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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

Book Party with Larry Downes

Don’t forget to join us for a Book Party with Larry Downes,

author of Big Bang Disruption.

Big Bang Disruption Book Party
Larry Downes, Author

It used to take years or even decades for disruptive innovations to dethrone dominant products and services. But now any business can be
devastated virtually overnight by something better and cheaper. Come find out how to disrupt or how to avoid being disrupted.

Hosted by:
Co-Hosted by:

Dustin Batton

Daniel Brusilovsky

Jeff Capaccio

Rachelle Chong

Mark Daniel


Lloyd Marino

Mike Montgomery

Chase Norlin

Michael Perry

Brian Purchia

Jake Saperstein

Silicon Valley Italian Executive Council

Alex Tourk

Yo Yoshida

Tuesday, February 25th at *5:00 PM*
Where: Hattery

414 Brannan Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

First 50 RSVPs will receive a free book courtesy of CALinnovates!

Another View: Take a careful approach in regulating the Internet

In a recent opinion piece (“FCC must restore Internet neutrality” – Viewpoints, Jan. 16), the author relies on incomplete information to reach a conclusion that should concern everyone with a stake in the continued success of California’s innovation economy.

The U.S. broadband market is one of the most dynamically competitive markets in the world. It is hardly broken, and comparing the United States to that of a finite geographical area – such as Stockholm – paints an immensely inaccurate picture.

As of 2011, 94 percent of Americans had a choice of providers offering 3 megabits per second or more. Since then, Google has helped launch a fiber ground war; private communications infrastructure investment in the United States topped $50 billion per year. According to one recent report, in 2013 the United States ranked eighth globally in average connection speed. That’s ahead of Sweden.

I’m frankly surprised the author ignored mobile broadband entirely, as if it doesn’t exist. Yet, mobile connection speeds in the United States are now 75 percent faster than the European Union average. Cisco forecasts that average mobile connection speeds in the United States will continue to rise, far outpacing Western Europe. We’re on the right track.

What’s really alarming is the author’s suggestion that the nation’s long-standing Internet policy should be scrapped. At issue: a recent federal court of appeals decision overturning the Federal Communication Commission’s 2010 net neutrality rule.

In its decision, the court stated that the FCC overstepped its boundaries by attempting to regulate the Internet. Doomsayers now claim that the Internet will suffer because there is no regulation in place to “protect” it, notwithstanding that the Internet had been doing just fine before 2010.

There’s no need to panic. It’s clear the reasonable middle will prevail and find a sensible, market-driven policy solution. And there’s no evidence of actual threats to Internet openness on the horizon.

Finally, the author’s suggestion that the appeals court ruling should cause the FCC to try to regulate the Internet under rules that date back to 1934 would be a huge mistake, not only for continued investment in broadband infrastructure, but to the very innovation economy that has been thriving in California.

The Internet is an evolving and phenomenally successful engine of innovation and economic growth in California and the nation. It remains so precisely because our government has wisely taken a careful approach to its regulation. California’s success is evidence that this approach works.

Read the full article on The Sacramento Bee

Life in the Slow Lane

Las Vegas promises to offer visitors anything they desire. Shopping, parties, clubs, restaurants and theme parks all await. But the reality is the single goal of Vegas is to attract gamblers and extract money from them.

More than 40 million passengers come through McCarran International Airport every year. They arrive just 2.4 miles away from the Strip casinos — roughly a six-minute cab ride – but as soon as you step off the plane you’re immediately greeted by slot machines. Everything in Vegas is obviously designed to get visitors gambling as quickly as possible. That is, everything except transportation.

When I made the trip down for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I immediately queued up in a 45-minute taxi line. The only upside was the rare breath of fresh desert air and a reprieve from the nonstop noise emanating from the slot machines.

Read the full article on Huffington Post

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

What The Consumer Electronics Show Taught About Wireless Spectrum

By: Mike Montgomery
As featured in The Huffington Post

More than 100,000 people descended on Las Vegas for last week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show. While the sale of tech devices is expected to shrink this year (see here), what’s beyond doubt is that Americans’ wireless love affair continues its meteoric growth.

Look no further than this post by Scientific American editor Larry Greenemeier: “5 Technologies to Watch for at This Week’s Consumer Electronics Show.” His top technologies for the future: 3-D printing, ultra-high definition TVs, phablets, wearables, and driverless cars. Of these five developing technologies, three depend heavily on mobile connections.

Read the full article Here


Connectivity Needed to Build Stronger Merced, Region

As featured in The Sacramento Bee
By: Mike Montgomery

Can Merced be the next Silicon Valley?

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Americans now subscribe to broadband Internet service at home, and an additional 10 percent of Americans have broadband access at home via a smartphone.

While that’s the good news, there are still some communities in America that lack some kind of broadband or Internet access at home. About 7 percent of Americans say they lack Internet access altogether.

Read the full article here.


Does Emerge Digital Offer a New Hiring Model for California?

As featured on Fox and Hounds

The Emerge Digital Group (“EDG”) is one of the fastest growing advertising and marketing firms in the United States—in August it was ranked by Inc. Magazine as the #2 fastest growing private company nationwide in the advertising and marketing industry. While its growth holds lessons about digital marketing, of particular relevance to California’s workforce community is its unconventional hiring model.

The company was co-founded in 2009 by Chase Norlin and Alex Rowland. It was a bootstrapped operation, with financing coming from the founders and their families. In the first years, it had no major outside capital investment.

Read the full article Here

At The Pool Launches New iOS App

New Platform Connects Online and Offline Worlds

by Mike Montgomery

The way we socialize, network and connect today has been revolutionized by mobile.  Many of us choose to interact with colleagues, friends and family via our smartphones.  We use various types of social media, relying on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime, Snapchat and SMS, though these are mere approximations of real interactions; communication through a digital buffer.

Our vision of the Internet and software development today is a laughable relic of the AOL days of yore. While technology can distance us from our fellow human beings, it can also bring us far, far closer to each other.

When Alex Capecelatro dove headfirst into his new venture, he was well aware of the opportunity to disrupt how our relationships are developed, formed and utilized. And he wanted to disrupt the way people maximized the social experience through mobile devices.

Capecelatro’s company, At The Pool, aims to help bridge the digital self with the physical one. “We see social media as a starting point, not a closed loop,” Capecelatro says. “Our goal is to allow you to leverage your network and get you out with your friends to socialize, network and advance yourself personally and professionally.”

Key to getting people to maximize their digital to real world experience is At The Pool’s “shout” feature. Users who want to do something — go to a museum, hit up cross-fit, watch a bad Sandra Bullock flick, whatever — shout it out via At The Pool’s new mobile app. The shout is then sent to their friends both near and far, as well as nearby At The Pool users they don’t know who might be interested in joining the fun.

“We’re all about connecting locally,” Capecelatro says. “You have complete control over how far you want your shouts to go, from the same block to the same city and beyond.  People demand products that offer hyper-local results.  We solve problems people haven’t yet had an answer to.”

Another way to look at At The Pool is as a contact list connected to sonar. You send out your shout, and it pings those closest to you, the message widening out as far as you want it to go. Add in the capability to easily share photos, along with an easy interface, and you can see why At The Pool already has members in over 100 countries — pretty great, considering they only launched their iOS app a few weeks ago.

“One of my guiding principles as we move the company forward is that our digital future is in mobile and our ability to connect people with the world around them is just getting started,” says Capecelatro. “We built At The Pool to make it easier to stay connected to a meaningful life in the mobile world.”

You can learn more about Capecelatro and At The Pool by visiting

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