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Virginia Tech
Policy / Legislation
State and federal regulators, legislators, and policy makers are beginning to comprehend the price their constituents are paying for the communications industry's rational reluctance to deploy technologies that do not sustain current ways of doing business and profit margins. Promises by these traditional players to meet new economy requirements for communications services and protectionist pleadings are received with increasing skepticism, and with more critical assessment. Policy is rapidly tilting towards accepting and encouraging innovators, new service providers and increased competition.

2007 VA Legislation tracking

  • telecommunications
  • emergency communications
  • disaster recovery
  • identity theft and other network security issues
  • municipal networks

Federal Policy Issues to be Monitored

Net Neutrality

  • see upcoming Virginia Issues and Answers article *Coming Soon*


  • In June a 3-judge appeals court panel split on whether CALEA applies to the communications networks operated by colleges and universities.  EDUCAUSE is working to help campuses interpret the order.  In addition to serious privacy and network security concerns, CALEA compliance is expected to be very costly for those to whom the provisions are considered applicable.

Unit Records

  • The Education Department has proposed creating a national database of students records, using social security numbers as the identifier.  The proposed system would track more information about students than anything currently available and could be used to track the progress of the increasing number of students who receive their education at multiple institutions.  However, there are some concerns. Most likely the proposed plan will not be enacted but it is likely that some version of this concept will.  The concerns include:
    • Privacy – lack of trust that the federal Dept. of Educ. will keep records safe
    • Accuracy – overwhelming management task to inputting and maintaining so much data made up of small bits like grades, withdrawals, transfers, etc.
    • Unwieldy in structure and size and lack of expertise interested in working on this as there is little or no applicability to research objectives

Data Retention

  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have expressed interest in mandating two years’ worth of online data retention.  The European Union currently has a requirement for internet companies to save logs showing the identities of email and possibly internet message correspondents in addition to data about the ownership of IP addresses used in such correspondence.
    • Libraries object strongly to it because of the practicality of being able to track all users of library computers
    • Other providers of low-cost or free Internet access would be severely impacted (coffee shops, municipalities, libraries, public spaces)
    • Privacy is obviously a concern
    • Internet providers are concerned about the costs of data retention and consumers are concerned about anything that could increase their costs for ISP services
    • There are real security issues with maintaining such data for 2 years

Spectrum issues

There is a general trend toward increasing the usage of unlicensed spectrum as a means of providing low-cost, ubiquitous network coverage on campuses.  Campuses can leverage unlicensed spectrum because they are less subject to other technologies and applications that tend to cause interference.  Congress may enact legislation in the upcoming terms that allocates spectrum, both licensed and unlicensed.

News Archive
FCC Survey finds 4 out of 5 Americans don't know their Broadband Speeds
06/01/10 - Federal Communications Commission External Site
Washington, DC -- Today the Federal Communications Commission released the results of a survey on the consumer broadband experience. The survey found that 80 pe...
FCC Announces "100 Squared" Initiative for Broadband
02/16/10 - NARUC Conference External Site
Prepared Remarks of Chairman Julius Genachowski Federal Communications Commission

Good morning. Great to see everyone. Iím guessing everyone ha...
How fast is your broadband?
06/19/08 - Richmond Times Dispatch External Site
Online tests can tell, and you can tell us if it's as advertised. The U.S. is behind the rest of the world in every broadband measure -- in speed, price and ...
Louisiana Supreme Court: Lafayette Fiber Project Can Move Forward
02/22/07 - External Site
The Supreme Court of Louisiana has ruled that the Lafayette broadband project can move forward....
Telecommunications Legislation
Virginia Telecommunications Legislation 2006
Track Virginia Legislation
2006 VA House Telecommunications Legislation Map
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2006 VA Senate Telecommunications Legislation Map
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The maps above shows telecommunications related legislation sponsored by representatives in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate.