1G Government in 4G World

1G Government in 4G World
July 17, 2013

Scott Cleland

Scott Cleland is a precursor: a proven thought leader with a long track record of industry firsts.... (read full bio)

Change is hard, especially for the federal government.

In presenting a “New Management Agenda” for the federal government, President  Obama said we need to “bring a government built largely in the 20th century into  the 21st century.”

Hopefully everyone in the federal government involved with  communications was listening intently.

Much of the federal government’s communications core management and  operations hasn’t changed since the General Services Administration created the  Federal Telecommunications Service in 1960.

When Congress created the Office of Management and Budget in 1970  to efficiently and  effectively manage the government’s resources, radio spectrum was not  covered.

Shockingly in 2013, there remains no accountable federal manager of  radio spectrum.

That unaccountability remains despite the fact that spectrum is the  21st century’s most valuable natural resource, and the essential fuel of the  mobile technology revolution  of smart phones, tablets and the Internet of things.

Equally shocking is that the federal government’s spectrum  inventory management system hasn’t changed materially since 1992 when there were  only eleven million wireless connections compared to 330 million wireless  connections today.

Maybe most shocking is that representatives of the federal  communications bureaucracy wrote the FCC last week to go slow on the “IP  transition” from the obsolescent public switched telephone network to a modern  Internet Protocol communications infrastructure.

That’s because much of the Federal government is still using obsolescent, copper- voice-telephone, TDM technology from the 1960’s, including:  the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Social Security Administration, Forest Service, Farm Service and the Federal Aviation  Administration.

We have a 1G government in a 4G world.

We need to bring a federal government — that is clinging to 20th  century communications management, operations and technology — into the 21st  century.

As Pesident Obama said, “It’s up to…every one of us to make it  work better; we can’t just stand on the sidelines.”

“We should all want a government that’s smarter, quicker,  and more responsive to the needs of the American people,” he said.

To best achieve that wise vision, there are two overriding  modernization tasks to bring federal government communications into the 21st  century.

The first is to accelerate the  spectrum pipeline, to get under-utilized government spectrum to auction and use  by the private sector and consumers — soonest.

The second is to facilitate the IP transition from an obsolescent  limited telephone network to a modern  communications infrastructure with constantly-improving functionality.

Without achieving the goals of modern government spectrum  management and a fully-modernized national communications infrastructure, we  can’t bring America fully into the 21st century.

Much more than most appreciate, government communications  management obsolescence now has become the communication sector’s primary  problem and long-term barrier to growth, adoption and innovation.

That’s because government inefficiency and dysfunction is denying  the private sector both the critical resources and business flexibility  necessary to fully adapt to, and meet, the constantly changing needs of the  American people and economy.

In closing, the solution to this growing communications management  dysfunction in the federal government is surprisingly simple. Think carrots;  financial incentives.

The government needs to enable spectrum auctions to become a budget  mechanism to fund more of the cost of modernizing federal government  communications.

That’s the best way for a 1G government to catch up to the 4G  world.

[Frist Published by The Daily Caller]

Scott Cleland

Scott Cleland is a precursor: a proven thought leader with a long track record of industry firsts.... (read full bio)