Thursday, April 24, 2008

Competitive Broadband

The Puget Sound Business Journal published a guest editorial by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rep. John McCoy and Rep. Zack Hudgins on SB 6438, which will establish a statewide broadband deployment and adoption effort to connect every Washington community. Like the editorial writers, our column ignores wifi.

Studies are supportive of the economic development and educational benefits of broadband, and can be compared to the rural electrification efforts of decades ago. Comparisons are sometimes made of competitive broadband between the urban "haves" and the rural "have nots." As worthy a subject as that is and as laudable the efforts of our state legislators, that's not the focus of this item.

For even among urban, metro areas, the debate of which community has "true" broadband and "what is broadband speed" has been debated and is the subject of Congressional efforts reported earlier in this blog.

What is the focus of this blog is the truly unique competitive position the greater Tacoma metro enjoys with competitive broadband. Not in the sense of being competitive with other cities nor even with other downtowns. Many communities will brag of having competitive broadband for their communities when what they really have is a single service provider in a sharply defined downtown district.

Tacoma has city-wide, even utility service district-wide, competitive (with three separate providers) throughout the entire defined city and extending into the larger metro area. As good as any of the providers are - laying aside the preferences and experiences that individual users might have - Tacoma is a community that can brag about Click! Network, Comcast and Qwest, when others are pleased to brag about having only one of these providers, further limited to a small area.

Most Wired City? Are there any others to compare?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mind-Crafted in Washington State

New from the AeA, the Cyberstates 2008: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Tech Industry report treats Washington well.
  • For the 3rd consecutive year, Washington's high-tech industry added jobs, up to 6,300 each for a new total of 162,800 in 2006 (most recent states' nationally comparative data);
  • Plus, venture capital investments in the state were up 27% - over $1.3 billion in 2007;
  • The report ranks Washington 1st in the Country for software publishers.
This 11th edition of Cyberstates provides a comprehensive review of the high-tech industry nationally and state-by-state for high-tech employment, wages, payroll and establishments. It also offers data on venture capital investments and R&D expenditures. Its available for AeA members for $125 or non-members for $250, as linked above.

Two forthcoming reports from Aea are An Overview of the Nation's Top 60 Cities and A State-by-State Overview of High-Tech International Trade.

Cyberwarfare Key Part of Tacoma Forum

On June 3, the Pacific Northwest National Security Forum will again provide the opportunity for citizens, students, veterans and troops to learn about the future of American national security. This year’s program will focus on Africa Command and cyber warfare!

The one-day forum at the Tacoma Convention Center is open to the public. Events will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end around 8 p.m. Cost is $50, if paid in advance, and includes admission to an expo reception co-hosted by SpecOps West, a trade show going on at the convention center June 3-5. Forum registration information is available.

The forum program includes an evening keynote presentation by the Air Force Cyber Command Vice Commander on the current state of this nation’s involvement in the 21st century’s contribution to military science – cyber warfare.

“Cyber warfare is the inevitable result of the world’s advance (some might say descent) into the Toffler’s Third Wave or information age, as others depict our current environment,” explained LTC Doug Adams, USA, Ret., at 571-332-7248.

“With the rise of mass communications, personal computing, and ever-increasing velocity of information around the globe have come concomitant attempts to attack both the process and the progress of globalization. Until recently, these attempts – some successful, some not – have mostly been conducted by individuals or small virtual cells of like-minded hackers. These were annoying, but not necessarily threatening.

“For the United States, however, this mindset changed after September 11, 2001, when investigation of the attacks’ planning stages revealed the extensive use of the Internet by the perpetrators and their supporters. It has become clear with every attack and every attempt since that clear September morning that the Internet is not just a target for attack, but also a weapon to be used by those who would conduct old-fashioned kinetic attacks.

“Still, the level of conflict was being conducted by groups and what have become known as ‘super-empowered individuals’ (SEIs). Dangerously, that may be changing. For example, attempts in 2007 to attack the U.S. Department of Defense cyber infrastructure are believed to have been orchestrated by China.”

Such developments have led to the creation by the U.S. Air Force of the first Cyber Command. (The other services also have plans for similar commands.) The Forum is fortunate to have Cyber Command Vice Commander, Brig. Gen. (s) Tony Buntyn, address these concerns and what the United States intends to do in the future to counter them.

“Although we might wish it were otherwise, the cyber battlefield exists and United States national security officials must conduct successful operations on that battlefield to ensure the continuation of free and open political, economic, and personal discourse,” Adams said.

In addition, The 2008 schedule will include invited speakers from the United States Africa Command, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the BiPartisan Policy Center. They will discuss the creation and development of the tenth unified combatant command, USAFRICOM, and its potential impact on U.S. relations with the countries of Africa.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Congressman Adam Smith Requests Funding for Technology-Related Projects

Recently, Congressman Adam Smith requested fiscal year 2009 funding for technology-related projects of measurable value to local citizens and technology industry leaders of his Congressional District. Adam was pleased to request funding for the following projects:

Portable Device for Latent Fingerprint Identification. Funding to support Sagem Morpho’s development of a portable latent ID tool to enable rapid identification of criminals and terrorists ($1.8 million)

Madigan Army Hospital Digital Pen Project. Funding for Adapx, Inc. to bridge the digital and analog gap and test the integration of digital pen technology into patient care, battlefield, casualty care and optomology diagnosis ($250,000)

Mobile Object Infrastructure Technology. Funding for Topia Technology to continue research and development of solutions to network computing challenges, including bandwidth and information-sharing constraints for the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command. ($3 million)

Optical Neural Techniques for Combat/Post-Trauma Health Care. Defense funding of research and development by Aculight Corporation on infrared laser treatments to mitigate hearing loss, and address balance issues and chronic pain sufferance after surviving an explosion ($4.7 million)

Department of Defense-VA Medical Information Sharing Project. Funding to continue a successful Health-IT pilot to enhance user interfaces, increase data sharing, and improve standardization of documents ($1.5 million)

Digital Information Gathering System (DIGS). Funding for the King County Sheriff’s Office to create a technology-based means to facilitate inter-operable information sharing between law enforcement agencies ($1.5 million)

Rainier Communications Commission. Funding for improving interoperable communications for public safety and emergency management for local law enforcement in Pierce County ($250,000)

Valley Cities Public Safety Regional Wireless Broadband Network. Funding to support a technology upgrade where 911 communications for the public safety community will be switched from a radio to an IP-based system ($3.5 million)

Office of Defense Trade Controls. Funding to help handle the wave of backlogs due to several years of average annual 8 percent growth in application volume without sufficient departmental resources ($18.1 million)

Fuel Cell Hybrid Generation System with Shockwave Compression. Continued funding of a successful test effort between Ramgen and the Army on its computer-based models and demonstrated mechanical and aerodynamic capability of the compression technology for the new hybrid system ($2 million)

Power Grid Reliability. Funding will be used to research solutions to power grid instability, insecurity and lack of capacity ($2 million)

Seattle Science Foundation’s Blood-Brain Barrier Research. Funding to enhance the research facility and teleconference center for the more effective and efficient exchange of scientific findings and data with other researchers around the world ($500,000)

Closed-loop pH Monitoring System for Platelets. Authorizing language for the Department of Defense to fund research by Blood Cell Storage, Inc. on technology and methods of improving the shelf-life viability of blood platelet storage.

Smith Continues Support for Education Programs

Responding to concerns about educating the workforce voiced by technology leaders, Adam also made a request for funding for the following programs:

$1.7 billion for Career, Technical and Adult Education: The Administration’s fiscal year 2009 budget proposes cutting all programs under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which includes the Perkins Basic State Grants and TechPrep. They were funded at $1.27 billion in fiscal year 2008 and $1.7 billion would address rising costs and demand.

$250,000 for Laboratories for Aviation High School Project, Highline School District: Funding would purchase equipment to support the Aviation High School’s innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

$300,000 for Tacoma Community College Healthcare Clinical Simulation Lab Project. Funding to purchase and install high fidelity human patient simulators to equip the Tacoma Community College’s (TCC) current clinical simulation lab. This will begin TCC’s project to establish a functional interdisciplinary clinical simulation lab in the new 69,648 sq. ft. Health Careers Center for which construction is slated to begin July 2011.

$500,000 for University of Washington Biofuels Research & Development Infrastructure. Federal funding to support equipment and infrastructure upgrades at the Center for Biouels to expand their research capabilities and allow for development advances in biomass conversion.

Submitting projects for consideration by the leadership of the House Committee on Appropriations is the first step in a long process of securing federal funding – it does not indicate their approval by the House of Representatives.

“These projects will have a beneficial impact on the Ninth Congressional District. They provide quality services, create economic development and help address needs with government and private partnerships. I look forward to helping advance them through the budgetary process,” Adam said.

Smith Supports Other Vital Federal Initiatives

Adam relayed his support for continued funding of other valuable programs in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee and the Energy and Water Subcommittee, including:

The National Science Foundation at $7.326 billion
The National Institute of Standards and Technology Construction Program at $99 million
Scientific and Technical Research at $535 million
The Technology and Innovation Program at $131.5 million
Industrial Technologies Program Account at $64.4 million
Federal Energy Management Program Account at $22 million
Distributed Energy Program at $60 million
Energy Information Administration at $120.6 million
Zero Net Energy Commercial Buildings Initiative at $20 million

If you’d like to share your opinion or ask a question about technology issues, please contact Linda Danforth, District Director, at 253.896.3782 or