IP Transition

The Demise of Google Fiber Shows There Are No Easy Answers in Telecom

By Mike Montgomery

When Google rolled out its fiber business in 2012, it was an appealingly easy solution for a difficult situation. Like a fairy godmother solving all of our problems with a sweep of her wand, Google was going to bring blazing fast 1 gigabit speed to homes across the country and, for as little as $70 per month, people were going to get access to Autobahn speeds previously only dreamed of on our American Superhighway.

With its fat wallet of cash, Google seemed well-positioned to do the expensive work of buying failed municipal broadband networks as well as building some of their own new networks, tearing up roads and sidewalks and laying its fiber in select neighborhoods. Kansas City, where Google piloted the fiber program, suddenly seemed poised to become the next internet startup hotspot.

But now it turns out the task was too much even for Google. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is “rethinking” its fiber rollout plans in the face of mounting costs.  Confronted with the reality of today’s regulatory environment, the company appears to now be leapfrogging the morass entirely, jumping ahead to advanced wireless technologies – which could deliver speeds up to 10 gigabits per second – viewed by many as the broadband “game changer” for connectivity and speed.

Google Fiber is a well-intentioned idea. We need more people to have better internet access so they can get the most out of the growing digital economy. Work is increasingly being done over the internet as companies move to cloud technology. Even applying for a job now usually requires internet access. Watching TV, shopping, and connecting with loved ones are all things increasingly being done online. Those who don’t have access or are operating from networks in need of modernization are at a severe disadvantage in today’s digital world.

But as Google is discovering, laying new miles of fiber is far from easy.

Read the full article here.

In Tech-Driven Economy, FCC Needs to Step Up

By: Mike Montgomery

It’s clear that technology is a key driver of prosperity in today’s modernizing economy. Trillions of dollars in economic activity flow through the networks which make up the internet, making America’s digital economy the envy of the world. Networks are redefining the services people consume and the income people derive. For example, according to a Pew survey, 72 percent of Americans have used a sharing or on-demand service.

That’s why the Federal Communications Commission has never been more important. From last year’s Net Neutrality rules to current proceedings about set-top boxes, internet privacy and business services, FCC rules are shaping the future of the internet – and the broader economy that it fuels. Whether you agree or disagree with these regulations, everyone agrees they will have a profound impact.

That is why it’s so disconcerting to see the FCC disconnected from the economic impact of its decisions. In a report he published in July, the FCC’s very own former chief economist, Gerald Faulhaber, Ph.D., raised alarms about the agency’s dangerous turn away from economic analysis in its decision making.

In the report, Dr. Faulhaber asks: Why do the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau all conduct stringent cost-benefit analyses on their decisions while the FCC does not?

The FCC has simply become too important to the economy for it to fail to explore the economic impact of its decisions. For example, numerous economists warned the FCC that its decision to impose so-called Title II regulations on internet service providers, which treats today’s advanced broadband access in the same way as telephone services from generations ago, will have a negative impact on investment and innovation while not solving the issue we all want addressed: how to ensure that internet traffic is treated fairly across networks, regardless of where it comes from. Yet, when issuing its Open Internet Order, the FCC conducted no economic analysis of the impact its proposed rules would have on consumers, innovation or investment.

How is that possible?

The problems continue. The FCC is currently facing a major backlash from Congress, Hollywood and many innovators for its proposed new technology standards for set-top boxes.

Read the full article here.

March Member Update: IP Networks, SXSW & Connected Cities

 

From the Desk of Executive Director Mike Montgomery:

An all-IP future is no longer such a distant possibility.  Last week, AT&T announced that it would hold test trials to transition wire centers to all-IP services in two communities: one rural (Carbon Hill, Alabama) and one suburban (Kings Point, Florida).  Just three months into 2014, our nation is truly embracing the idea of ‘out with the old and in with the new.’  Our communications infrastructure has long been reliant on centuries-old technology.  The time has come to upgrade these antiquated networks to a network that provides consumers with far more options for their communications needs.   As my friend Larry Downes and his co-author Paul Nunes write in their book Big Bang Disruption, “The transition to digital networks [would] significantly counter the obstacles that keep 20 percent of American adults from joining the Internet.”  For that reason alone, we’d be crazy not to embrace these next-gen all-broadband networks.  It’s good for consumers, both existing and potential, across the country.

We’re traveling the state to help our members make progress on the issues that matter most.  Don’t hesitate to reach out should there be a roadblock CALinnovates can help remove for your company to experience the growth and success you’re striving for in Q1 and beyond.


Upcoming Events:

SXSW Immigration Happy Hour with Steve Case

March 9, 2014 | Austin, TX

 
Mobile Margaritas Hosted by Mobile Future
March 9, 2014 | Austin, TX

Join DC-based Mobile Future for SXSW for Mobile Margaritas, a meet-up with other mobile leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.  


News You Can Use:

All-IP Beta Test Markets Announced
CALinnovates,
February 28, 2014

CALinnovates has long been a strong proponent of a modernization of our nation’s communications infrastructure, and last week marked another important step down this critical path. Earlier this year, I called the transition “the beginning of the next great digital transformation in our nation’s history.” …

True Peer-to-Peer Rideshare Now a Reality
Daily Kos,
February 28, 2014

Sidecar announced last week that it is looking to take a big bite out of its competitors by launching the first true peer-to-peer marketplace in the rideshare industry.  Co-founder and CEO Sunil Paul says Sidecar’s new marketplace “will give riders the power to choose…

The Tale of Three Connected Cities
TechZulu, March 3, 2014
By: Mike Montgomery

When it comes to major technological projects like building out Wi-Fi networks, it’s wise to turn to the experts in order to better serve citizens.

Case in point: Los Angeles, which is issuing an RFP for private industry to build out a citywide Wi-Fi network. The winning company will not only be tasked with the design and build out of the network, but maintaining and upgrading that network into the future. This necessary ongoing investment, as the experiment in Riverside has shown us, is where the majority of project pitfalls reside…

In this Issue:


From the Desk of Executive Director Mike Montgomery


Upcoming Events


News You Can Use


Member Spotlight


Member Spotlight…

SeeClickFix

If you haven’t downloaded the SeeClickFix app on your iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, or Blackberry, now’s the time. Founded by Ben Berkowitz and Kam Lasater, SeeClickFix is a communications platform for citizens to report non-emergency issues. Governments also use the platform to track, manage, and reply — ultimately making communities better through transparency, collaboration, and cooperation. It’s free on the app store of your choice.



@CALinnovates /CALinnovates CALinnovates

All-IP Beta Test Markets Announced

AT&T announced its intentions to conduct beta tests to transition consumers to Internet Protocol networks (aka the IP Transition) in Alabama and Florida. We are thrilled for Carbon Hill, Alabama and West Delray Beach, Florida as the potential first two all-IP test cities in America. Perhaps in a few years we may refer to Carbon Hill as Silicon Hill, the next new hotbed of digital innovation.

As you know, CALinnovates has long been a strong proponent of a modernization of our nation’s communications infrastructure, and today marks another important step down this critical path. Earlier this year, I called the transition “the beginning of the next great digital transformation in our nation’s history.” Well, these beta tests are the next phase of the transition, as it’s important to make the transition in a smart way that protects key core values such as universal connectivity, consumer protection, network reliability and public safety.

I had a chance to talk to a few of our members about today’s news, and I think you’ll find their insights illuminating.

Jack Crawford, general partner at Velocity Venture Capital, told me that this announcement gives him great hope for the future of his industry and the nation as a whole. He believes IP connectivity will give his portfolio companies even greater reach, while helping consumers thrive.

“The dream of universal connectivity through next-gen networks will prove to be a huge boon for the economy. I’ve long said private investment in infrastructure will drive the next great wave of economic prosperity in our nation. Startups will have access to more customers with high-speed connections. Consumers will have increased and faster access to the world around them. This movement will create increased opportunities in education, job creation and personal enjoyment for the masses.”

Lloyd Marino, an IT and cloud expert and the founder of Avetta Global, says the transition to IP networks will effectively shrink the world, creating opportunities for people no matter where they live or work that don’t currently exist today to the extent they could:

“The networks of the future will make the world a smaller place, allowing people to be anywhere in the world instantaneously, in high-definition, transacting business, telecommuting, and taking advantage of high-speed connectivity no matter where they live, whether rural or urban. These test trials will deliver findings that will benefit everyone in every industry. I’m thrilled.”

Daniel Brusilovsky, an executive at Ribbon, shares his entrepreneurial perspective:

“It’s incredibly important to do beta tests to really learn what these networks can do and what they can handle. As more and more consumers are getting smartphones and using applications like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more, we need our networks to be able to support the technology community’s growing demand for data.”

As FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel commented just a few months ago, “To get outside the box, government needs to do more work in the sandbox.” These beta tests in Alabama and Florida represent the sandbox in which the IP transition will carefully and progressively occur using real world conditions, but under the FCC’s watchful eye to ensure a smooth and efficient consumer transition. It’s the same sort of thinking that the tech industry has long embraced, and it’s about time we brought this tech-driven approach to upgrading our nation’s network infrastructure.

I’m looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the FCC, the business community and consumers to make sure we get the opportunity to experience and enjoy a connected future.

CALinnovates will continue to track this item and keep you informed along the way.

– Mike

The Benefits of an All-IP World

Here’s a bit of trivia from the dusty archives of communication: The first high-definition television broadcast in America wasn’t from New York or Los Angeles, it was from a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina.

No, really.

The date was July 23, 1996, and the station was WRAL-TV. On hand to witness the event were some 200 invited guests, according to the station’s history page, who watched a broadcast operating at 100 kilowatts from a tower 1,736 feet above the ground. The high-definition age had arrived.

What does this history lesson have to do with the topic of this essay, which is the transition from copper wire telephone lines to next-generation, Internet-enabled communications networks? The answer will be music to your ears.

Read the full article on Huffington Post – Tech

CALinnovates Lauds FCC Decision to Approve Pilot Programs for Transition to All-Internet Communications Networks

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — CALinnovates today issued the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to approve test trials of the transition to all-Internet networks.

Executive Director Mike Montgomery said:

Today’s FCC vote will go down in history as the beginning of the next great digital transformation in our nation’s history.  Technology companies of all sizes as well as consumers will benefit greatly from Internet Protocol networks.

While the FCC’s unanimous 5-0 vote is just the beginning of a longer process to upgrade our nation’s networks, the bipartisan decision proves just how vital this transformation is for the country.  The California technology community – which paved the way with its forward-looking IP legislation in 2012 – will be observing the trials closely, looking forward to the opportunity to build upon the networks of the future.

As the country’s economy increasingly relies upon the technology industry, this transition will benefit not just Californians, but the entire nation.  The transition to IP networks is a great bet on the future of American innovation and connectedness.

To learn more about CALinnovates, visit www.calinnovates.org.

Strange Bedfellows

By: Mike Montgomery
As featured on The Huffington Post 

There have been many-storied rivalries in American history. In the 1800s, the bitter political rivalry between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton was settled with a famous duel. Later that century, the Hatfields started warring with the McCoys, leaving behind epic tales still told today. Two-hundred years later, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird staged heated battles on the basketball court, and actors Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie remain bitter rivals in the battle over Brad Pitt’s heart. Despite the intensity, the rivalries were all ultimately settled. Burr shot Hamilton dead, the Hatfields and McCoys hugged it out, Magic and Larry became friends, and Brangelina became the “it” couple while Aniston is engaged to be married, hopefully putting an end to the tabloid-style coverage of the matter.

Rivalries exist everywhere in life, even in the exciting world of communications policy. Communications and technology company AT&T and public interest group Public Knowledge are widely known to lock horns on matters of public policy, often bitterly. But it seems this rivalry may have a little more Magic-and-Bird vibe to it than Hamilton-and-Burr. Of late, the communications company and the advocacy group seem to have put aside their differences and locked arms in solidarity over the vision for the future of next generation communications infrastructure. Perhaps this doesn’t have the drama of some of the other famous feuds, but in the communications policy world, when something like this happens, it’s worth paying attention to because it must be important.

Specifically, AT&T found common ground with a white paper Public Knowledge released about the transition from antiquated telephone networks to the advanced high-speed broadband networks of the future. In this paper, Public Knowledge articulated five principles to govern the transition:

1) Service to all Americans
2) Interconnection and Competition
3) Consumer Protection
4) Network Reliability
5) Public Safety

For those not regularly knee deep in matters of communications policy, these five principles are basically a distillation of the ideas that have always guided communications in America, which is undoubtedly why AT&T agrees with them. As a recent post on the company’s Public Policy Blog states:

There were several points in Public Knowledge’s white paper that we could have written ourselves at AT&T. First, the transition has to occur. Our old reliable TDM technology is obsolete and defined by two words: “Manufacturer discontinued.” Second, the fundamental principles of universal connectivity, consumer protection, reliability and public safety — all hallmarks of our Nation’s centuries old commitment to communications — should not be lost in this transition.

Indeed, it appears maintaining this central principle — that everyone should remain connected — was the goal of AT&T’s petition with the Federal Communications Commission to conduct regulatory “beta trials” in select markets as the outdated copper networks are upgraded and modernized. The idea behind these trials is that by ironing out potential issues in its micro stages, the transition will go much more smoothly when taken macro.

AT&T notes that some 70 percent of households in the company’s wireline footprint have already ditched their traditional landline. It is precisely the inevitability of this transition to next generation high-speed broadband networks that makes the AT&T and Public Knowledge accord less surprising. It is obvious technology is evolving and it is equally as obvious that people are choosing to communicate in new, innovative ways. The five principles represent the shared universal goals to pursue as policy and regulation try to modernize to keep up with the speed of technological innovation.

The idea of modernizing our infrastructure with next generation broadband networks isn’t at all new or controversial; consumers, consumer groups, and corporate America have spoken, and they’re all saying the same thing. The only question is whether government agencies can work with the various stakeholders to make such a monumental upgrade to our nation’s communications infrastructure quickly enough, while ensuring sufficient consumer protection. If the AT&T/Public Knowledge cease-fire teaches us anything, feuds and rivalries come and go. When common sense prevails, progress is a certainty.

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 NetworksComment 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
[email protected]
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
[email protected]
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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Why Public Policy is Critical to the Communications Revolution

In Silicon Valley local issues and global issues are often closely linked. It’s inevitable in a region where home grown high-tech is creating groundbreaking changes across the globe and supporting an entire region’s economic growth and job market.

With the introduction of the iPhone right here in the Valley and advent of mobile apps, the so-called “App Economy” is a huge local issue for Silicon Valley and the rest of California.  It contributes $8.2 billion a year and supports 152,000 jobs in California, according to CTIA and the Application Developers Alliance.

But, the most forceful demonstration of the global impact is the communications revolution taking place today.  “Smart networks,” such as wireless and wireline IP (Internet Protocol)-based networks, allow consumers to tap into super-fast Internet speeds so that they can better access video, voice and data services over the Internet.  With communications technology playing a leading role in daily life, it’s no surprise high-tech honchos are holding the Silicon Valley Wireless Symposium on November 2nd at Marvell headquarters in Santa Clara to discuss public policy that ensures a sound path forward for 21st Century communications infrastructure.

Read the Full post at The Daily Kos

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