News Center

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

###

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

 

California Cities Take A Giant Step Backward On 5G

There’s a consensus that 5G is a vital step forward for the economy and our communities; and the sooner we prepare for it, the better off we will be. But, recent moves by Los Angeles and San Rafael are disappointing to see.

In October of last year, the city of Los Angeles approved a 1,000 percent increase in the fee that companies will have to pay when they dig up or damage streets. That means companies will pay a lot more to lay new cable and utilities under city streets. This price increase makes it increasingly difficult to build and deploy the infrastructure that will enable 5G — ultimately making it more expensive for consumers and businesses to access the technology.

San Rafael, meanwhile, unanimously passed an ordinance that imposes tighter restrictions on wireless companies wanting to build 5G infrastructure. The new ordinance will make small cell antennas significantly more difficult to install in the city because of a stipulation that requires wireless companies only build and deploy within certain geographic boundaries. This will negatively impact businesses, services and residents that rely on this infrastructure by eating into the city’s potential future revenue. Ultimately, San Rafael’s city council preempted the Federal Communications Commission ruling that went into effect in January that limits local authority over the installation of 5G infrastructure.

5G is a necessity; that is clear. The U.S. needs 5G-based technologies to maintain its competitive edge globally. 5G will unlock enormous economic growth, help create new businesses and jobs, improve transportation and public safety, save energy and greatly improve infrastructure. Accenture projects 5G will create up to 3 million new jobs and boost GDP by $500 billion, in part that is because it will vastly increase mobile connectivity and capacity.

Global data traffic is projected to increase from 19.01 exabytes per month in 2018 to 77.5 exabytes per month by 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent. That’s roughly 800 million times higher than 15 years ago. By the end of 2019 alone, more than 50 billion devices and 212 billion sensors will be connected to network services.

Without new and updated infrastructure, all that data and those connections will make wireless service slow and unreliable. 5G could bring up to 100 times faster speed for data transfer, significantly more reliable than current 4G LTE — especially in densely populated areas.

Furthermore, it is estimated that 5G, in combination with the Internet of Things (IoT), could net $160 billion in economic activity for “smart” cities, through reductions in energy usage, traffic congestion and fuel costs.

But all those benefits are dependent on having a comprehensive and robust 5G network in place. So, what do these two misinformed ordinances have to do with 5G? The fact of the matter is that, in order to achieve this next generation of wireless coverage, we need the right wireless infrastructure, such as “small cells,” to match so we can access 5G capabilities. Small cells are small antennas — about the size of a pizza box — and can be built to mimic the aesthetic of the surrounding area where they are installed and can be attached to existing infrastructure, such as a light pole. Yet many municipalities, like Los Angeles and San Rafael, are resisting them by imposing long wait times for permits or charging unreasonable fees.

Unlike these two cities, the FCC is working to speed up the installation of 5G infrastructure by making it easier and less costly to get networks up and running. On Jan. 15, the FCC’s new rules went into effect, allowing for a drastic increase in deployment of wireless infrastructure across the nation, including in Los Angeles and San Rafael. The new regulations impose tight permit deadlines on cities and limit how much a city can charge to install 5G infrastructure in public rights of way. In the simplest of terms, the FCC is working to ensure a smooth and efficient rollout of 5G.

The FCC rule is a major step forward. Obstructionist regulations by cities, on the other hand, are denying their residents access to the fastest and most reliable wireless networks, forcing local businesses to compete using outdated technology, and costing their first responders the best access to life-saving technology. Without updated infrastructure and policies in place, we’re all going to be losing out.

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.

 

No Cell Service During The Tournament Of Roses? Not This Year.

By Mike Montgomery

While it may seem premature to talk about New Year’s Day celebrations, the City of Pasadena has been hard at work preparing for the 128th edition of its Tournament of Roses Parade celebration. The iconic parade is a New Year’s Day tradition for Pasadena and the millions who watch on TV in more than 115 countries where the parade is broadcast.

This year’s festivities are expected to bring more than 700,000 spectators to Pasadena. Every year, the influx of people is a boon to the local economy. But, it comes with a set of challenges as the city’s population grows nearly five-fold over a four-day period.

One of the biggest problems affecting parade staff, residents, visitors and first responders is the lack of reliable cellphone service. Those who have has attended the parade can attest to the frustration of their phone appearing to have full service yet not being able to make a call, send a text, or access an app.

The reason for this lack of connectivity is simple: network congestion. Mobile-phone ownership in the U.S. is almost ubiquitous (95% penetration), which means that when 700,000 people flock to an area, nearly 1 million cellphones and other connected devices (e.g., smart watches, fitness trackers, etc.) also flood the area. This influx of devices overwhelms the communications infrastructure, which is why your device may not have a strong connection.

By striking a partnership with communications infrastructure provider Crown Castle, Pasadena officials have created a streamlined permitting process to strategically deploy nearly 30 small-cell nodes along the parade route and in Old Town Pasadena’s commercial district to combat network congestion.

While small cells certainly will help everyone share texts, pictures, videos and more, the biggest benefit of this upgrade is for the first responders working to keep all paradegoers safe. What most people don’t realize is that mobile has become one of the most valuable tools for public safety. You see, 80% of 911 calls today are made from a mobile phone, and Wireless Emergency Alerts have become the default method for first responders to push out important safety information at scale during critical events such as an active-shooter situation or when a child is missing.

These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Small cells will also serve as the backbone for the wireless revolution known as 5G.

Let me explain. 5G is the next evolution of today’s 4G network, but in reality, 5G will be a new kind of network that will be able to handle 10,000 times more capacity and provide speeds 20 times faster than 4G. This incredible speed and capacity will not only enhance mobile data speed on our devices, but it also will reduce latency to support new user experiences such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

Further, 5G will serve as the lifeblood for smart communities, where street lights will communicate with traffic lights to accommodate traffic patterns on the fly. It will be the conduit for self-driving cars to talk to one another for safer rides. And, it will even aid doctors in performing robotic surgery from hundreds of miles away.

Pasadena has set itself up to be at the forefront of wireless connectivity today and tomorrow by embracing next-generation communication infrastructure, but unfortunately not all municipalities across Los Angeles County have done the same. Now is the time for others to follow Pasadena’s lead and set the entire region up for the same kind of success.

California’s New Internet Law: Just Another Swing And A Miss

Like other net-neutrality initiatives that came before it, California’s sweeping internet regulation law recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t seem likely to solve anything, says Mike Montgomery.

In a new Sacramento Bee op-ed, Montgomery, executive director for CALinnovates, addresses two glaring problems with the law: its legality and its scope. The law as it stands now “will remain mired in court, and taxpayers will bear the expense of defending a law that may not withstand litigation and consumers will continue to lack basic net neutrality protections,” Montgomery contends.

Read the full op-ed here.

5G Networks And Infrastructure: The Prescription For Improving Telemedicine

The Federal Communications Commission’s $100 million “Connected Care Pilot Program” to support virtual healthcare, or “telemedicine,” is a vital program to bring high-quality care to our veteran, low-income, and minority communities, writes Kish Rajan, chief evangelist for CALinnovates. But telemedicine isn’t a viable option without the high-speed wireless connections needed for quality videoconferencing.

The answer to this problem, Rajan says, is upgrading the nation’s wireless infrastructure:

To deal with the demand today and to lay the foundation for the 5G networks of tomorrow that will allow telemedicine to reach its full potential, we must upgrade and densify our communications infrastructure by expeditiously deploying more fiber optic cable and densification devices known as “small cells.”

Read what this entails here.

The Millennial Dilemma: Too Many Smartphones And Not Enough Bandwidth

The Pew Research Center says 100% of Americans age 18 to 29 own a cellphone, with 94% owning a smartphone,” writes CALinnovates’ Mike Montgomery on Modernize California. “A separate survey from Pew found that 89% of smartphone users go online daily, while nearly four out of 10 18- to 29-year-olds go online ‘almost constantly.'”

He continues: “While the increased use of connected technology has certainly made our society more efficient, we are at a tipping point where our networks and infrastructure must be modernized to deal with the massive demand for data.”

Read Montgomery’s proposed solution to this issue here.

The Key To The Future Of Self-Driving Cars: 5G

“Small cell and fiber deployment, much like autonomous vehicle progress, is not happening fast enough,” says CALinnovates’ Mike Montgomery. “The reality is, we will need thousands of small cells connected by thousands of route miles of fiber for our mobile networks to reach their full potential.”

“Prioritizing communications infrastructure buildout now is not only fundamental to speeding the adoption of self-driving cars, but enabling countless innovations that stand to make our communities smarter and safer through the power of 5G.”

Read Montgomery’s full column on Modernize California.

Cities Shouldn’t Wait For 5G To Install Small Cell Antennas

By Mike Montgomery

It’s hard to remember, but a little more than a decade ago flip phones were the height of mobile phone innovation. Texting via a numerical keypad was all the rage and only a handful of mobile devices could even access the internet.

The difference between that time and today is remarkable. Now we do everything on our phones – staying in touch with friends via video chat, keeping up with family on social media, banking and even watching movies. A lot of these advances have come from improved device technology, but many have come from upgrades to the networks that power our devices to make room for the extra data needed to keep us hyper-connected.

For many of us, 4G isn’t the marvel it used to be. Dropped calls, slow downloads and sinking number of bars have become more prevalent as we continue to add more and more devices to our wireless networks. And guess what? Our networks are going to continue to get more crowded – according to projections, in North America alone mobile data traffic will reach 6.4 Exabytes per month by 2021.

The good news is, there is a solution to our capacity problems, and that solution is already underway – upgrade both our network and the infrastructure that powers it. Let’s start with the network upgrade. The next evolution of our mobile networks will be 5G, but in reality 5G will be more of a revolution.

You see, 5G is expected to be 100 times faster and support 100 times the capacity of 4G. The benefits to users are obvious – instantaneous video downloads, fewer dropped calls, zero lag in live video – but 5G will also be a major boost for the U.S. economy. Accenture predicts that 5G will bring with it $500 billion in GDP growth by making smart cities a reality. 5G is the key to faster speeds and more connections points, which will ultimately help cities use less energy through smart grids, limit commute times and traffic fatalities by powering self-driving cars, allow cities to deploy sensors that will instantaneously alert police to things like gunshots, and help make emergency services more efficient.

However, 5G is not available to the public yet and the rollout of the network will take several years, which obviously doesn’t do much for our immediate capacity issue. What will help immediately, and is also an absolute necessity to making 5G a reality, is the modernization of our communications infrastructure.

While we wait for the 5G revolution, cities can begin to reap the immediate 4G boosting benefits of new wireless antennas known as small cells. Small cells are exactly what they sound like, small, low-powered nodes located near the end user that add much needed capacity to existing 4G networks while simultaneously laying the groundwork for 5G – small cells will literally serve as the backbone of 5G networks. Thanks to their size and ability to be camouflaged, small cells can be placed on utility poles, traffic lights, even under the seats in a stadium.

London is already doing this – building out a network of small cells to improve 4G coverage in the city. According to Techradar:

“As the finance capital of Europe, it was seen as unacceptable to have poor mobile coverage thanks to the numerous tall buildings blocking signals. Small cells were identified as the ideal solution.”

London expects to have 400 small cells by March 2019.

The essential point, small cells help bridge the gap between 4G and 5G while improving the customer experience right away. Installing a robust small cell network now is a rare win-win for cities by allowing them to deal with the immediate growth of data traffic – which climbed 238% in the last two years alone – while laying the groundwork for 5G.

Page 1 of 4112345...102030...Last »