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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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/
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/
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/
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/
The FCC's "a la Carte" Reports
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released two reports on a la carte pricing of cable television networks that reach contradictory conclusions. The purpose of this report is to explain how these two reports reached differing conclusions and to analyze the different assumptions and calculations used in each. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9981/
The FCC's "a la Carte" Reports
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released two reports on a la carte pricing of cable television networks that reach contradictory conclusions. The purpose of this report is to explain how these two reports reached differing conclusions and to analyze the different assumptions and calculations used in each. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9957/
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/
Public Safety Communications Policy
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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/
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/
Open Access Publishing and Citatation Archives: Background and Controversy
This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention in the 109th Congress are summarized. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9400/
Public Safety Communications Policy
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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/
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/
Internet: An Overview of Key Technology Policy Issues Affecting Its Use and Growth
The continued growth of the Internet for personal, government, and business purposes may be affected by a number of technology policy issues being debated by Congress. Among them are access to and regulation of broadband (high-speed) Internet services, computer and Internet security, Internet privacy, the impact of “spam,” concerns about what children may encounter (such as pornography) when using the Internet, management of the Internet Domain Name System, and government information technology management. This report provides overviews of those issues, plus appendices providing a list of pending legislation, a list of acronyms, a discussion of legislation passed in earlier Congresses, and a list of other CRS reports that provide more detail on these and related topics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9327/
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/
Telephone Industry Residential Subscriber Line Charges and the Lifeline Option
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Telephone Industry Issues
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Radio Marti
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Public Safety, Interoperability and the Transistion to Digital Television
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Political Broadcasts - Regulate or Deregulate?
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Obscenity: A Legal Primer
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Intercarrier Compensation: One Component of Telecom Reform
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Government Access to Phone Calling Activity and Related Records: Legal Authorities
This report summarizes statutory authorities regarding access by the Government, for either foreign intelligence or law enforcement purposes, to information related to telephone calling patterns or practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9164/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
Spectrum Management: Auctions
This report discusses the radio frequency spectrum that is used for all forms of wireless communications, including cellular telephony, paging, personal communications service, radio and television broadcast, telephone radio relay, aeronautical and maritime radio navigation, and satellite command and control. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8965/
Net Neutrality: Background and Issues
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The Telecommunications Act of 1982 (H.R. 5158, 97th Congress): Provisions and Controversies
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Proposals for Revision of the Communications Act of 1934: Telecommunications Issues
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An Emergency Communications Safety Net: Integrating 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/metacrs8774/
Tsunamis: Monitoring, Detection, and Early Warning Systems
This report discusses proposals for international tsunami early warning systems and examines U.S. policy regarding tsunamis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8652/
Seafarer: Extremely Low Frequency Naval Communications System
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Verizon Communications, Inc. v. Trinko: Telecommunications Consumers Cannot Use Antitrust Laws to Remedy Access Violations of Telecommunications Act
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Spectrum Use and the Transisition to Digital TV
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Spectrum Use and the Transisition to Digital TV
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Constitutionality of Applying the FCC's Indecency Restriction to Cable Television
Various federal officials have spoken in favor of extending the Federal Communication Commission’s indecency restriction, which currently applies to broadcast television and radio, to cable and satellite television. This report examines whether such an extension would violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8234/
Wireless Privacy and Spam: Issues for Congress
Wireless communications devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are ubiquitous. Some consumers, already deluged with unwanted commercial messages, or “spam,” via computers that access the Internet by traditional wireline connections, are concerned that such unsolicited advertising is expanding to wireless communications, further eroding their privacy. Congress continues to debate how to protect wireless subscribers further, and several bills were considered in the 108th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8209/
Wireless Technology and Spectrum Demand: Third Generation (3G) and Beyond
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/metacrs8215/
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/metacrs8279/
The Al-Jazeera News Network: Opportunity or Challenge for U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East?
This paper provides an overview of Al-Jazeera and explores the debate surrounding its objectivity. This report also analyzes Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events in the Middle East, specifically, its coverage of events in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The final section of this report discusses policy options regarding U.S. public diplomacy efforts in the Middle East region. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8187/
A Glossary of Selected Telecommunications Terms
The following glossary provides short definitions and descriptions of selected telecommunications terminology, agencies, and organizations, as well as a listing of key laws and Federal Communications Commission regulations and decisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8167/
Commerical Television Broadcasting: An Economic Analysis of Its Structure and Competitive Alternatives
This report analyzes the economic structure of both the conventional commercial television broadcasting industry as well as the significant commercial competitive alternatives. Federal Communications Commission policies and their effect on the competitive structure and development of the television industry are also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8145/
Military Space Programs: Issues Concerning DOD's SBIRS and STSS Programs
This report discusses the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS, formerly SBIRS-Low), managed by the Missile Defense Agency, which performs missile tracking and target discrimination for missile defense objectives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8058/
Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration
This report provides an overview of selected topics which the 109th Congress may address in its examination of telecommunications issues. The issues included in this report cover: broadband Internet regulation and access; broadcast indecency; digital television transition; Federal Communications Commission structure and reform; intercarrier compensation; media ownership rules; municipal deployment of broadband; public safety communications, the “savings clause” and monopoly issues; spectrum auctions; and universal service fund reform. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8121/
Regulation of Broadcast Indecency: Background and Legal Analysis
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