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Leroy Jones, Jr. is the creator of Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.

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mHealth & Title II

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Last week, the Federal Communications Commission took a both interesting and short sighted step in trying to get its hands around creating a new guidance  for this country's Internet users both now and in our future.
 
In a 3-2 vote, the FCC approved placing our modern, high-speed Internet systems under control of 1934 public utility regulations collectively known as "Title II." These rules, designed to manage the rotary telephone system, will now be used to regulate the way we Skype, chat, use social media, stream music, and everything else we do online.

Perhaps more importantly, the inherent problems of regulating the Internet as a utility will be felt on the most important medical advance in generations: development of Internet-based health systems. These emerging online products have the potential to dramatically expand our access to quality, affordable healthcare - but only if our Internet is up to the task.

Placing our high-speed wired and wireless Internet under federal utility regulations will place a huge burden on the growing mHealth technology market that is becoming more and more essential for patients all over the country.

And there is still much to accomplish in expanding high speed Internet access to rural and other underserved areas to ensure more people have quality access to mHealth apps. Do we really want the quality of our Internet service to resemble the quality of the nation's roadways?
 
The Internet is too important to have such a vital governance decision made by three unelected officials. America's ability to develop and deploy the best, fastest and most capable Internet systems have proliferated because innovators were allowed to innovate and start-ups had the freedom to bring us the Internet we love and enjoy today, without unnecessary government intrusion.
 
Federal officials seemed to have taken a short sighted view by now allowing our thriving Internet infrastructure to fall under slow moving bureaucratic management.  The Internet is too dynamic and changes too rapidly for federal micromanagement, particularly one that opens the door to $11 billion in new taxes on consumers

It's perfectly acceptable - in fact, desirable - for Congress to ensure that Internet users can access their choice of legal websites and apps without interference.

Title II has also proven in the past to bring a great amount of uncertainty to the marketplace. When there is uncertainty in the telecom sphere, many companies are will hesitate to invest and build out the infrastructure we need to bring high-speed Internet networks to all Americans.
 
The irony in all of this is that it now falls back on the Congress to take action and bring some much-needed consumer protection and legal clarity to this vital part of our economy.
 
I know many folks will not believe it but I think and want to believe that both smart and bipartisan solutions can help Congress to address this issue. Our Internet thrives because it has the freedom to create.

They have both the authority and the responsibility  to assert its authority under the Telecommunications Act to ensure all Americans, regardless of who they are where they live, have access to a 21st century Internet infrastructure.

mHealth: Top Apps

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mHealth User

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Self-mHealth

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mHealth Changes

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mHealth Direction

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mHealth & Insurance

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mHealth Heart

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mHealth Investment

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At a time when some U.S. companies are moving operations overseas, it's good to see many well-known companies still investing heavily here in the U.S.  This investment not only keeps millions of American working, it also creates opportunities for new services to improve our lives.

 

The scope of these combined investments is remarkable. According to a recent USA Today article, the 25 companies making the largest capital investments in the U.S. spent more than $150 billion on plants, property, and equipment here in 2013.  The article drew on data from a report issued this week by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI).

 

These "investment heroes," as the PPI report calls them, are primarily in the telecom, energy and technology industries.  AT&T was the clear winner, investing almost $21 billion last year.  Verizon was second, spending about $15 billion.

 

The top 10 companies accounted for almost $100 billion of investment.  The telecom field led all other industries with four companies investing nearly $47 billion inside the U.S.

 

While this "investment heroes" report has telling conclusions about corporate investment last year, what's even more striking are the long-term figures.  Since 1996, according to an industry report this week, U.S. broadband providers have invested more than $1.3 trillion in network infrastructure. Total broadband investment grew to $75 billion in 2013, up almost 10 percent from 2012.

 

The key point about this investment involves far more than company balance sheets.  It goes to the heart of America's ability to generate new services and opportunities. This is especially clear when it comes to telecom investment.

 

For years, I've written and blogged about how people benefit when mobile technology and healthcare services merge.  The growth of mHealth offers the potential of huge improvements in both health care access and quality. For seniors in particular, new mHealth equipment offers an affordable way to continue living independently while still gaining real-time medical security.

 

Although this week's report did not break down investments into "wireless" and "wired" categories, there's little doubt that the industry spent billions last year to expand better, faster mobile services.  That investment makes possible the dramatic improvements in medical care, especially in underprivileged and rural communities where mHealth is becoming increasingly valuable.

 

Of course, the benefits of expanding high-speed Internet service, especially mobile broadband, aren't confined to health care.  Improved access to education and government services are two more clear-cut examples. Better wireless broadband also offers the potential of improved energy efficiency.

 

With economic insecurity still a concern for many, it is good to see that many companies still see the importance of investing in America.  It's especially good news that such a large part of that investment is going into communication networks that will be the foundation of so many future opportunities.


LJJ (@TechnicalJones)


mHealth 6

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