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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
An Emergency Communications Safety Net: Intergrating 911 and Other Services
The 9/11 Commission Report recommended that 911 call centers — also called Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs — be included in planning for emergency responses.1 Congress, which has since 1999 passed two bills to further the deployment of 911, is reviewing ways to expand 911 capabilities and make it more accessible and effective. Congress is also evaluating ways to improve emergency alerts2 and interoperable communications for public safety.3 Operational convergence of emergency communications seems to many to be inevitable, a question of “when,” not “if.” This report deals primarily with 911 and its recent history. It also summarizes some of the proposals that would improve 911 through new approaches and integration with other services. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8989/
Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records
This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9026/
Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records
This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9027/
Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages: Should a Radio and TV Ban be Imposed?
This issue brief discusses the ongoing debate centered around television and radio advertising of alcoholic beverages, especially as it relates to the possible negative influence on the drinking habits of minors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9049/
AT and T Divestiture: Restructuring the U.S. Domestic Telephone Industry
On January 8, 1982, the Justice Department and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company announced the settlement of the Government's seven year old antitrust suit against AT&T. Nineteen months later, in August 1983, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Greene gave final approval to the AT& T divestiture agreement. The breakup of AT&T will affect every aspect of the U.S. domestic telephone industry from the yellow pages to the manufacture of telephones. AT&T officially spun off its 22 local operating companies into seven regional phone companies on January 1, 1984. This Info Pack focuses on the Department of Justice settlement with AT&T and how the resulting divestiture will affect the U.S. domestic telephone industry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9039/
Digital Surveillance: The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA, P.L. 103- 414, 47 USC 1001-1010), enacted October 25, 1994, is intended to preserve the ability of law enforcement officials to conduct electronic surveillance effectively and efficiently despite the deployment of new digital technologies and wireless services that have altered the character of electronic surveillance. CALEA requires telecommunications carriers to modify their equipment, facilities, and services, wherever reasonably achievable, to ensure that they are able to comply with authorized electronic surveillance actions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9149/
Government Access to Phone Calling Activity and Related Records: Legal Authorities
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Intercarrier Compensation: One Component of Telecom Reform
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Obscenity: A Legal Primer
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Political Broadcasts - Regulate or Deregulate?
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Public Safety, Interoperability and the Transistion to Digital Television
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Radio Marti
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Telephone Industry Issues
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Telephone Industry Residential Subscriber Line Charges and the Lifeline Option
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The American Telephone and Telegraph Divestiture: Background, Provisions, and Restructuring
On January 1, 1984, The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) divested itself of a major portion of its organizational structure and functions. Under the post-divestiture environment the once fully-integrated Bell System is now reorganized into the "new" AT&T and seven Ladependent regional holding companies -- American Information Technologies Corp., 3ell Atlantic Corp., 3ell- South Corp., NYNEX Corp., Pacific Telesis Group., Southwestern Bell Corp., and U.S. West, Inc. The following analysis provides an overview of the pre- and post-divestiture organizational structure and details the evolution of the antitrust action which resulted in this divestiture. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9238/
Internet: An Overview of Key Technology Policy Issues Affecting Its Use and Growth
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Digital Television: An Overview
Digital television (DTV) is a new television service representing the most significant development in television technology since the advent of color television in the 1950s. DTV can provide sharper pictures, a wider screen, CD-quality sound, better color rendition, and other new services currently being developed. A successful deployment of DTV requires: the development by content providers of compelling digital programming; the delivery of digital signals to consumers by broadcast television stations, as well as cable and satellite television systems; and the widespread purchase and adoption by consumers of digital television equipment. A key issue in the Congressional debate over the digital transition has been addressing the millions of American over-the-air households whose existing analog televisions will require converter boxes in order to receive digital signals when the analog signal is turned off. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9335/
Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is one of several federally managed warning systems. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly administers EAS with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS), an organization within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA/NWS weather radio system has been upgraded to an all-hazard warning capability. This report summarizes the technology and administration of EAS and the NOAA/NWS all-hazard network, and some of the key proposals for change digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9362/
Public Safety Communications Policy
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Open Access Publishing and Citatation Archives: Background and Controversy
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Digital Television: An Overview
Digital television (DTV) is a new television service representing the most significant development in television technology since the advent of color television in the 1950s. DTV can provide sharper pictures, a wider screen, CD-quality sound, better color rendition, and other new services currently being developed. A successful deployment of DTV requires: the development by content providers of compelling digital programming; the delivery of digital signals to consumers by broadcast television stations, as well as cable and satellite television systems; and the widespread purchase and adoption by consumers of digital television equipment. A key issue in the Congressional debate over the digital transition has been addressing the millions of American over-the-air households whose existing analog televisions will require converter boxes in order to receive digital signals when the analog signal is turned off. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9765/
Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is one of several federally managed warning systems. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly administers EAS with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS), an organization within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA/NWS weather radio system has been upgraded to an all-hazard warning capability. This report summarizes the technology and administration of EAS and the NOAA/NWS all-hazard network, and some of the key proposals for change digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9789/
Public Safety Communications Policy
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9791/
Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is one of several federally managed warning systems. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly administers EAS with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS), an organization within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA/NWS weather radio system has been upgraded to an all-hazard warning capability. This report summarizes the technology and administration of EAS and the NOAA/NWS all-hazard network, and some of the key proposals for change digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9904/
The FCC's "a la Carte" Reports
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9957/
The FCC's "a la Carte" Reports
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Digital Television: An Overview
Digital television (DTV) is a new television service representing the most significant development in television technology since the advent of color television in the 1950s. DTV can provide sharper pictures, a wider screen, CD-quality sound, better color rendition, and other new services currently being developed. A successful deployment of DTV requires: the development by content providers of compelling digital programming; the delivery of digital signals to consumers by broadcast television stations, as well as cable and satellite television systems; and the widespread purchase and adoption by consumers of digital television equipment. A key issue in the Congressional debate over the digital transition has been addressing the millions of American over-the-air households whose existing analog televisions will require converter boxes in order to receive digital signals when the analog signal is turned off. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10473/
Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950s when over-the-air broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. Bills in the 109th Congress that would improve emergency alert systems, domestically and internationally, include S. 50 (Senator Inouye) and H.R. 296 (Representative Menendez); these bills were prompted by the tsunami disaster but include measures that also apply to the need for a better all-hazard warning system in the United States. The report summarizes the technology and administration of EAS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Weather Service (NWS) all-hazard network, new programs in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and some of the key proposals for change. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10412/
Public Safety Communications Policy
Since September 11, 2001, the effectiveness of America's communications capabilities in support of the information needs of first responders and other public safety workers has been a matter of concern to Congress. Most public safety advocates consider that the communications failures following the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina demonstrate that there is much still to be done to provide the United States with adequate communications capabilities in emergencies. This report explores several pieces of legislation aimed at improving the emergency management the emergency communications infrastructure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10407/
An Emergency Communications Safety Net: Integrating 911 and Other Services
The present capability and future effectiveness of America's network of emergency telecommunications services are among the issues under review by Congress and other entities. As technologies that can support 911 improve, many are seeing the possibility of integrating 911 into a wider safety net of emergency communications and alerts. One of the intents of Congress in passing the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, and of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in implementing the act, is to make 911 technology universally available throughout the United States. Legislation in the 109th Congress covering 911 or call centers all focus on assuring access to 911 call centers for users of Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) telephone service and on improving the delivery of 911 services nationwide. This report reviews key points about the implementation of 911. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10376/
Wireless Technology and Spectrum Demand: Advanced Wireless Services
Advances in wireless telecommunications technology are converging with Internet technology to foster new generations of applications and services. Presently, the United States and other countries are moving to third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation mobile telephony. The defining feature of these technologies is that transmission speeds are significantly faster than prevailing technologies. A related trend is the growth in use of Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) and WiMAX (an industry designation for a specific broadband standard). This report describes various legislation relating to this expansion and ongoing telecommunications development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10280/
The Siting of Wireless Communications Facilities: An Overview of Federal, State, and Local Law
The siting of wireless communications facilities has been a topic of controversy in communities all over the United States. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 governs federal, state, and local regulation of the siting of communications towers by placing certain limitations on local zoning authority without totally preempting state and local law. This report provides an overview of the federal, state, and local laws governing the siting of wireless communications facilities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10561/
Wireless Technology and Spectrum Demand: Advanced Wireless Services
Advances in wireless telecommunications technology are converging with Internet technology to foster new generations of applications and services. Presently, the United States and other countries are moving to third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation mobile telephony. The defining feature of these technologies is that transmission speeds are significantly faster than prevailing technologies. A related trend is the growth in use of Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) and WiMAX (an industry designation for a specific broadband standard). This report describes various legislation relating to this expansion and ongoing telecommunications development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10566/
Net Neutrality: Background and Issues
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The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950's when over-the-air broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with the Association of Public Television Stations, is implementing a program that will disseminate national alert messages over digital broadcast airwaves, using satellite and public TV broadcast towers. This program is referred to as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Legislation was passed at the end of the 109th Congress to assure funding to public television stations to install digital equipment to handle national alerts. The 111th Congress may pursue additional oversight to related programs that would continue to improve the nation's capability to provide alerts and information before, during, and after an emergency. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26220/
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
The convergence of wireless telecommunications technology and Internet protocols is fostering new generations of mobile technologies. This transformation has created new demands for advanced communications infrastructure and radio frequency spectrum capacity that can support high-speed, content-rich uses. This report considers the possibility of modifying spectrum policy: (1) to support national goals for broadband deployment by placing more emphasis on attracting new providers of wireless broadband services; and (2) to accommodate the wireless broadband needs of industries that are considered by many to be the economic drivers of the future, not only communications, but also areas such as energy, health care, transportation, and education. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26172/
Emergency Communications: The Future of 911
Today's 911 system is built on an infrastructure of analog technology that does not support many of the features that most Americans expect are part of an emergency response. Recognizing the importance of providing effective 911 service, Congress has passed three major bills supporting improvements in the handling of 911 emergency calls. This report includes a detailed overview of the 911 system, as well as related legislation and policies currently in consideration by Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26292/
Radio and Television Broadcasting to Cuba: Background and Current Issues
This report provides a legislative history and funding levels for Cuba Broadcasting. It discusses specific concerns some lawmakers have had with Radio and TV Marti over the years, and presents the Panel's recommendations and the USIA Director's response and determinations, as required by the FYI994 appropriations act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26051/
Emergency Communications: The Future of 911
Today's 911 system is built on an infrastructure of analog technology that does not support many of the features that most Americans expect are part of an emergency response. Efforts to splice newer, digital technologies onto this aging infrastructure have created points of failure where a call can be dropped or misdirected, sometimes with tragic consequences. This report discusses efforts to modernize and update 911 emergency response technology, the funding for such efforts, and related pieces of legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26293/
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
This report discusses legislation (S. 707 and H.R. 1722) designed to foster the development of telework in executive agencies of the federal government. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29711/
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33009/
Trade in Services: The Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and U.S. Goals
The United States and the other 153 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been engaged in a set or "round" of negotiations called the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) since December 2001. The DDA's main objective is to refine and expand the rules by which WTO members conduct foreign trade with one another. This report is designed to assist the 112th Congress to understand and monitor progress of the negotiations and the major issues that the negotiators are addressing. The report provides a brief background section on the significance of services to the U.S. economy. It then explains briefly the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the structure and agenda of the services negotiations in the DDA round, including U.S. objectives in the negotiations. The report concludes with a status report on the negotiations and an examination of potential results. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33048/
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40076/
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations
The 112th Congress is under renewed pressure to come to a decision about the assignment of a block of radio frequency spectrum licenses referred to as the D Block, and to provide a plan for federal support of broadband networks for emergency communications. The cost of constructing new networks (wireless and wireline) is estimated by experts to be in the tens of billions of dollars over the long term, with similarly large sums needed for maintenance and operation. Identifying money for federal support in the current climate of budget constraints provides a challenge to policy makers. The greater challenge, however, may be to assure that funds are spent effectively toward the national goals that Congress sets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40278/
Fairness Doctorine: History and Constitutional Issues
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) that required broadcast licensees to cover issues of public importance and to do so in a fair manner. In 1987, after a period of study, the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine. The debate in Congress regarding whether to reinstate the doctrine continues today. This report covers the history of such debates. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83897/
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations
This report identifies areas where changes in existing policies and practices may facilitate achievement of the important goals for emergency communications that Congress and others have identified. Why these goals have become important, and recent planning efforts to achieve these goals, is discussed first. Next, possible barriers to achieving these goals are identified and described. The conclusion revisits key options presently under consideration by Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83967/
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
This report discusses key spectrum policy provisions in the bills, as well as other spectrum policy issues that are being considered in the 112th Congress, such as the role of wholesale networks like that being deployed by LightSquared. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83927/
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Policies, Programs, and Funding
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, is the executive branch's principal advisory office on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. Its mandate is to provide greater access for all Americans to telecommunications services, support U.S. attempts to open foreign markets, advise on international telecommunications negotiations, and fund research for new technologies and their applications. NTIA also manages the distribution of funds for several key grant programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83990/
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities
The federal government has long played a key role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. The government's support of IT R&D began because it had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84061/
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress. The policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency's operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84043/