Spectrum policy

The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program held its annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Spectrum Policy (AIRS) in Nov. 2009 and published its report on the session. Blair Levin, executive director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative, or National Broadband Plan, of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), was the keynote speaker.

The conference discussion reached nine conclusions, among them:
  • Given the current network architecture, the recent estimates of significantly expanded future spectrum requirements to satisfy exponential growth in demand may be reasonable.

  • It is important to consider the extent to which spectrum reallocation from broadcasters, other private sector users and the federal government is a legitimate policy response to the growth in wireless demand, but it will not, by itself, satisfy wireless demand.

  • Market-based approaches such as flexible licenses and license auctions have the potential to free some spectrum to respond to the growth in wireless demand, but not nearly enough to provide what will be required.

  • Demand for wireless spectrum can be restrained by various kinds of usage sensitive pricing that charges heavy users for the additional demands they put on wireless systems, but political and marketplace resistance might prevent the full use of this marketplace response to the growth in wireless demand.
The report covers: Demand for wireless broadband service, Demand for wireless spectrum, Inventory, Spectrum reallocation, Receiver standards, Shared use, Secondary markets, Pricing, Network architecture, and Developments after the conference.

Rethinking Spectrum Policy: A Fiber Intensive Wireless Architecture (pdf, 66pp/380kB), March 2010



Higher ed spurring economy

The Rockefeller Institute of Government at University at Albany, SUNY, released a study on the increasingly important role of higher education in revitalizing regional and state economies. Authored by David Shaffer and David Wright, the report found that higher ed is:
  • Advancing innovation through new technologies, processes, products, ideas, and leveraging knowledge creation to yield tangible economic benefits.
  • Helping employers prosper and grow through worker training, management counseling, help for startups, and other initiatives.
  • Playing a more vigorous role in community revitalization.
  • Continuing its core mission of creating an educated population.
According to the report, the old paradigm for economic development rested on business attraction and retention incentives (infrastructure, tax breaks, etc.), with research, technology transfer, and worker training "thrown in...sometimes as a kind of afterthought." The authors propose a new, "knowledge first" paradigm in which "knowledge is the lead incentive that states offer businesses they want to attract or grow."

A New Paradigm for Economic Development
      Report (pdf, 74pp/588kB), March 2010
      News release, March 15, 2010

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Hawaii Directory of Officials, 2010

Hawaii LRBLRB Library publishes the 2010 Hawaii Directory and offers pdf downloads as a complete volume and by individual agency on the LRB website.

A companion volume to the Guide to Government in Hawaii, this annual publication provides directory information for government in Hawaii. Includes phone numbers, mail and email addresses, and web site URLs.

Hawaii Directory of State, County and Federal Officials, 2010
(March 2010, pdf, 175pp/1.5MB)

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Brookings on education

The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings released two reports this week: (1) the 2009 Brown Center Report on American education, "How Well Are American Students Learning?" and (2) a proposal to create America's Teacher Corps (ATC) through federal legislation.

The Brown Center Report:
  • Examines national test data going back to 1971 from the
    National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
  • Compares 1989 test scores of more than 1,000 schools to the same schools' scores in 2009
  • Compares test scores of conversion charter schools from 1986, when they operated as traditional public schools, to those from 2008, when they operated as charter schools
Membership in the proposed ATC would consist of K-12 public school teachers qualified through district or state evaluation systems. ATC would complement the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), a federal program with similar goals, and its proposed replacement, the Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund provided for in the FY2011 Budget for elementary and secondary education; see under Excellent Instructional Teams. The authors of the report conclude that:
the conditions of teacher employment have to be restructured to recruit and select more promising teachers, provide opportunities for potentially good teachers to realize their potential, keep the very best teachers in the profession, and motivate them to serve in locations where students have the highest needs.

The 2009 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? Jan. 2010, released March 17, 2010
      Report (pdf, 36pp/6.5MB)
      News release

America’s Teacher Corps, March 15, 2010
      Report (pdf, 16pp/440kB)
      Executive summary



Employee benefits databook

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) maintains its Databook on Employee Benefits online and updates it when new data is available.

Topics include the retirement income system; employer-sponsored benefit plans; government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; health insurance; and labor force and demographic trends.

The book is organized into four sections -- overview, retirement programs, health programs, and other employee benefits. The date next to each chapter link indicates when data and/or links were last updated.

EBRI Databook on Employee Benefits, updated March 2010

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Health costs post-65

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College published two papers on health care costs from age 65. Both papers used data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

"Nursing home care is the real wild card in assessing potential health care costs" is the keynote of the brief, "What Is the Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs from Age 65?" which calculates:
At age 65, a typical married couple free of chronic disease can expect to spend $197,000 on remaining lifetime health care costs – excluding nursing home care – while it faces a 5-percent probability that these costs will exceed $311,000. Including nursing home care, the mean cost is $260,000, with a 5-percent probability of costs exceeding $570,000.
In the working paper, "How Much Is Enough? The Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs," the same figures are carried forward for a couple age 85 who still face a 5 percent chance of remaining health care costs exceeding $477,000. It concludes: "The risk is not of destitution, but of health care costs impoverishing a couple or a surviving spouse, or of the household not having the retirement it planned for."

What is the Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs from Age 65?, March 2010
      Report (pdf, 7pp/112kB)

How Much Is Enough? The Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs, Feb. 2010
      Report (pdf, 45pp/1.8MB)

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