Ensuring Broadband for All

Ensuring broadband access for all citizens has been a key government focus, particularly since the pandemic accelerated the move to digital-first services. No longer a nice-to-have service, high-speed internet access is critical for education, healthcare, and access to government services. Ensuring this access means building out the infrastructure from urban centers to the most rural spots of the country and making access to broadband service affordable.

Broadband as a Utility

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working to restore net neutrality policies that were canceled in 2017. These policies prohibit internet service providers (ISP) from throttling speeds to accelerate or degrade the delivery of online content. This practice can impact how underserved communities receive broadband access, allowing, for example, ISPs to prioritize certain traffic in exchange for user or content provider payments. With net neutrality, internet access is treated as a utility, similar to water or electricity, with equal access. Continue reading

Department Spotlight: Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce's mission is to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity for all communities. With 13 bureaus, it serves as the voice of business in the Federal Government and spurs the growth of quality jobs in communities across the country.

Commerce plays a huge role in innovation and advanced computing. Commerce is the department that oversees the efforts of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to provide guidelines around secure and equitable technology use. Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) leading climate science research and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) work to protect American IP are also housed under Commerce. Continue reading

Meeting the Information Needs of Climate Change Weather Events

Climate change is having an impact on the number of flooding events across the world. From stronger hurricanes to rising ocean levels to more intense rain and snow events, flooding is growing in its impact on public safety. This winter's "atmospheric rivers" dumped unprecedented snow and rain on the west coast. As we move into spring and summer, those record-breaking snowpacks will melt causing huge amounts of water to run into already full lakes and rivers. Agencies at the local, state, and federal level are working to adapt decades old processes to meet the modern flood threat.

Forecasting without data

Forecasting models depend on historical data, but when you have unprecedented precipitation levels, historical data has limited impact on preparation and response plans. This lack of data is a problem even in routine weather events. There is more data for urban than rural areas thanks to the placement of radar towers, other sensors and IoT technology. This leaves blank spots in forecasting incoming weather and storm impacts for rural communities. Continue reading

Beyond Facial Recognition: Growing Applications of Biometrics in Government

Biometrics are more than facial recognition. Biometrics include all types of biological markers that can be used for identification. Fingerprints pre-date the use of facial recognition and today the practice continues to evolve to use other biological data for a wide variety of use cases.

Tapping into wearable data for first responder safety

The Department of Homeland Security recently funded several startups that have developed innovative monitoring technologies that can be used to protect the health, safety and mental well being of police officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders. These solutions include: Continue reading