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March 16, 2010: National Broadband Plan Released

Today, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski will unveil the National Broadband Plan to Congress. The long-anticipated plan sets up a framework for establishing and ensuring broadband accessibility across the nation. See the FCC's press release here.

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March 2, 2010: Deadline Extension for Infrastructure Projects Under BTOP/BIP

The following statement, which was posted today, is found at the Broadband USA web site:

"NTIA and RUS will grant a limited extension of time to file infrastructure applications in the second funding round. Specifically, applicants for BTOP Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects will have until March 26th to file their applications to NTIA. Applicants for BIP infrastructure projects will have until March 29th to file their applications to RUS. Applications in NTIA's two other project categories - Public Computer Centers and Sustainable Broadband Adoption - remain due on March 15th."

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February 23, 2010: IPEC Seeking Public Input on IP Enforcement Strategy

The Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) is seeking written submissions from the public pertaining to the Federal Government's intellectual property (IP) strategy. The government is currently developing an overall plan for enforcing IP rights and battling against infringement. While IPEC seeks feedback on a variety of issues, there is one area that should be of particular interest to the EDUCAUSE community. The government is asking that people address "the effectiveness of recent efforts by educational institutions to reduce or eliminate illegal downloading over their networks." They ask that submissions include recent specific examples.

For more information, please see the Federal Register announcement here. Comments are due on or before March 24, 2010.

Help for Those Entering the Second Round for BTOP Grants

Last night, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a list of frequently asked questions and answers concerning the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). On February 16, the NTIA and Rural Utilities Service began taking applications for their respective broadband grant programs. In response to some issues that arose during the first round, the agencies altered the application process and rules for the second. The FAQ document from NTIA is designed to help applicants navigate through this next round.

Applications are due no later than March 15, 2010.

 

 

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Cybersecurity Bill Passes House Today

Washington, DC- The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4061, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act by a vote of 422-5. The bill, which is now awaiting consideration in the Senate, would require the Obama Administration to conduct agency assessments of cybersecurity workforce skills.

The legislation would also establish a scholarship program aimed at college students, who agree to work as cybersecurity specialists for the government. H.R. 4061 also directs the White House to create a university-industry task force, which would help guide future research in this area.

"Investing in cybersecurity is the Manhattan Project of our generation," said Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY). Arcuri said the need for "cyber warriors" was as important as the need for the traditional armed services. Supporters say education and recruitment, both stressed in this bill, are paramount for U.S. security.

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Obama on YouTube: "I'm a big believer in net neutrality."

In a follow-up interview to his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama took questions from viewers in an interview on YouTube. One citizen asked the President for his views on network neutrality.

"I'm a big believer in net neutrality," said President Obama. "I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it."

The President said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski shares his view on an open Internet, since they believe that people with limited resources should not face financial hurdles when they attempt to create the next Google or YouTube. Obama acknowledged that he was receiving pushback from groups with a financial stake in the matter. However, he said openness was essential for economic growth and the furthering of ideas.

 

 

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January 27, 2010: U.S. Research and Education Networking Organizations Submit Comments on NBP

On January 27, a group of U.S. research and education networking organizations submitted comments pertaining to the National Broadband Plan to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The comments recommend an expansion of existing research and education network infrastructure to connect all U.S. anchor institutions, including libraries, colleges and universities, and public safety entities. The group argues that the National Broadband Plan should build on the "extensive investment" that the community has already made, and offers details on how the FCC might target these priorities.

The National Broadband Plan is due for release in March.

January 22, 2010: NTIA and RUS Release NOFA for Round Two of Broadband Funding

On January 22, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) released Notices of Funding Availability (NOFA) for their broadband programs. Both agencies will be taking applications from February 16 through March 15. In this second round of funding, the agencies have made some changes to the application process and requirements in order to increase eligibility for applicants.

Here are links to the official NOFAs from the Federal Register:

Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (administered by NTIA)

Broadband Initiatives Program (administered by RUS)

For more information on broadband policy, please visit the EDUCAUSE Resource Center page.

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Supporting Net Neutrality: EDUCAUSE Submits Comments to FCC

Along with four other organizations, EDUCAUSE submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of net neutrality principles. Comments were due January 14. Last September, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski had proposed transforming the Commission's open Internet rules into official regulations. The FCC sought comments from the public in order to better inform their decisions.

In the submitted comments, EDUCAUSE and the others state: "Not only is the open Internet important to higher education ... but the principle of openness is one that higher education and research libraries have long championed as fundamental to a free and educated society."

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January 13, 2010: HHS Publishes Interim Final Rule Regarding Electronic Health Records

On January 13, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published an interim final rule relating to electronic health records. The rule, which was published in the Federal Register, will be effective February 12, 2010. In the meantime, HHS is accepting public comments through March 15.

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