Federal regulators say Hurricane Sandy knocked out a quarter of the cell towers in an area spreading across ten states, stretching from Virginia to Massachusetts. And the situation could get worse before it gets better, according to an Associated Press report.

Many cell towers that are still working are doing so with the help of generators and could run out of fuel before commercial power is restored, the Federal Communications Commission says.

Just how widely residents of the East Coast dependency on high speed mobile communications is illustrated in a map, developed as part of the FCC’s Eight Broadband Progress Report, released in June 2011. The map shows census block areas of the U.S. with access to mobile services of at least 3 Mbps download and 768 kbps upload (in dark green) and areas with or without services of at least 768 kbps download and 200 kbps upload (in orange.)

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The landline phone network has held up better in the affected area, the FCC says, but about a quarter of cable customers are also without service

A group of technology leaders came to the Capitol this week to make the case that the age of “big data” is not only upon us, but also represents a powerful and practical way for federal agencies to create substantially more value for the public – for relatively little incremental investment.

That comes as refreshing news compared to the relentless promises of big savings that accompanied the dawn of cloud computing, which has proven far trickier to implement. The difference is due in large measure to the fact that big data is really more of a phenomenon than a technology. Keep reading →

Citing a near tripling in the number of malicious software programs aimed at mobile devices in less than a year, a Congressional report is recommending the FCC and other federal agencies take a greater role urging private industry to develop stronger mobile security safeguards.

Cyber criminals are taking increasing advantage of inherent weaknesses in mobile devices and the applications that run on them, said Gregory Wilshusen, director of information security issues for the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

Wilshusen, who oversaw the just-released report, said that in less than a year, the number of variants of malware programs has risen from about 14,000 to 40,000, or about 185%, according to figures supplied by Juniper Networks. These threats and attacks exploit vulnerabilities in the design and configuration of mobile devices, as well as the ways consumers use them.

Attacks against mobile devices generally occur through four different channels of activities, the report found: Keep reading →

Mobile technology is not only impacting how people and organizations work, it’s also beginning to impact the U.S. economy in new and not-altogether-surprising ways.

A new report from Recon Analytics, presented by Roger Entner at an event last month hosted by the Progressive Policy Institute, highlighted some of the significant ways the U.S. wireless industry is changing the nation’s economic landscape, and in turn, is adding momentum to adoption of mobile technology in the workplace. Keep reading →

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski today called upon the nation’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to “take concrete steps” to improve Internet security for consumers and critical infrastructure, warning that a failure to do so could slow broadband adoption and threaten the nation’s economy.

With more than $8 trillion exchanged electronically every year, Genachowski warned that sophisticated hackers are gaining the expertise to “shut down the Internet…shut down our economy [and] compromise our growth engine.” Keep reading →

A Federal Communications Commission proposal that would effectively halt the launch of a new nationwide wireless network by LightSquared appears to open the door to a new and potentially disruptive debate on the need to develop receivers designed to coexist with new wireless networks.

Recent tests showed that LightSquared’s network would overpower GPS transmissions, prompting the FCC to reverse its prior approval and now block the plan. Keep reading →

In March 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)unveiled a National Broadband Plan setting the country’s telecommunications and technology priorities for the next decade, and establishing high-speed Internet as America’s leading communications network.

The FCC’s ambitious blueprint proposed “connecting all corners of the nation” with a robust and affordable broadband communications system that will transform the economy and American society, changing the way we educate children, deliver health care, manage energy, ensure public safety, engage government and compete in the global marketplace. Keep reading →

One the nation’s most authoritative sources for residential address data, the U.S. Census Bureau, may soon have to confront a costly legal constraint that prevents it from sharing basic street address information with thousands of county, state governments and other organizations.

The limitation not only means that state and local governments must spend more to validate address information, so must the Census Bureau and other federal agencies, according to a group of data specialists speaking at a conference on the use of geographic data. Keep reading →

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski (pictured) has appointed David B. Robbins to be the FCC’s new managing director, effective September 12, 2011. He will succeed Steve VanRoekel, who left the agency earlier this year for a post at USAID before being named U.S. chief information officer earlier last month.

Robbins joins the FCC from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where he served as associate administrator for the Office of Management & Administration, leading a number of the SBA’s core functions, including human capital management, facilities management, security, records management, executive secretariat, administrative services, and grants management, according to an FCC statement. He also served as director of the Loan Management and Accounting Systems Modernization Program. Keep reading →