How phone companies redline cell phone customers into digital ghettos

This op-ed was originally published in The Hill Why can't most inexpensive cell phones receive life-saving emergency weather alerts? Why, unlike people in the rest of the world, can't Americans listen to emergency information broadcasts on their cell phones? These are not accidents or unanticipated consequences. These are the results of deliberate decisions that have been made on the design, regulation and operation of the U.S. cell phone system. Nearly a decade ago, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who now chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee, anticipated the need to expand access to emergency information. "With nearly 200 million Americans…

Lifeline phones should be enhanced to ensure public safety, CCLP urges FCC

Why can't many inexpensive cell phones receive life-saving emergency weather alerts? Why, unlike people in much of the world, can't Americans listen to emergency information broadcasts on their cell phones? These are not accidents or unanticipated consequences. These are the results of policies and decisions by government agencies and the U.S. cell phone industry that should be addressed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Based on a series of meetings with high level participants from government, industry and academia, CCLP filed a comment with the Federal Communications Commission on May 29, 2015, recommending that the FCC ensure that cell phone…

Policymakers and industry leaders take steps to improve cell phone capabilities during emergencies

Mobile phones today offer enormous potential in regards to public safety and emergency preparedness, but current infrastructure and systems present substantial challenges as well. The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy have launched an initiative to research these issues, explore solutions and define minimum capabilities of cell phones for health care, public safety and other public services. On Sunday and Monday, 20 high-level government officials, top mobile technology industry professionals, public advocates and entrepreneurs attended an event hosted by CCLP in Washington, DC. The event, entitled "Mobile Phones for Public…

The New Innovation Battlegrounds Are City Hall And The State House

Colorado is currently considering proposals to outlaw Uber and other services that enable passengers to book a car service from their smartphones. Uber and its competitors face similar challenges from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Washington, DC. In May, the North Carolina State Senate voted unanimously to prohibit Tesla Motors, the innovative electric car company, from selling cars directly to consumers, including via the Internet. The Texas legislature recently retained similar prohibitions until at least 2015….

FCC’s Zachary Katz named CCLP Senior Fellow

Zachary Katz, Chief of Staff of the Federal Communications Commission, has been appointed a Senior Fellow of the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The appointment begins in July 2013 following his planned departure from the FCC after Chairman Julius Genachowski leaves the agency later this month. As a senior fellow, Katz will help develop, lead and advise on programs and research projects related to broadband, mobile and media initiatives. He joins a distinguished group of CCLP senior fellows that include journalists and media executives such as…

CCLP Washington, DC policy forum: Media Ownership and the Public Interest

The University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and the New America Foundation's Media Policy Initiative present a discussion with industry leaders and top policymakers on media ownership and the public interest. The event will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 2:00-4:30 p.m ET at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Webcast:…

Public TV can now carry political ads, after lawsuit by SF public TV station

This morning's media headline – US Court of Appeals rules public television and radio stations can run political ads. It even made the front-page news summary of the Wall Street Journal, linking to a full article on page A5. You can read the court's ruling here. Yes, the "PBS NewsHour" can now be sponsored by the Obama campaign, and "Washington Week" can run advertisements for the Tea Party. How did that happen?…

CCLP and the Annenberg School file FCC comment advocating for multi-disciplinary research on localism and diversity

On March 5th, 2012, the CCLP and the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism filed comments in response to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding the 2010 Quadrennial Regulatory Review, Review of the Commission's Broadcast Ownership Rules (FCC MB Docket No. 09-182) and Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcast Services (FCC MB Docket No. 07-294). The CCLP and the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism submitted the comments on behalf of the Communication Policy Research Network (CPRN), a national consortium of non-partisan and multidisciplinary social scientists, legal scholars, journalists, and communication experts. This group has spent…

NJ Public Television Signs Off; Other PBS, NPR Stations Threatened by Cuts

WASHINGTON — While the nation celebrated the holiday weekend of independence, New Jersey's public television network signed off for the last time and many other PBS stations around the US may soon follow suit. The reason: cuts in funding from state governments across the country. As I had written about on the blog last December, NJN has finally come to the end of its broadcasting days. The final New Jersey newscast on NJN was Thursday night. At its end, viewers saw a simple sign, "New Jersey Network. April 5, 1971 – June 30, 2011." As of that night, 130 employees…

Copps offers rebuttal to FCC report on the future of news

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission member Michael J. Copps is calling for reinvigorated federal regulation of broadcasting to encourage more, and more serious journalism. Expanding on his June 9 remarks following the release of the FCC's staff report on the information needs of communities, Copps criticized the report's optimism about the Internet. "What we have gained on the Internet," said Copps (pictured left), "does not match what we have lost" due to cutbacks in newspaper and broadcast newsrooms. And he urged new FCC regulatory initiatives to help create new and strengthened forums for journalism and debate….