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FCW : December 2012
December 2012 FCW.COM 31 government needs it, the business would permit the government to retrieve the data. The person or business could revoke access to their data at any time. This kind of technology also gives government and other institutions greater exibility to integrate and edit existing forms and to ful ll new requirements for data. To provide better public services, the administration should create myproblem- solved.gov, a personalized government service that enables data to ow easily from government servers into innovative applica- tions. An individual with a problem should be able to state the nature of the problem once and, through a search algorithm, nd the skills within the government to address the problem. Where possible, Americans should be able to interact with their govern- ment 24/7 and from their location of choice. Accelerate bandwidth growth Network bandwidth and network-delivered services are complementary products --- neither has much value without the other, and which must come rst is an unsolv- able chicken-and-egg problem. Government always does well, however, to take at least three steps. First, it should encourage com- petition in network markets so that individ- ual rms can seek advantage by being early to deploy new bandwidth. Second, it should create and deliver government services on the knowledge platform so as to create the assurance of volume that encourages investors to upgrade network bandwidth. Third, it should facilitate aggregate buying of bandwidth. The federal government should offer to buy access to next-generation network services for federal buildings in any com- munity that is seeking an upgrade to world- class connectivity. In an open procurement process, the federal government could invite all public institutions to join in a buying cooperative for next-generation network access. This would be analogous to the sensible "dig once" policy that requires a coordinated construction effort to acceler- ate broadband deployment on federal lands, which the president adopted by executive order. The principle should be "buy once and buy together" for schools, libraries, hospi- tals and governments at all levels. Federal agencies also should make higher connectivity a criterion in evaluat- ing communities' applications for certain scienti c grants, for e-rate funding or for economic development grants. (World-class networks in any event would improve the effectiveness of each grant.) As soon as a critical mass of communities has obtained an upgrade, other communities will have a greater motivation to do so. To lower the cost of providing bandwidth, the administration should sell more of a critical asset that it owns --- the spectrum, or the right to use the airwaves for mobile communication. Not only would moving more spectrum from government use to pri- vate use produce revenue, but it would also lower costs for private providers. The federal government should address the spectrum it uses the same way it han- dles another key asset: real estate. Instead of each agency handling its own real estate, the General Services Administration controls the overall portfolio. Similarly, the federal government should put all govern- ment-used spectrum under the control of a single administrator. That agency, particularly if it is part of the Of ce of Management and Budget, will ensure that the spectrum is used ef ciently and would be able to balance the need of government agencies for spectrum with the possibility of raising revenue by leasing spectrum to private parties. The goal is to keep bandwidth provision on a Moore's Law curve of declining cost, thereby assuring that consumers will be getting the knowl- edge platform's services faster, better and cheaper. ■ Reed Hundt is CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital and former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Blair Levin was Hundt's chief of staff at FCC; he is now a fellow at the Aspen Institute and executive director of Gig.U, a coalition of research university commu- nities working to accelerate the deployment of next-generation networks in the United States. For more information about "The Politics of Abundance," visit politicsofabundance.com. Paper records are the enemy of improving performance. Paper leads to huge costs in translating to digital forms, mistakes in translating, dif culties in analyzing and delays in responding to the data.
November 30, 2012