Utah educator named director of state’s broadband network for schools

Utah Education Network, the only public TV licensee to receive a federal broadband grant and to join the national US Ignite project to develop broadband apps, has appointed a Utah school superintendent, Ray Timothy, as its c.e.o. and executive director, effective Oct. 1. Timothy is superintendent of the Park City School District, former super of the rural Millard County district and a former deputy super of the state Office of Education. He succeeds Mike Petersen, who took a faculty position with Utah State University. Since Petersen left in January, the network’s interim chief has been Eric Denna,  co-chair of the UEN Board and chief information officer of the Utah System of Higher Education and the University of Utah.

US Ignite partnership will push for apps using a faster, smarter Internet

The state-operated Utah Education Network and several municipalities are among about 100 members of US Ignite, a new partnership creating services for future broadband networks running up to 100 times faster than today’s Internet. This White House announced the partnership this morning, and President Obama will sign an executive order streamlining the approval process for building broadband infrastructure on and under federal property and coordinating excavations. It will reduce costs, for instance, by permitting broadband construction during highway-building. For a vivid demo of the power that the new networks make possible, John Underkoffler of Oblong Industries, showed off a video of G-speak, a commercially available human-machine interface based on Oblong’s design for the Wii-like technology used in the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. The press conference kicked off a day-long series of sessions and other events.

Adrift, mute and helpless

Why everyone but public broadcasters is making federal policy for public media

The FCC’s recent National Broadband Plan and its Future of the Media initiative have highlighted a chronic problem in U.S public broadcasting: The system has no long-term policy planning capacity, and therefore it always has had great difficulty dealing with the periodic efforts by outsiders to critique and “reform” it. Public broadcasting ignores most media policy research, whether it originates in academia, think tanks or federal agencies, and it often seems out of touch with major national policy deliberations until too late. That disengagement is highly dangerous because it allows others to set the national legal and regulatory agenda for communications without assuring adequate policy attention to public-service, noncommercial and educational goals. Such policy initiatives also can negatively affect the funding and operating conditions of every public licensee. This article, the first of two, examines the history and recent serious consequences of that disengagement.

It’s a plan

Comic recreation of a gripping behind-the-scenes drama playing itself out at the Federal Communications Commission, animated using Xtranormal technology.

Access goals hitch ride at light speed

Fiber optics (Photo: Sandia National Lab)

Pubcasters joined more than 2,000 first-round applicants racing to pitch their broadband dreams for funding from the telecom piece of the government’s stimulus outlay.

They’re volunteering for the Obama administration’s push to extend broadband access to unserved and underserved communities. Among bids from pubcasters:

PBS seeks $8.7 million for a Broadband Communities initiative to expand its Digital Learning Library for schools, encourage public use of its video portal and establish broadband education outreach.

Florida Public Broadcasting requests $22.8 million for a statewide high-speed HELPS (Health, Education, Local, Public Safety) Network.

The National Black Programming Consortium put in for $11.5 million to build on the media skills training of its Public Media Corps.