Thursday, June 27
Yesterday, IIA partnered with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Digital Policy Institute to host “X-Factors of Tech Policy Today: Keeping Pace in the Broadband Race.”
Participating in the discussion were:
• Ralph B. Everett, Esq. – President and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
• Robert Yadon, Ph.D. – Director, Digital Policy Institute
• Barry Umansky, J.D. – Senior Fellow, Digital Policy Institute
• Rick Boucher – Former Congressman; Honorary Chairman, Internet Innovation Alliance
• Maurita Coley, Esq. – Vice President and COO, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
• John Horrigan Ph.D. – Vice President and Director, Media and Technology Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
• Louis Peraertz, Esq. – Legal Advisor, Wireless, International and Public Safety, Office of Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon C. Clyburn
After Ralph Everett welcomed the crowd and made introductions, Robert Yadon kicked things off by highlighting struggles in the state of Illinois to fully take advantage of technology as a driver of economic recovery. By increasing STEM graduate rates and creating a climate of entrepreneurship, Yadon argued, Illinois could greatly benefit. “States with a solid fiscal policy, light regulatory touch, and educated workforce are most attractive for business and investment,” Yadon said. “The same is true at the national level.”
During the panel discussion, moderator Barry Umansky went right at the issue of spectrum:
One key element of the IP transition is global wireless, which depends upon spectrum. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice suggested that in the upcoming incentive auctions, limits be imposed on the ability of the larger wireless carriers to participate. Why is or isn’t this a good idea?
Tackling the question, our own Rick Boucher highlighted the fact that mobile data services are growing at five times the rate of the national economy. “This is a consumer issue,” Boucher said. “Consumers have the right to assume that carriers will be able to meet increasing demand.”
Boucher also warned that limiting participation from some carriers would negatively impact more than consumers, stating:
Government needs revenue from the incentive auctions in order to build out the first responder network. Broadcasters have also been promised revenue from putting forward spectrum for auction. The more bidders included in the process, the more revenue will be generated, and the more broadcasters will be willing to provide spectrum.”
All the panelists agreed that freeing up more spectrum for wireless as especially critical for minority and economically disadvantaged communities, which are embracing mobile broadband are a rapid rate. As Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Vice President and COO Maurita Coley put it:
Policies should encourage moving forward with auctions and bringing spectrum to market, and ensure that minority entrepreneurs have the opportunity to participate in auctions. The FCC has the ability to ensure that minority and underserved consumers are not left behind.
The other hot topic during the discussion was the coming transition to all-IP networks. As Umansky asked the panelists:
The FCC Technical Advisory Committee, formerly headed by Chairman Nominee Tom Wheeler, has recommended that the FCC take the steps necessary to sunset the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) by 2016. What are the policy implications of a near-term sunset for broadband deployment and consumers?
In response, Rick Boucher pointed out that current regulations are getting in the way of progress:
While only 25% of customers remain on [the PSTN] network, carriers are forced by law to maintain 100% of the old networks, and the cost of carriers maintaining older networks is the opportunity cost of investment in the new ones.
Boucher also encouraged the Commission to help speed up the transition to all-IP networks. “Consumer interest must be regarded as an informed priority,” he said. “A faster sunset will mean a faster delivery to consumers of services over modern networks.”
Back to the topic of competition, a member of the audience asked what the FCC’s ideal number of players was for a competitive marketplace. In response, Peraertz said:
For [Acting FCC Chairwoman] Mignon Clyburn, there is no set number of players. We look for ways to take a more detailed look at wireless market structure and promoting access for low income and underserved communities.
These were just some of the many highlights from what turned out to be a lively and highly informative discussion. If you’d like to watch the entire event, archived video is available here.
Tuesday, March 19
To coincide with the kick-off of March Madness — which is one of the most online-watched sports events in America — we’ve assembled the below timeline, which shows the evolution of online viewership of the Tournament. As you can see, the timeline begins in 1996 with a simple web page — the same year Congress passed a landmark Telecom Act that referenced the Internet just once.
Timeline: Evolution of March Madness Consumption
1996: The NCAA creates the first online computer page for the Final Four.
2003: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports, and the NCAA first partner to produce NCAA March Madness on Demand, the official online platform of the tournament offering basketball live feeds, as well as on demand video streaming.
2005: CBS begins a two-year deal with CSTV.com for exclusive Internet video streaming rights for out-of-market game coverage for the first 58 games of the championship.
2006: March Madness on Demand sees 19 million video streams and 5 million visits.
2007: Due to 2006 traffic, CBS Sportsline doubles its bandwidth capacity for March Madness on Demand, which offers free live Internet streams of each game of the first three rounds of the championship.
2008: CBSSports.com and March Madness on Demand launch a developer platform that allows more than 200 websites to carry live video of the championship online, including sites such as ESPN.com, Yahoo, SI.com, YouTube and Facebook. CBS allows users to watch all 63 games that it telecasts during the tournament for the first time, and sees the total number of unique visitors from first-round games through the regional championship games grow from 1.75 million to 4.33 million.
2011: Akamai’s global network is used to provide live and on-demand streaming video across broadband and mobile applications. Akamai delivers live games and on demand content to more than 1.9 million unique visitors per day on broadband sites and more than 680,000 daily visitors to mobile applications. By the event’s end, there is a 63 percent increase in total visits across the 2011 NCAA March Madness on Demand broadband and mobile products, and a 17 percent increase in online video consumption throughout the tournament compared to the previous year. This year, for the first time, live streaming video of every game of the tournament is available online.
2012: The Android phone is added as a viewing platform for NCAA March Madness Live (formerly March Madness on Demand). NCAA.com/March Madness Live, CBSSports.com, SI.com, TruTV.com, TNT.tv and TBS.com deliver over 220 million visits across online and mobile platforms. This marks an 11% increase from 198 million in 2011.
What’s in store for 2013? The timeline indicates that consumer demand to watch March Madness online, particularly via mobile devices, will likely continue increasing exponentially, so we’re crossing our fingers for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action to accelerate the Internet Protocol (IP) Transition and competitive, open spectrum auctions that will quickly bring more spectrum to market. A move to next-generation networks and sound federal spectrum policy will be wins for consumers and the economy.
Friday, March 15
Speaking of the new Pope, NBC News released these striking photos yesterday with caption “What a difference 8 years makes: St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and yesterday.”
Beautiful example of just how fast mobile technology has transformed our lives.
Via David Goldman of CNN Money, Wednesday’s announcement of new Pope Francis gave the Internet a jolt:
Overall Web traffic peaked at 32% above normal Wednesday, according to Akamai’s real-time monitor. About 20% of the world’s Internet traffic flows through Akamai’s servers, making it one of the largest content delivery networks on Earth.
Total social traffic on Akamai’s giant network peaked at 2:20 p.m. ET, about 10 minutes after white smoke rose from a chimney above Rome’s Sistine Chapel. Social traffic served by Akamai nearly reached the same level an hour later when Francis emerged from the balcony atop St. Peter’s Basilica.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest Internet traffic spike occurred in South America, where social network traffic jumped more than 50%. Francis is the first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years and the first Latin American pope in the church’s history.
Also of interest, Twitter hit a high of 130,000 tweets a minute, which was close to the benchmark hit during this year’s Super Bowl.
Wednesday, February 06
Speaking of mobile traffic, Scott Moritz of Bloomberg reports once wireless provider saw a big — and I mean big — jump in traffic during last Sunday’s Super Bowl:
From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. New York time, a span covering the halftime show and the power disruption during the Feb. 3 game, customers used 78 gigabytes of data inside the New Orleans Superdome, AT&T said yesterday. That was almost double the peak volume of last year’s Super Bowl and the most ever for an in- stadium championship game.
All told, AT&T says mobile traffic was up 80% over last year’s game. That’s a lot of tweets, texts, and whatnot.
Friday, February 01
This Sunday is the Super Bowl, and over at CNBC Julia Boorstin previews what the big game will mean for Twitter:
Twitter is expecting thousands of tweets-per-second, making it one of its biggest events ever. Tweets have become such a powerful tool for advertisers that Nielsen, which last year announced a partnership with Twitter, is releasing a new metric to show the value of the “second screen.”
Here’s an amazing statistic: a Nielsen study revealed that a third of people using Twitter are tweeting about content they’re watching. And Twitter found that 65 percent of people are accessing Twitter via mobile devices while watching television.
Interestingly, Boorstin reports half of the commercials airing during the game will feature Twitter hashtags. Two years ago, only one ad employed a hashtag.
Wednesday, November 07
Our own Bruce Mehlman will be participating in ISI’s 2012 Tech Change Conference at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, DC. He’ll be taking part in the discussion “Tech Policy: Insiders’ View” along with John Kneuer from Fairfax Media Partners, and Jeff Lande, founder of the Lande Group.
The event happens at 2 pm ET in the Chandelier Room.
Monday, July 30
At the Next Web, Jon Russell reports the airwaves around London during the Olympics are getting crowded:
There was further controversy around television coverage of the 2012 Olympics Games in London this weekend after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked spectators in London to “take it easy” and avoid sending large numbers of text messages, tweets and other communication through their mobile phones.
The broadcast of the men’s road cycling race — which enjoyed considerable attention from the British public thanks to its medal prospects — had a number of issues, which the International Olympic Commission (IOC) put down to users overloading mobile networks.
The IOC is currently working with UK mobile providers to fix the issues.
Thursday, July 26
As part of their 2012 conference in New Orleans, the National Urban League is holding the panel discussion “Job Creation and Education: Programmatic Efforts to Increase Broadband Adoption in African AmericanCommunities.”
Moderated by Kristal High, Editor-in-Chief of Politic365, the discussion will feature David Honig of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the NUL Policy Institute’s Madura Wijewardena, and Charisse Lillie of the Comcast Foundation.
With the digital divide still very much in place in America — especially among communities of color — this will be an important discussion in the midst of an important event. Even if you’re not in New Orleans for the convention, you should tune in to watch the livestream. You can also follow along on Twitter via the hashtag #Urbanleague
Friday, June 29
The big news yesterday was the Supreme Court’s ruling on “Obamacare.” And as Brendan Sasso of The Hill reports, anticipation for the ruling drove a lot of people online:
Traffic to the Supreme Court’s website has more than tripled in the last week as people anxiously await a historic ruling on President Obama’s healthcare law.
The number of visitors to the court’s website, supremecourt.gov, has jumped 270 percent in just seven days, according to Web information company Alexa.
Another site that received a ton of traffic was SCOTUSblog, which, Sasso notes, was forced to spend $25,000 just to keep up with the traffic yesterday.
Wednesday, May 23
This morning, Irving Information Group President & CEO Larry Irving (who was also a founder and former Co-Chair of IIA) delivered the keynote for the New America Foundation‘s event in Washington, DC, “From Broadcast to Broadband: New Theories of the Public Interest in Wireless.” It was a lively discussion (and it carried over to Twitter as well; just do a search for the hashtag #bcast2bb).
Irving kicked things off by telling attendees that this year alone people will be buying 100 million tablets, and that 88 percent of people now have a mobile device. He then touched on what that means for society, especially for voices that have in the past struggled to be heard:
We have never had more diverse voices across all segments of media. The net removes the barriers to entry, for the most part. There is 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 20 to 30 of the top 50 stations on YouTube are minority generated or focused. And the audience is disproportionately young people.
But after laying out the positives of our new media landscape, Irving pivoted to the biggest challenge to the continued growth of mobile broadband:
One huge impediment is looming spectrum scarcity. Everything we’ve talked about has always been about scarcity. The laws of physics of building out infrastructure mean we are going to hit a crunch. There was a 230 percent increase in mobile data use last year. Smartphones use nine times more bandwidth than feature phones. And tablets use three times that of smartphones.
While Irving was encouraged by current efforts to free up more spectrum for wireless, he was discouraged by how slow the process has been (“A ten year span to get 500 MHz? We need to speed that up!”), and argued the problem of the spectrum crunch should receive attention from a higher national authority:
It’s going to require the White House — not through weak comment, but through actual action.
The New America Foundation’s event was streamed, so hopefully the archive will be up soon. In the meantime, you can learn more here.
Monday, April 30
This Wednesday, May 2, IIA will be hosting an Internet Academy on Capitol Hill called “20 Years Later: Are We Winning or Losing the Spectrum War?” Featured speakers will be Bret Swanson of Entropy Economics, Morgan Reed of the Association for Competitive Technology, and our own Co-Chairs Bruce Mehlman and Jamal Simmons.
The event is from 12:30-1:30 PM EST. We’ll have a full report on what is sure to be a lively discussion afterwards, but you can follow along in real time on Twitter via the hashtag @IIAAcademy.
Wednesday, March 14
Beginning a few years ago, every game of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament — also known as March Madness — has been streamed online. Last year alone, 13.7 million hours of streaming games were watched. And with more and more people embracing online video each day, this year’s total number of hours is expected to be even bigger.
The question we had was, How much bigger? So we decided to crunch some numbers and come up with a prediction for total hours of streaming during this year’s tournament. The total we came up with: a whopping 17,786,648 hours, or the equivalent of nearly nine million movies. Will we be right on the money? Probably not. But it will be fun to find out.
You can follow our progress throughout the tournament, and view our methodology, here. Enjoy March Madness!
Wednesday, March 07
This evening at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the National Urban League will hold a town hall to discuss its 2012 State of Black America Report. The event starts at 7 pm EST, and will be live streamed at www.iamempowered.com. More information on the event can be found on the National Urban League’s website.
Tuesday, February 21
This Thursday, February 23, TechAmerica will be holding a Congressional Briefing on Spectrum Allocation and Rural Development at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The participants are Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator of the USDA Rural Utilities Service; Dr. Anna-Maria Kovacs, Visiting Senior Policy Scholar for the Georgetown University Center of Business and Public Policy; Phillip Junker, Executive Director-Strategic Alliances for Verizon Wireless; and Pete Ihrig, Senior Vice President of CGI.
Our own Honorary Chairman, former U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, will deliver the keynote. For more info on the event, including how to register, visit the TechAmerica website.
Monday, February 06
According to an official tweet, an average of 10,000 Twitter messages were posted during the last three minutes of yesterday’s Super Bowl.
Tuesday, December 20
The Verge’s David Pierce reports that NBC, which is broadcasting this year’s Super Bowl — also known as the biggest television event on the planet — will also be streaming the game online for free.
Wednesday, December 14
Tomorrow at 1 pm ET, our own Jamal Simmons will be participating in “Growth Without Barriers,” a live webcast put together by IIA members the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. The webcast is free and you can tune at this link.
Tuesday, November 15
Live in D.C. (or the surrounding areas)? Interested in technology and telecommunications issues? If so, you’ll want to check out tomorrow’s National Journal Policy Summit at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel. Titled “Technology 2012 and Beyond,” the summit features our own Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher and Co-Chair Bruce Mehlman, along with former IIA Co-Chair Larry Irving. Moderated by the National Journal‘s Bruce Gottlieb, the event also features Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Vice Chair Lee Terry, Ambassador David Gross, and Antoinette Bush of Skadden’s Communications Group.
Registration opens at 7:45 am, with the event itself starting at 8:15 am. It promises to be an insightful look at the effect of the 2012 election on tech and telecommunications policy (not to mention a real wonkfest). For more information and to RSVP, visit the National Journal’s website.
Wednesday, July 27
The NAACP is currently holding its 102nd Annual Convention in Los Angeles, and our own Co-Chair Jamal Simmons will be participating in the “Artists and Activism” Special Plenary Session today beginning at 4 pm Pacific. You can watch live video from the event here.