Tag: marc bombenon
It’s hard to talk about telecommunications without talking about the FCC. The term “FCC” can be seen throughout the media, but many of us find ourselves wondering what exactly the FCC is and why it is often talked about. What do they do and what it is that makes them controversial at times?
The FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, is responsible for regulating interstate communications throughout the United States. This involves communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Their headquarters is located in Southwest Washington, D.C. The FCC was formed in 1934 as a part of the Communications Act of 1934 in order to replace the radio regulation functions of the Federal Radio Commission. It also regulated the wire communication that the Interstate Commerce Commission had previously regulated.
The FCC’s mission, after being amended in the Telecommunication Act of 1996, is to “make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.” Essentially, the FCC overlooks communication services to ensure that everything is running smoothly and everyone is being treated fairly.
Sometimes, circumstances lead people and companies to question whether the FCC is carrying out its mission properly. Many petitions have been filed against the FCC. A number of these petitions are being filed by companies who claim that the FCC is in violation of the TCPA or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Those who are unaware of Telephone Consumer Protection Act are still certainly thankful for it. According to Wikipedia, it “restricts telephonesolicitations (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephoneequipment. The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines.” It’s great that an act was put in place to stop telemarketers from calling us too many times, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced those pesky calls. But it’s unfortunate that we still get so many calls, and this is why the FCC has been sued a number of times.
Some of the most recent companies to file petitions against the FCC in violation of the TCPA include Virbac Corporation and Rita’s Water Ice Franchise Company. The FCC is an important part of our society, and that’s why it’s important to ensure that the FCC carries out its mission correctly.
The FCC recently lauded Binge On, a program released by T-Mobile that allows customers to stream unlimited video content from certain providers with no cost to their data usage (a process called zero-rating). This decision carries some big implications.
If you’ve been following the net neutrality debate, you may have heard about the FCC’s Open Internet Order, a group of rules aimed at protecting the rights of consumers while still being “pro-competition and pro-innovation,” according to FCC chief Tom Wheeler. The FCC adopted the Open Internet Order on February 26, 2015, and so the effects of it are still being gauged.
It’s an age-old question, that of government regulation in the market. The two big players being government and business, with consumers caught in-between. Opponents of the rules fear that over-regulation will stifle innovation and ultimately competition. Such is the case with John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile. Legere recently said that he doesn’t want to “let the FCC kill competition with over-zealous regulation.”
Legere speaks for a number of businesses that are afraid to generate new ideas, fearing that they may be shut-down by government. It’s easy to see where he’s coming from. Companies pour a lot of resources into innovation and by necessity are reluctant to release information. To go through all of that work just to be told “no” is a tough pill to swallow. One lobbyist and a number of politicians have touted the line “Mother May I?” in regards to how companies feel about the need for government approval before pursuing innovative projects.
In the case of the Binge On campaign, T-Mobile got what they wanted, however there are those who believe that this may be at the cost of consumer rights. The consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge faults T-Mobile saying, “Under its current model, customers might choose to use a service simply because it doesn’t count towards their data plans rather on its merits.” A valid concern.
But T-Mobile insists that they are not excluding any content providers from the service. All a provider needs to do is sign-up, and in the case of consumers, they can opt out if they want to use their data.
Part of the problem is a lack of specification in the Open Internet Order, which prohibits ISPs and mobile carriers from discriminating against different types of traffic, but does not address zero-rating. Could zero-rating be viewed as an indirect form of discrimination?
The Open Internet Order is a well-meaning policy. However, the FCC’s approval of Binge On’s campaign is both reassuring and troubling. It’s hard to tell in what direction things are going at this stage. As the Order develops, we’ll have a better idea.
In a broad sense of the word, telecommunication is defined as “communication over a distance by cable, telegraph, telephone, or broadcasting.” Most of us are familiar with Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. Besides him, other notable pioneers in the telecommunications field include Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, Lee de Forest, inventor of the radio, and Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the television.
Modern telecommunication technology has come a long way, rapidly advancing from year to year as science and technology alike becomes increasingly complex. Radio waves in particular have a huge impact on AM and FM broadcasts, cell phones, wireless networks, television broadcasts, police radios, and more. Without radio waves, it would be impossible to use satellite based communication and navigation including modern air travel which heavily depends on a number of intricate radio systems. At its core, radio is amazingly simple technology; however, it’s seemingly infinite uses has cemented it as the key to modern communication.
Radios today use continuous sine waves to transmit information like audio, video, and other forms of data. Although invisible to the naked eye, we are surrounded by thousands of sine waves being used by our mobile devices, computers, and even microwaves. As the prevalence of wearable technology increases, so will the radio waves around us.
A basic radio is set up in two parts: the transmitter and the receiver. The job of a transmitter is to take a message (for example, someone’s voice or a text input), encode that information into a sine wave, and then transmit it into radio waves. Intrinsic to its name, the receiver decodes the radio wave into useful information that we can process as an animated gif or witty email. So, for example, your cell phone contains at least one radio antenna that both transmits and receives radio signals. A 4G equipped cell phone would simply contain an advanced radio system that can transmit and receive more compact data at a quicker speed.
Radio waves are fairly easy to understand, yet they provide a world of opportunities engineers are only beginning to tap into.
These days, entrepreneurship extends past innovative ideas and sheer grit. In order to be successful, an entrepreneur needs a sophisticated set of skills ranging from basic communication and networking, to web design and fundraising. Tech tools have gained upward momentum and presence even outside of the tech-sphere. In other words, your company doesn’t have to be a tech start-up to benefit from modern software and social tools. Without working knowledge of how to use these tools, your startup may gradually fall behind in this fast-paced, dog-eat-dog industry. Below, you will find a list of 3 useful tools that you should familiarize yourself with as soon as possible!
1. Basic HTML & CSS Coding: HTML and CSS are the building block of web development. Basic understanding of this will make drafting and tweaking company websites, online portfolios, or forums lightyears easier. Even if a professional web designer and developer are contracted to complete the project, by understanding the process, your expectations will align closer to the timeline and abilities of the designer and developer. Code Academy is a great way to start learning.
2. Social Media: Social media has expanded rapidly over the past few years and currently supports most media formats available. Businesses benefit from platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Depending on your startup needs, other services may be more or equally useful. If your company is design or graphic media based, an Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr account would work very well. Through social media, authentic engagement between your company and users/buyers will absolutely improve your online presence, make your business seem more user friendly and personable, and establish you as a true industry leader. Check out this article on recommended company social media policies.
3. Online Accounting & Bookkeeping: In the very beginning, it’s important to keep excellent track of company books and finances yourself. Although you may eventually hire a dedicated accounting team, understanding the books and navigating the software will not only keep records correct from day one, but will also help keep you abreast of where company funds are allocated, what’s being spent, when, where, and why. Here is an online list of 10 Online Invoicing Services.
Of course there are a number of other skills you should learn including SEO marketing, basic graphic design, and cloud databasing. However, these 3 tools should be immediately considered on your journey to success.
Best of luck!