Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 19, 2014

Posts in "Uncategorized"

September 18, 2014

Wireless Group Asks Lawmakers for Support on Net Neutrality Stance

dw100325093 222x335 Wireless Group Asks Lawmakers for Support on Net Neutrality Stance

Baker, during a House Energy Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet hearing on the national broadband plan. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

The group representing wireless carriers is looking to Congress for help in trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to continue treating mobile broadband differently from fixed broadband in its net neutrality rules, which has meant fewer requirements for mobile.

CTIA – The Wireless Association sent a letter to all lawmakers Thursday asking for “support in urging the Federal Communications Commission… to retain mobile-specific Open Internet rules that reflect the unique engineering, competitive, and legal conditions of today’s 4G LTE mobile network.”

The FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules didn’t apply to mobile broadband to the same extent as fixed broadband. In rewriting those rules (after the bulk of them were struck down by an appeals court earlier this year) the current Notice of Proposed Rulemaking before the FCC asks whether the agency should revisit that different treatment given big changes in the mobile market that have happened over the past few years.

CTIA has contended that mobile faces different technical issues than fixed broadband and that there’s more competition in the mobile marketplace, and in Thursday’s letter to lawmakers, the group’s president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker writes:

As the FCC contemplates revising its Open Internet rules, it is vitally important for the Commission to retain the mobile-specific approach that has governed the mobile industry since 2010. Under that approach, which recognized the very significant engineering differences between wireless and wireline networks, wireless operators have been able to compete, invest and innovate.

She goes on to write that: “Contrary to the assertions of some that wireless broadband’s success justifies a heavier regulatory burden, the industry’s record of investment, innovation and expanded consumer choice strongly suggests that the FCC got it right in 2010.”

The letter also calls on lawmakers to “direct the FCC to not reclassify mobile broadband as a Title II service,” contending that current law bars the agency from such action and that doing so would spur “litigation and uncertainty.”

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 4:32 p.m.

September 11, 2014

Companies Involved in Digital Trade had $935B in 2012 Online Sales, Report Says

usitc graphic 445x197 Companies Involved in Digital Trade had $935B in 2012 Online Sales, Report Says

(Source: United States International Trade Commission)

The International Trade Commission released a digital trade report on Thursday that the Senate Finance Committee had requested and one takeaway highlights something we all know – the Internet is important to the economy. Here are a few of the findings:

  • Digital trade’s impact on increased productivity and lower international trade costs on industries particularly involved in digital trade increased the U.S. gross domestic product by 3.4 to 4.8 percent (translated to $517.1 billion to $710.7 billion) in 2011 (that’s looking at things from what they would have been without it).
  • Companies particularly involved in digital trade had $935.2 billion in online sales in 2012. That number is based on a survey the ITC conducted of nearly 10,000 U.S. companies. Online purchases by these companies totaled $471.4 billion in 2012.
  • Companies surveyed also most often identified Nigeria, Algeria and China as places where they faced barriers to digital trade. Places where firms least frequently felt imposed barriers: Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy.

Note: The report defines digital trade as domestic commerce and international trade where the Internet has a “particularly significant role in ordering, producing, or delivering products and services.”

There’s a lot to dig through in this more than 300 page report, so check back with Technocrat later for more insight and analysis.

Eshoo Wants an Updated Innovation Agenda Next Congress

armenian presser002 040814 445x292 Eshoo Wants an Updated Innovation Agenda Next Congress

Eshoo attends a news conference at the House Triangle on April 8. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If California House Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, who’s been vying to become the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee next Congress, gets that spot, one area she might pursue is updating an innovation agenda.

Eshoo spoke at an education and technology event hosted by The Atlantic on Thursday, and while she didn’t mention her bid for the senior Democratic spot on the panel, she did say she wants to see an updated innovation agenda next Congress. She wrote an innovation agenda for Democrats several years ago and next Congress she said she wants to “update the innovation agenda, to go back and review not only what we accomplished, but where we need to build.”

“I think that we really have to put the pedal to the medal in producing future teachers that are skilled… in these key areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” she continued. “And we need to bring that and integrate it into the educational experience of younger and younger students and we need to attract more girls and young women into the field.”

Eshoo, currently the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, also called for a reauthorization  of a science authorization law known as America COMPETES. The most recent reauthorization expired in 2013.

September 9, 2014

Q&A Part Two: Etsy’s Public Policy Director on Trade Laws & Regulations

Althea Erickson photo 242x240 Q&A Part Two: Etsys Public Policy Director on Trade Laws & Regulations

(Source: Etsy)

Althea Erickson (@altheaerickson) is Etsy’s public policy director and Technocrat chatted with her about Etsy’s sellers and trade laws, among other topics. For more on Technocrat’s talk with Erickson about her work on net neutrality and other policy issues, see Part One of the Q&A.

Q: And on the issue of trade I noticed that Etsy earlier this summer released a paper on policy proposals for the maker economy and one of them was on this issue of trade laws. And it mentioned that trade laws haven’t kept up with the peer-to-peer marketplaces and it calls for a number of actions like setting a universal exemption for customs that have a monetary value that’s lower than a certain amount.  So can you tell me more about that and what you mean about the trade laws not keeping up with the peer-to- peer maker economy?

A: Absolutely, so the trade laws… were designed for bigger businesses and the idea of sort of an export community. You know, when you talk about facilitating trade for small businesses, people tend to focus on helping small companies break into new markets, and develop distribution channels and all of that.

But what we find with our sellers is they’re already in a global marketplace. There are buyers all over the world that are buying their goods and so what happens is somebody purchases their good from another country and then they  face the challenge of figuring  out how to ship it to them, complying with local trade laws, figuring out what the customs and duties requirements are for each country, and that’s very challenging.

Already, most countries have… a customs exemption under which goods of a certain value are exempt. We’d just like to see that level raised to exempt most peer-to-peer transactions and also made the same across country, so our sellers don’t have to be looking up every country for whatever their rate is. So for example, in the U.S. the exemption is set at $200. In Canada and the U.K., it translates to roughly $20.

Q: And you also mentioned sellers are facing regulatory burdens. Can you unpack that a little bit? Are you talking about any specific regulations?

A: Well, it really depends on what they’re making and where they’re selling. But I think the broader point is that there are lots of different product regulations out there, or regulations around how to hire people and that those are often very difficult for our sellers to find or learn about.

And so, you know … we’ve been working for example with the small business ombudsman at the Consumer Product Safety Commission to help them think about how to conduct outreach and education in a way that helps our sellers understand what the product regulations are that apply to their [products]

For the latest news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @annekimdc.

August 6, 2014

No Consensus Among Experts on the Net Job Cost of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence

Technology experts and industry executives are almost evenly divided on whether advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will cause a net loss of jobs in the next decade, according to a report from the Pew Research Center and Elon University in North Carolina. Many of those who responded to a canvass on the future of the Internet did agree that the advances in those technologies would have a broad effect on daily life and that the nation’s educational system isn’t up to the challenge of preparing workers for the altered world.

Full story

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 11:32 a.m.
Ideas, Uncategorized

July 18, 2014

Energy Xtra, CQ Roll Call’s Latest Policy Blog

Another blog joins CQ Roll Call’s Policy Pulse roster: Energy Xtra, written by Randy Leonard, a longtime reporter on energy and environment issues. The blog will touch upon numerous topics of interest to Technocrat readers, especially where the two beats intersect on science and research issues such as algal fuels or fusion power.

Full story

July 14, 2014

New Health Policy Blog: Healthopolis

CQ Roll Call has launched Healthopolis, another Policy Pulse blog to join Five by Five, Technocrat and The Container. Written by Paul Jenks, it will be a platform for health policy news “from the capital and beyond,” including several topics of interest to Technocrat readers, such as health IT and federal science grants.

June 17, 2014

New Policy Pulse Blog: The Container

This week CQ Roll Call launched the third of its Policy Pulse blogs, The Container. Written by veteran politics and policy reporter Tom Curry, the blog will cover all facets of transportation, from car-sharing to ports to aviation, as well as the continuing efforts of Congress to remake the Highway Trust Fund.

Tom has already written about a House Transportation Committee roundtable in New York on public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, about a bottleneck for coal exports and about a transportation bill that’s really about bees. Check out The Container at

The Container joins Technocrat and Five by Five in the Policy Pulse ranks.

May 5, 2014

Welcome to Technocrat

Anne L Kim Technocrat 330x219 Welcome to TechnocratGood morning and welcome to Technocrat, a new CQ Roll Call policy blog that will cover the technology and telecom community in Washington.

A little about myself: I’m from the other Washington and graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle, where the region houses tech companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, and of course, good coffee. I’ve spent the past few years covering congressional committee markups and floor action for CQ Roll Call, focusing on legislation related to technology, transportation, science, and more recently health.

You can find one of my more recent stories — about the Capitol Hill reaction to NASA’s proposal to lasso an asteroid — via Roll Call here.

Need to contact me? I can be reached at or on Twitter at @annekimdc.

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