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Pacific Technology Alliance and Partners Talk mHealth, Public Safety Innovations: Modern Regulations Supporting Advanced Broadband Networks Deliver Unforeseen Possibilities

What a week for the Pacific Northwest! Not only did the Seattle Seahawks soar their way to their first Super Bowl win ever (GO HAWKS!), but the tech scene hit major milestones as well. Twitter reported a record 24.9 million tweets about the game posted during the telecast, with hashtags included in an unprecedented majority of commercials aired during the game.  Outside of the sports arena, Facebook turned 10 years old, and this week marks the 18th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the first federal law to spur competition and consumer choices in the communications marketplace.  Last, but not least, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a groundbreaking decision to allow testing trials for communications providers to begin transitioning from our nation’s aging voice-focused network and to continue building advanced nationwide high-speed Internet-based networks. The FCC decision is a strong signal that our federal government understands that our nation needs to move toward all next-generation networks to give consumers the Internet-enabled apps and services they want and need.

But what does this all mean for us?  Technology innovation is moving at a blazing pace, and we’re reliant more than ever on Internet-based devices and services for all that modern connectivity delivers, from health care, to education, public safety, entertainment, and more.  But we have to remember it’s the advanced high-speed broadband networks that seamlessly carry these innovations and offer benefits for enjoyment and betterment of our lives.  Here at the Pacific Technology Alliance (PacTech), we’re focused on modern policies that create the right environment for broadband providers to meet our needs through private investment and innovation.  With the right policies in place, advanced broadband networks can continue to have a tremendous impact on our well-being across all facets of life. This month, we’re looking forward to hosting two events that shine the spotlight on the exciting broadband-enabled possibilities in the public safety and health care spaces. 

 On February 20, PacTech will host Dr. George Ford, Chief Economist at the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies, for an event, “Building and Funding a Nationwide Public Safety Communications Network.”  Dr. Ford will discuss the crucial role that communications technologies play during emergency and public safety situations.  Outdated analog systems remain in place, making it difficult for first responders, public safety departments, and law enforcement agencies across various jurisdictions to share critical information and coordinate efforts.  Next-generation broadband networks can improve public safety and ensure the safety of our first responders as they perform their critical jobs.  FirstNet, an interoperable, nationwide public safety broadband network, was proposed by the 9/11 Commission to facilitate public safety communications.   Congress mandated that revenues from the FCC’s upcoming spectrum incentive auction be used to fund FirstNet; so the creation of this network now depends on federal regulators adopting policies promoting fair, open and unrestricted auctions for providers to buy spectrum, the airwaves that fuel our networks.

On February 25, PacTech and the Technology Association of Oregon will partner with the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce of Oregon to present “Mobile Technology: Transforming Healthcare for the Hispanic Community.”  The keynote speaker, Dr. Elena Rios, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, will discuss the role that mHealth plays in the Latino community.  Advances in mobile technologies can reduce barriers for many Hispanics to accessing health care and reduce health disparities, which affect the Latino population disproportionately.  Particularly for Hispanics, who tend to be heavy users of mobile broadband, these innovations can make a real difference, improving both health and quality of life. 

If we want to realize the benefits of health care innovations, public safety improvements and more, our policymakers and industry leaders must come together to adopt smart policies that:  (1) free up additional spectrum for mobile consumer use and (2) encourage additional private sector investment in advanced high-speed broadband infrastructure.  Smart, collaborative decisions today can encourage the continued development of incredible advancements tomorrow.

Categories Articles, Blog, Broadband Revolution, Events, Featured Story, Opinions, Rural Access, Spectrum | Tags: | Posted on February 10, 2014

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