionately harmful impact on minorities and immigrants.
  • 71% surveyed agreed that limiting new innovative opportunities for taxi drivers would keep them from competing and being competitive with rideshare drivers.

“We need to be allowed to modernize and provide new opportunities for drivers to make additional income and compete,” said Andrey Minosyan of L.A. Independent Taxi. “Innovative digital mobile rooftop advertising allows drivers to earn more without working longer or increasing prices. Any ban would directly harm taxi drivers’ opportunities and the viability of the industry.”

The poll results come on the heels of a motion filed last week by Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to repeal Taxi Board Rule 415(c), a section of the code allowing for mobile rooftop advertising on vehicles. This would remove steady income from drivers and eliminate opportunities for taxi drivers to earn additional income without driving longer. The motion would effectively ban any form of advertisement that exceeds the height of a vehicle.

“As the taxi industry embraces innovation and attempts to improve conditions for drivers and passengers alike, this motion is nothing more than an attack on those who cannot afford regulatory barriers to further harm their industry, prosperity and livelihoods,” said Kish Rajan, CALinnovates’ Chief Evangelist.

UCLA Professor Gary Blasi, author of the study “Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles ” stated, “Our research found that taxi drivers in Los Angeles worked very long hours for much less than a living wage.  Since then, their situation has only grown worse as they have faced stiff competition from ride share companies. For the City of Los Angeles to deny these drivers and their families the ability to add a few hundred dollars to their meager incomes would be a disgrace.”

The poll, completed by John Zogby Strategies, surveyed a selection of registered voters in the City of Los Angeles from February 3-4.

** Media Interviews with John Zogby are available upon request.

Media Contacts:
Anna Williamson Mobile: 843-408-7125
Kish Rajan Mobile: 415-570-9303 kish@calinnovates.org

 

5G Rollout Will Maximize San Francisco’s Competitive Edge

San Francisco boasts a young, diverse and highly educated workforce. The Bay Area receives a whopping 45 percent of the total venture capital investment in the entire United States, and residents are embracing everything from robotic deliveries to autonomous cars. It seems like a no-brainer that San Francisco should lead in the deployment of the next generation of fast, reliable, state-of-the-art mobile technology known as 5G. But as it stands today, San Francisco doesn’t even have a commitment from all major 5G infrastructure providers to deploy in the city.

So, what is 5G? 5G is the next evolution of mobile technology, which Accenture projects will create up to 3 million new jobs and boost GDP by $500 billion. 5G could be up to 100 times faster at data transfer and significantly more reliable than our current 4G, or LTE, standard. 5G is also expected to reduce latency, the time between clicking a link and the page loading, to around a millisecond. Further, Accenture estimates that cities deploying 5G networks in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT) will have shorter commute times, improved public safety and other efficiency improvements.

The first step in realizing our 5G future is robust infrastructure deployment. 5G requires the installation of thousands of small wireless antennae known as “small cells.” 5G needs an immense amount of capacity and close proximity to the end user, so it requires much denser networks than what we currently have powering 4G and LTE services. Small cells typically are installed on utility poles, street lights or other existing right-of-way infrastructure. Because small cells are much smaller, easier and cheaper to install than a traditional macro site, and can be camouflaged to mimic the aesthetic of the areas where they are placed, the technology is the ideal solution to meet 5G’s capacity requirements.

However, instead of creating the proper conditions to foster a highly competitive environment for 5G build out in San Francisco by encouraging small cell deployment, the city is throwing up unnecessary roadblocks. To be fair, companies such as Verizon and Mobilitie are building out 5G infrastructure in San Francisco, but several other big providers have not yet started to build in the Bay Area due to unreasonable fees for small cell attachment to municipal infrastructure. Without robust competition in small cell deployment from all of the major players, it is highly unlikely San Francisco will be able to deploy the number of small cells necessary to be at the front of the 5G line.

To date, San Francisco hasn’t been willing to make the full commitments to 5G but the city certainly isn’t alone. While San Francisco has chosen slow deployment with high fees, other municipalities have made it difficult to install small cells through long wait times for permits or unreasonable aesthetic guidelines for the devices. One wireless CEO lamented that in some cities, small cells require only two hours to install, but need 18 to 24 months for a permit to be issued. Other Bay Area cities, such as Mill Valley and San Rafael, are passing laws designed to entirely block the installation of 5G small cells.

San Francisco hasn’t attempted to ban small cells and in fact its permitting process, run by the Department of Public Works, is smooth and efficient. But the price of $4,000 for each small cell attached to non-wooden utility poles is acting as a serious deterrent for deployment.

However, change is coming in the way of a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order aimed at streamlining small cell deployment for 5G.

On January 14th, 2019, new rules governing the installation of 5G infrastructure officially went into effect which, in theory, will drastically reduce the fee San Francisco will be able to charge for small cell attachments and create more competition.

Only time will tell how San Francisco officials will choose to react to the new FCC rules, but there is no doubt that creating an environment where all the major players are deploying next generation infrastructure in San Francisco can only be a positive for businesses and residents as the city continues to try to maintain its competitive edge in our connectivity driven global economy.

 

Small Cells For The Win: Powerful Connectivity During Major Events is No Longer a Wish List Item — It’s Now a Must

“As anyone who has been to a sporting event, concert, rally or even a large graduation ceremony recently can attest, the absence of even a single bar or two of connectivity can be a frustrating experience,” writes Mike Montgomery of CALinnovates. “Networks quickly get bogged down when thousands of people with thousands of devices compete for the attention of the local communications infrastructure.”

An extreme case in point: the Super Bowl. In 2015, Verizon handled 7 terabytes of data at Super Bowl XLIX. That number reached 11 terabytes two year later.In 2017, that number was up to 11 terabytes.

Simply put, our current infrastructure can’t handle this load. See Montgomery’s piece about the problem and its solution here.

 

As FCC Net Neutrality Rules Expire, Internet Survives — For Now

savethenet

“This is not doomsday at all. The internet hasn’t broken today,” said Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates, in a San Francisco Chronicle piece about the expiration of the Federal Communications Commission’s old net neutrality rules. “Consumers aren’t going to see or feel anything changing in their internet experience.”

But what about the future? Read more about Montgomery and other net neutrality advocates’ concerns here.

We Oppose AB 2212 California Retail Food Code

April 17, 2018

The Honorable Jim Wood, Chair
Assembly Committee on Health
California State Capitol, Room 6005
Sacramento, CA 95814

Subject: AB 2212 California Retail Food Code – OPPOSE

Dear Chairperson Wood,

We write to express our concerns regarding AB 2212 (Ting) as it seeks to amend Section 113985 of the Health and Safety Code and add subscriptions-based meal delivery services to the existing definition of “retail;” a change that would include food processors that sell direct to consumers. We would note the language in AB 2212 is the exact same language approach used last year in AB 1461, which Governor Brown vetoed just six months ago.

As a technology advocacy organization, we seek to support California’s advancement as a state where innovative ideas blossom into new industries, companies and jobs while maintaining well-crafted rules and regulations to protect the public.

California’s food processing industry is evolving rapidly to keep pace with consumer demand and competition in the marketplace. Applying regulations as outlined in AB 1461 and mirrored in AB 2212 will inhibit this industry from modernizing and maintaining a competitive advantage with other agriculture states. AB 2212 will only encourage food processors to locate their facilities outside our state and ship to California customers from places like Nevada and Texas. Additionally, the language in AB 2212 will not only directly impact California-based food processors currently package foods for this intended purpose, it has the potential to impact all food processors and stifle their ability to expand their business model to include direct-to-consumer services.

AB 2212 is not necessary as food processors and manufacturers are already heavily regulated by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) as they often distribute food throughout the contiguous United States (including those that do so via subscription and provide recipes).

In contrast, the Food Handler Card program is a retail requirement enforced by local public health officers on the county level. It makes little sense, and would be impossible, for one food processor to be subject to the oversight of California’s 58 different local health

agencies, especially given that they are already required to comply with stricter food- safety and training standards enforced by CDPH and FDA.

Governor Brown recognized this in his veto message of AB 1461 last year where he encouraged the Legislature to work with the Department of Public Health and interested stakeholders to ensure food safety is protected and innovation is encouraged.

CALinnovates is fundamentally opposed to AB 2212 as it stifles innovation by adding excessive and unwarranted regulation to food processors that sell direct to consumers. We respectfully urge the Assembly Committee on Health to oppose AB 2212.

Sincerely,

Kish Rajan
Chief Evangelist

CC:
Assembly Member Mayes (Vice Chair)
Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry
Assembly Member Bigelow
Assembly Member Bonta
Assembly Member Burke
Assembly Member Carillo
Assembly Member Flora
Assembly Member Limon
Assembly Member McCarty
Assembly Member Nazarian
Assembly  Member Rodriguez
Assembly Member Santiago
Assembly Member Thurmond
Assembly Member Waldron

 

Mike Montgomery: Title II And Common Carriers: How The FCC Can Save Net Neutrality And Still Ruin the Internet

By Mike Montgomery

Prolonged discussions of Federal Communications Commission regulations are typically about as stimulating as a fistful of Ambien — except when it comes to net neutrality.

With the FCC poised to issue new rules governing how Internet service providers manage and price the traffic that flows through their networks, Americans woke up and spoke up so loudly that they crashed the agency’s website last month. The million-plus comments from concerned citizens were the most the FCC has ever received during a proposed rule’s public comment period — and just a few hundred thousand shy of the number of complaints that poured in after Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction.” When we’re comparing tech regulations to Super Bowl nipple slips, you know we’re in a different kind of debate.

You probably haven’t had a chance to read all 1,067,779 comments. Neither have I. But most support an outcome preserving the wide-open Internet that birthed our current era of innovation, transformation and disruption. The question now is how to achieve this.

The debate so far has been oversimplified: Are you for net neutrality or against it? That reductive framing may lead us to embrace a solution that doesn’t solve the problem.

From where I sit at CALinnovates, representing tech companies dependent on the open Internet to survive, this debate is incredibly important. Disruptors like ride-share platform Sidecar and conference-call service Speek shouldn’t be forced to bid against deep-pocketed giants — or anyone, for that matter — for their share of bandwidth. Nor should they be forced to adapt to regulations that would suppress new ideas or hamstring the entrepreneurs who hatch them.

They, along with countless other startups and aspiring innovators, agree: We need an outcome that preserves the openness of the Internet.

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Let me explain. The leading proposal in Washington to achieve that goal is to reclassify broadband providers as “telecommunications services.” This would allow the FCC to regulate providers using authority granted it under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

As you have undoubtedly noticed, the Communications Act of 1934 was passed in 1934. That means the FCC is gathering input as it considers adopting the same legislative framework for the Internet that existed back when “wireless” meant the hand crank on your grandparents’ AM radio.

Title II turned our nation’s telephone system — a single network operated by a single company, Ma Bell — into a highly regulated utility, just like water and electric companies. While they helped protect consumers from the excesses of a corporate monopoly, Title II’s restraints hardly made that phone network an innovative one.

Ask your parents: Under Title II, innovation in telecom meant being able to buy a different color of the same phone chosen by the monopoly at a price set by the government. This same law can’t accommodate today’s sprawling, bustling, magically fragmented Internet, a miracle of technology unimaginable in 1934 — or even in 1996, when the act was updated for the “modern” era.

By turning the Internet into a utility, we’ll bleed tech innovation with a thousand paper cuts. Would we even know what an iPhone is if Steve Jobs had to run his pricing models past the FCC? Would Twitter be fomenting revolution if Jack Dorsey needed to check with regulators about what kind of data can be shared online and by whom?

It sounds far-fetched, but that’s how it would work. Under Section 214 of Title II, common carriers have to ask for approval before discontinuing nonperforming platforms or launching new ones.

Shoehorning Internet companies into Title II and treating them as common carriers won’t just slow Silicon Valley down to Beltway-at-rush-hour speed; it will also render impossible a great many things that have become part of our daily routines, like using on-demand services from location-based smartphone apps.

Under Section 222 of Title II, companies have a duty to protect the confidentiality of customers’ proprietary network information. Sounds benign, right? Well, it means wireless location data could no longer be shared with Internet companies for mapping or advertising. Location-based companies would be limited by, in the regulators’ lyrical stylings, the “use or disclosure” of “call location information concerning the user of a commercial mobile service.” In plain English, that means companies like dating service Tinder, car navigation service Waze and ride-sharer Uber could soon become relics of the past. At the least, they would have far higher hurdles and costs in launching and attracting investment capital.

The big losers in all this would very likely be startups and the consumers they seek to serve. For large, established digital companies, these new regulations would probably just be an inconvenience. For startups that don’t have the resources to fight Title II classification, or the in-house legal teams to interpret the new requirements, the rule changes would be a death knell.

Before we trade the devil we know for the devil our grandparents knew, we should pause to ask ourselves whether legally defining the Internet as a utility will keep it both open and innovative — or act as a drag on creativity and growth.

I’m pro-net neutrality, but anti-1934-style strangulation. Where does that leave me? According to the approaches under consideration, I may soon be a man without a country. Good thing the Internet, at least for now, doesn’t require a passport.

Mike Montgomery is the Executive Director of CALinnovates,

This piece was originally published in The Huffington Post.

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