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At CES, tech geeks will meet the feds

Tech geeks, meet the feds.

That will be a notable theme emerging from the Consumer Electronics Show that begins Thursday in Las Vegas. The Obama administration’s top technology officials, regulators and lawmakers will attend the high-tech industry’s biggest trade show of the year. Post Tech will be reporting from Vegas starting Thursday. Faster Forward's Rob Pegoraro will be starting coverage earlier with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote Wednesday night.

The participation of tech policy leaders at the event highlights the growing connections between Silicon Valley and Washington. Stimulus funds for broadband, proposals for net neutrality, more wireless spectrum, investigations of competition in the wireless and video industries kept the two regions closely engaged over the past year.

“Policy issues are front and center this year at CES,” said Jason Oxman, senior vice president of the Consumer Electronics Association. “Broadband capabilities are in more devices than ever before. It will be hard to find a TV without broadband connectivity at the show and everything wireless connects to the Internet so broadband and spectrum policy issues are very important to the (consumer electronics) industry.”

Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will speak Thursday at 1:30 p.m. on the White House’s goal to expand broadband Internet services and efforts in health IT and educational technology. Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will talk at noon on Friday about the agency’s mandate to bring to every U.S. home broadband that is affordable and more relevant to the lives of users.

In breakout sessions, the Obama administration's Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin and Anna Gomez, deputy assistant secretary at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, will talk Thursday morning about the push to expand broadband.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) will talk Friday at 1:30 p.m. about technology, media and consumer priorities for Congress.

FCC Commissioners Robert McDowell, Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn will be on a panel Saturday afternoon to discuss the agency’s policy agenda, including on net neutrality and spectrum allocation.

Companies will also showcase technologies that address policy and legislative debates such as safe driving and mobile technology use. Broadcasters will highlight mobile digital television technology that it hopes will create new revenue streams. The National Association of Broadcasters has argued against the FCC’s plans to take unused over-the-air signals for mobile broadband use, saying television broadcasters need that spectrum for new technologies.

By Cecilia Kang  |  January 5, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
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I hope every Fed in attendance gets GRILLED about why America has the absolute worst broadband service of any First World country.

It's not rocket science: we have by far the most monopolistic, anti-competitive telecom environment, and thanks to entrenched deep-pocketed "campaign contributors", it ain't changing anytime soon. But the Feds needs to be shamed about it at every opportunity.

Posted by: web_user | January 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. Our broadband is shockingly bad, comparatively speaking.

The private companies keep saying they are going to improve that, yet they never do.

Funny how they can improve their systems overseas, where overseas governments demand it of them.

Posted by: Hillman1 | January 5, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of funny how places like Japan and Korea are literally a decade ahead of us in deployment of IPv6 and "the internet of Things".

My bandwidth is great, thanks to FIOS, but I do pay through the nose for it... though actually less than many DSL subscribers pay.

But there really should be universal deployment of IPv6 HARDWARE everywhere from the set-top box to the other side of the cloud.

I'm on inet6, but my ISP doesn't offer or support it, and next to the arpanet, they're the country's largest network. I shouldn't need to tunnel with ipv6-in-ipv4 to another continent just to get back to this country's bare-bones IPv6 backbone.

Posted by: thardman | January 5, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

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