News Center

K-12 High Speed Network

California has a strong K-12 research and education network infrastructure for public and private educational institutions. The K-12 High Speed Network program governs participation in the network and is funded by the California Department of Education. This program provides the K-12 system with a dependable source of high-speed internet services, data reporting, teaching and learning tools, and videoconferencing capabilities, among other features – at no additional cost to participating districts. These programs provide valuable support for teachers and students and help improve performance.  Currently 79% of California schools are connected – a noteworthy achievement. However, plenty of work remains to bring the benefits of the network to all California students.

CALinnovates believes the state should make expanding access to the K-12 High Speed Network a high priority. This program can reduce the achievement gap by methods of learning to students who otherwise might be left behind.  It also provides professional development opportunities for teachers by giving them new tools to complement their lesson plans. Also, the data capabilities provided by the network will make it easier for administrators to evaluate their schools in a number of categories.

The technology industry values its partnership with the education community and believes the potential of this partnership remains untapped. With approximately 1/3 of California students failing to graduate from high school and achievement lagging behind other states, we must find better ways of engaging students academically. Technology like the K-12 High Speed Network is a key ingredient of this.

Broadband

The term “broadband” refers to the high-speed internet service which allows users to access a large volume of data very quickly. Think of it like a highway: the more lanes there are, the more traffic that can pass through efficiently. For instance, a very narrow road (or single-band signal) only has the capacity for light traffic, or Morse Code, for instance. Larger bandwidth can handle more types of data – such as telephone communication or music on the radio. A broadband “highway” has the capacity to move more complex and larger data vehicles very rapidly.

When you refer to cable, DSL, wireless modems, and satellite internet service, you’re talking about different types of broadband service.

Broadband is becoming accessible to more consumers across the country as private companies work to develop and deploy the networks needed to handle the internet traffic. The Brookings Institution found that in the year 2000, there were only 4.1 million broadland lines in the United States. Six years later, the number of lines had increased by 1500% with nearly 54 million broadband lines across the country. With a broadband connection, users no longer need to wait for Web sites to load. You can send e-mail, download and view files, and conduct business very quickly. The deployment of new broadband lines also spurs job creation and narrows the “digital divide” that can leave some regions offline. Policies that continue to promote competition encourage providers to expand and improve their services, and give consumers more choice and better offerings.

CALinnovates supports reasonable deployment of the California Broadband Initiative.  For more information on the initiative, please visit http://www.calink.ca.gov/

What is broadband?

The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access.  Broadband can be simply defined as a fast connection to the internet that is always on.  It allows a user to send emails, surf the web, download images and music, watch videos, join a web conference, and much more.

Content provided by Broadband for America (http://www.broadbandforamerica.com/)

Universal Broadband To Unlock the Productivity of Government 2.0

Guest blog by Eric Jaye

The Blockbuster video store down the street from my house in San Francisco is now shuttered. I’m unsure of the exact day it closed, or even month. Because our family’s regular trip to the video store to argue over what movie to rent came to an end last year when we signed up for on-demand streaming from Netflix.

That’s the story of California’s economy. The fast – which almost always means the broadband enabled – survive.  And the brick and mortar economy continues to whither.

Just a mile down the road from the now-shuttered Blockbuster, the City and County of San Francisco is preparing to open a new “green” office building. The cost of the building on a square foot basis makes it one of the most expensive ever built in the city.  But it is not the cost of the brick and mortar that matters most – it is a government still trapped in a brick and mortar mindset.

 

The Productivity Surge

Driven in large part by investment in information technology, the average American worker is now 80% more productive then at the dawn of the personal computer era.  But while productivity has soared in the private sector, analysis shows productivity in the public sector is flat, or even falling.

As demands on government services grow during the lingering recession the productivity of the government workforce is an increasingly important issue.  And it is an issue that will not be addressed until government workers can fully employ information technology to do their jobs.

But unlike Netflix and other broadband-enabled innovators, productivity in government requires more than just technical advancement.  True Gov 2.0 also requires that we make sure no one is left behind by this technical change, which means the vital step of guaranteeing Universal Internet Access.

 

Government Can’t Leave Constituents Behind

When Netflix grows at the expense of Blockbuster, it is a boon for the broadband enabled and a loss for those without.  But movie choice is one thing – the vital services performed by government another story.

Because government must, and should, serve everyone in a way that everyone can access, government will not be able to fully embrace the staggering efficiencies of the web while our state remains separated by a digital divide.

According to a recent analysis, the savings generated by a more productive government workforce on a national basis measures in the trillions of dollars.  In California there are tens of billions of dollars to be gained by helping government workers use technology to match the productivity of their private sector counterparts.

And in a world in which students need the Internet to complete their homework and in which their parents can only apply for most jobs online – there is a growing recognition that Universal Internet Access is more than an efficiency tool, it is a civil right.

To address both this equality imperative and to gain the effectiveness dividends that an investment in Universal Access will generate – a new generation of web-savvy leaders are starting to make this part of their policy platforms.

Just one of leasers is San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, who has proposed a UniversalInternet Access plan at his www.ResetSanFrancisco.org online community.

Ting, with his business and civil rights background, may be one of the first to embrace this issue but there will soon be many others.  With basic civil rights and billions and billions of dollars of savings at stake, this is an idea ready to launch.

Eric Jaye runs Storefront Political Media in San Francisco.  His firm creates both traditional campaigns and new media for clients around the nation.

Wireless Service Taxes

In recent years, wireless users have become a favorite target for new state and local taxes.  Today, state and local taxes and fees average about 14 percent of consumers’ cell phone bills.  That’s almost double the cost of ordinary sales taxes.

Unfortunately, given ongoing state budget troubles, the rush to tax wireless consumers is becoming even more pronounced. Across the country, cities have been rewriting utility regulations to expand the list of taxable wireless services.  And some cities have successfully persuaded courts to impose new “business license taxes” on wireless services at rates as high as 10 percent. (By comparison, other business license taxes are typically about one percent.)

From a public policy perspective, this rush to tax is profoundly disappointing.  First, the government is supposed to use taxes to discourage behavior.  There are cigarette taxes to deter smoking, especially among the young.  Liquor taxes try to curb drunk driving and overdrinking.

But the development of cell phones and other services is one of the great successes in America’s economy, creating jobs and wealth.  It also provides a lifeline for Americans without traditional phone service.

This rush to tax mobile consumers also discourages use of wireless broadband options that can be vital to expanding options for tele-work and reducing greenhouse emissions.

The bottom line: Wireless users already pay more than their share in taxes.  Officials should stop adding to that burden.

Statewide HIE

HIE, or Health Information Exchange, systems are a central component of state and national health reform. The goal of these systems is to make electronic medical records mobile, allowing the effective exchange of data between medical organizations. HIE systems can provide many advantages over traditional medical record management. HIE systems are expected to lower costs for medical providers as well as patients and more thoroughly and effectively communicate important patient information. HIE systems will also dramatically reduce wasteful or redundant tests and consults, and will provide more comprehensive public health data. Furthermore, HIE systems are expected to significantly reduce the medical industry’s carbon footprint.

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allocated millions of dollars in federal funding for the organization of California’s HIE systems. Earlier this year, the State of California Health and Human Services Agency announced it would begin the process of creating a new governance entity for statewide HIE development and implementation. With the promise of safer, more patient-centered care; lowered medical costs; and more efficient, effective, and environmentally responsible record management; these HIE systems will be integral to the advancement of public health, medical progress, and economic stability in California.

Public-private partnership will form the backbone of successful HIE development. It’s crucial that California’s new HIE governance entity and public health officials make statewide HIE goals, requirements, and necessary protocols salient in an expeditious manner. Timely collaboration between California and its medical technology innovators will ensure that the most robust and effective solutions ultimately make it to market. California’s medical technology industry is poised to develop these solutions that will benefit both medical professionals and patients alike.

CALinnovates will continue to work with statewide HIE and our membership to ensure fluid communication as these policies are developed.

FCC Adopts Open Internet Framework

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI STATEMENT ON PRESERVING INTERNET FREEDOM AND OPENNESS

WASHINGTON, DC

December 21, 2010

Let me start with a quote. “The Web as we know it [is] being threatened.” That’s Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, in a recent article. He continued, “A neutral communications medium is the basis of a fair, competitive market economy, of democracy, and of science. Although the Internet and the Web generally thrive on lack of regulation, some basic values have to be legally preserved.”

Today, for the first time, the FCC is adopting rules to preserve basic Internet values. While the Commission had in the past pursued bipartisan enforcement of Open Internet principles, we have not had properly adopted rules. Now, for the first time, we’ll have enforceable, high-level rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness.

As we stand here now, the freedom and openness of the Internet are unprotected. No rules on the books to protect basic Internet values. No process for monitoring Internet openness as technology and business models evolve. No recourse for innovators, consumers, or speakers harmed by improper practices. And no predictability for Internet service providers, so that they can effectively manage and invest in broadband networks.

That will change once we vote to approve this strong and balanced order. The vote on this order comes after many months of debate — which has often produced more heat than light. Almost everyone says that they agree that the openness of the Internet is essential — that openness has unleashed an enormous wave of innovation, economic growth, job creation, small business generation, and vibrant free expression.

But despite a shared allegiance to the Internet as an open platform, there has been intense disagreement about the role of government in preserving Internet freedom and openness. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who say government should do nothing at all on open Internet. On the other end are those who would adopt extensive, detailed and rigid regulations.

Both sides impose tests of ideological purity. To some, unless their test is met, open Internet rules are “fake net neutrality.” To others, unless their test is met, open internet rules are “a government takeover of the Internet.”2 For myself, I reject both extremes in favor of a strong and sensible, non-ideological framework – one that protects Internet freedom and openness and promotes robust innovation and investment throughout the broadband ecosystem.

Because none of these goals are abstractions. They live or die not in ideology or theory, but in practice — in the hard work of grappling with technology, business, and real-world consumer experiences. Now, in this issue we encounter familiar arguments – we’ve heard some today – the kind trotted out to oppose almost any government action. We are told by some, for example, not to try to fix what isn’t broken, and that rules of the road protecting Internet freedom would discourage innovation and investment. But countless innovators, investors and business executives say just the opposite, including many who generally oppose government action.

Over the course of this proceeding we have heard from so many entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capitalists, CEOs and others working daily to invent and distribute new Internet products and thereby maintain U.S. leadership in innovation. Their message has been clear: the next decade of innovation in this sector is at risk without sensible FCC rules of the road.

As one leading early stage investor put it, in thoughts echoed in a letter we receiving from 30 prominent venture capitalists: “the lack of basic ‘rules of the road’ for what network providers and others can and can’t do is starting to hamper innovation and growth.” And as we heard in a letter from more than two dozen leading technology CEOs: “Common sense baseline rules are critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation, and global competitiveness.” The innovators, entrepreneurs, and tech leaders recognize, as I do, the vital need for massive investment in broadband infrastructure.

Based on their in-market experience – they also tell us that broadband providers have natural business incentives to leverage their positions as gatekeepers of the Internet in ways that would stifle innovation and limit the benefits of the Internet. They point out that, even after the Commission on a bipartisan basis announced open Internet principles in 2005, we have seen clear and troubling deviations from open practices.

Given the importance of an open Internet to our economic future, given the potentially 3 irreversible nature of some harmful practices, and given the competition issues among broadband providers, it is essential that the FCC fulfill its historic role as a cop on the beat to ensure the vitality of our communications networks and to empower and protect consumers of those networks.

Now at the same time, government must not overreach by imposing rules that are overly restrictive or that assume perfect knowledge about this dynamic and rapidly changing marketplace. We know that – to meet our broadband speed and deployment goals for the country – broadband providers must have the business incentives to invest many billions of dollars to build out their networks, the ability to run their networks effectively, and the flexibility to experiment with new business models to further drive private investment.

Today, we are adopting a set of high-level rules of the road that strikes the right balance between the imperatives. We’re adopting a framework that will increase certainty for businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs. In key respects, the interests of edge innovators – the entrepreneurs creating Internet content, services, and applications – broadband providers, and American consumers are aligned.

Innovation at the edge catalyzes consumer demand for broadband. Consumer demand spurs private investment in faster broadband networks. And faster networks spark even cooler innovation at the edge. I believe our action today will foster an ongoing cycle of massive investment, innovation and consumer demand both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks.

Our action will strengthen the Internet job-creation engine. Our action will advance our goal of having America’s broadband networks be the freest and fastest in the world. Our action will ensure Internet freedom at home, a necessary foundation to fight for Internet freedom around the world. The crux of the order we are adopting – which is based on a strong and sound legal framework – is straightforward.

Here are the key principles it enshrines, and the key rules designed to preserve Internet freedom and openness:4

First, consumers and innovators have a right to know the basic performance characteristics of their Internet access and how their network is being managed. The transparency rule we adopt today will give consumers and innovators the clear and simple information they need to make informed choices in choosing networks or designing the next killer app. Shining a light on network management practices will also have an important deterrent effect on bad conduct.

Second, consumers and innovators have a right to send and receive lawful traffic – to go where they want, say what they want, experiment with ideas – commercial and social, and use the devices of their choice. The rules thus prohibit the blocking of lawful content, apps, services, and the connection of devices to the network.

Third, consumers and innovators have a right to a level playing field. No central authority, public or private, should have the power to pick winners and losers on the Internet; that’s the role of the commercial market and the marketplace of ideas. So we are adopting a ban on unreasonable discrimination. And we are making clear that we are not approving so-called “pay for priority” arrangements involving fast lanes for some companies but not others. The order states that as a general rule such arrangements won’t satisfy the nonreasonable-discrimination standard – because it simply isn’t consistent with an open Internet for broadband providers to skew the marketplace by favoring one idea or application or service over another by selectively prioritizing Internet traffic.

Fourth, the rules recognize that broadband providers need meaningful flexibility to manage their networks to deal with congestion, security, and other issues. And we also recognize the importance and value of business-model experimentation, such as tiered pricing. These are practical necessities, and will help promote investment in, and expansion of, high-speed broadband networks. So, for example, the order rules make clear that broadband providers can engage in “reasonable network management”.

Fifth, the principle of Internet openness applies to mobile broadband. There is one Internet, and it must remain an open platform, however consumers and innovators access it. And so today we are adopting, for the first time, broadly applicable rules requiring transparency for mobile broadband providers, and prohibiting them from blocking websites or blocking certain competitive applications. 5

As I have said for many months, as many innovators and entrepreneurs have told us, and as the facts and record bear out, there are differences between mobile and fixed broadband that are relevant in determining what action government should take for mobile at this time.Among the differences: unique technical issues involving spectrum and mobile networks, the stage and rate of innovation in mobile broadband; and market structure.

Also, one of the largest mobile broadband providers has just begun providing 4G service using wireless spectrum subject to openness conditions adopted in connection with the auction of that spectrum.

Importantly, our order makes clear that we are not endorsing or approving practices that the order doesn’t prohibit, particularly conduct that is barred for fixed broadband. And we affirm our commitment to an ongoing process to ensure the continued evolution of mobile broadband in a way that’s consistent with Internet freedom and openness. Any reduction in mobile Internet openness would be a cause for concern—as would any reduction in innovation and investment in mobile broadband applications, devices, or networks that depend on Internet openness.

Sixth, and finally, today’s order recognizes the importance of vigilance—vigilance in promptly enforcing the rules we are adopting and vigilance in monitoring developments in areas such as mobile and the market for specialized services, which may affect Internet openness. That’s why I’m pleased that we’ve committed to create an Open Internet Advisory Committee that will assist the Commission in monitoring the state of Internet openness and the effects of our rules.

We’re also launching an Open Internet Apps Challenge on challenge.gov that will foster private-sector development of applications to empower consumers with information about their own broadband connections, which will also help protect Internet openness. The rules of the road we adopt today are rooted in ideas first articulated by Republican Chairmen Michael Powell and Kevin Martin, and endorsed in a unanimous FCC policy statement in 2005. And they are grounded in the record we have developed over the last 14 months, including more than 100,000 public comments, numerous public workshops, and hundreds of meetings with stakeholders ranging across the spectrum.

I am proud of this process, which has been one of the most transparent in FCC history. And I am proud of the result, which has already garnered broad support – from the 6 technology industry, including TechNet, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Internet Innovation Alliance and the hundreds of technology companies those groups represent, as well as many other technology companies; support from investors of all sizes, including some of the nation’s preeminent venture capitalists and angel investors.

Our framework has also drawn support from key consumer, labor, and civil rights groups, a list that includes the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Communications Workers of America. I thank them and the other groups that have worked on this issue. And our framework has been supported by a number of broadband providers as well, who recognize the sensible balance of our action and the value of bringing a level of certainty to this fraught issue.

Our action today culminates recent efforts to find common ground on this challenging issue – here at the FCC, as well by private parties, and in Congress. I thank each of those who took their time over the last several months to take on these difficult issues, seeking to bridge gaps and find solutions, and who supported us in our efforts.

I want to praise and thank my colleagues Commissioners Copps and Clyburn particularly, for their vision and constancy in pushing this Commission to focus on the interest of consumers. Their work has certainly improved our rules and order. As Commissioner McDowell and Commissioner Baker pointed out, virtually all of our decisions are bipartisan or unanimous, and I look forward to working together on a series of items to serve the public and grow the economy. And I can’t express enough appreciation to the remarkable staff of the FCC, who have worked so hard – and so well – to wrestle with difficult issues and turn complex ideas into simple rules.

This includes many offices and bureaus at the FCC, including the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Strategic Planning, the Office Engineering and Technology, and the Wireline, Wireless, Media, Consumer, Enforcement, and International Bureaus.

Thank you all.

And thank you to all the staff on the 8th floor, and in particular to the extraordinary team

I’m lucky to have in the Chairman’s office. Eddie Lazarus, Zac Katz, Rick Kaplan, Josh Gottheimer, Jen Howard, Daniel Ornstein, and Maria Gaglio – you’ve each gone well above and beyond the call of duty. I apologize to your families. But I know they join me in honoring your service.

Thanks to the work of these incredible public servants, today a strengthened FCC is adopting rules to ensure that the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation and job creation; to empower consumers and entrepreneurs; and protect free expression.7 These rules will increase certainty in the marketplace; spur investment both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks, and contribute to a 21st century job-creation engine in the United States.

Finally, these rules fulfill many promises, including a promise to the future – a promise to the companies that don’t yet exist, and the entrepreneurs who haven’t yet started work in their dorm rooms or garages.

For all that, I am proud to cast my vote.

Washington Should Encourage, Not Stifle, Innovative Spirit

Washington maintains  that its priorities are consistent when talking about tech.  They say they want job creation and they say they want universal broadband.  So do we.  As we know, the private sector tech  world has been delivering on the promise of technology, while other sectors in the economy have lagged behind.  And  the tech world continues to deliver, despite increasingly crowded, clogged up networks and lack of universal connectivity.  The tech sector has proven that innovation is a main catalyst for job creation, while lightning quick networks fuel the fire of the innovative spirit.

Yet yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Justice  to block AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile  is another sign that Washington’s actions and its stated objectives don’t always properly align.  While acquisitions of this nature deserve significant regulatory review, Washington stands in the way of job creation and innovation.  We can’t continue the drumbeat for innovation while taking actions that serve to stifle innovation.  We can’t clamor for jobs, then turn our backs on tens of thousands of jobs.  Without this merger, California alone will miss out on the creation of 14,000 new jobs .  Perhaps most importantly, we’ll miss out on private investment to rebuild and expand our over-trafficked networks that entrepreneurs, coders, and businesses, small and large, use to communicate, sell their goods and, ultimately, keep people employed.   Instead of stifling the innovative spirit, Washington should be encouraging it.

Health Care WiFi Spending Ushers in $1.3B Market

eWeek
By: Brian T. Horowitz
http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Health-Care-IT/Health-Care-WiFi-Spending-Ushers-in-13B-Market-886972/

Mobile devices and emerging technologies are fueling the creation of a $1.3 billion health care WiFi industry within the next five years, according to ABI Research.

The increasing use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as cutting-edge technologies, is pushing the health care industry to invest more in its WiFi infrastructure. In turn, these changes mean that the wireless market within health care is poised to grow to a $1.3 billion industry within the next five years, according to a new report by ABI Research.

A Better (Tech) Life/Future

Until recently, my wife and I watched rented movies on an ancient DVD player.  Yes, we actually went to Blockbuster (when it still existed), picked out a movie and hoped to God our dinosaur of a DVD player would work. It usually didn’t, though.  It didn’t recognize BluRay and buffered more than Youtube on dial-up.  It was simply no way to live.

So we finally traded in our old unit for a newer, fancier version.  And guess what?  We’re better people because of it.  The new player connects to our Wi-Fi and allows us to stream Pandora and, most importantly, Netflix. No longer does an hour-long episode of Mad Men take us an hour and twenty minutes to watch.  No longer do we need to drive to the movie rental store.  No longer do we have to feel compelled to rent a movie we know we’ll hate just because we’re already there.  But I digress.  We love technology and, quite frankly, it finally loves us back.

So when we heard the news that Netflix decided to jack up its prices by 60% for the same services we were previously getting for around ten bucks a month, we were incensed.  “Let’s cancel!” I screamed.  “How dare they?” she muttered.  It took us a little longer than it should to come to our senses, but we did.  Convenience (streaming) wins, especially with hectic work schedules and a new baby.  Really, when are we really going to go to a movie or time travel to the stone age to actually rent a movie?  So we’re sticking with Netflix.  For now.  That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t consider another service, were another option to present itself.

Enter Dish Network.  They spent a few hundred million buying Blockbuster and will spend a few billion more buying up a bunch of spectrum.  As everyone knows, CALinnovates is a big proponent of expanded access to spectrum to keep the consumer experience moving in the right direction.  Our members, including app developers and mobile gaming companies, want (need) more to continue to serve their customers’ needs in an ever-demanding arena.

The Dish/Blockbuster marriage is an innovative and interesting strategy in a changing marketplace.  Given the economic woes we are facing here in California and nationwide, fusing these two companies together may be a good call.  We’ll make sure the CALinnovates team monitors its success moving forward.  Now, back to Mad Men….

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