Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

What can the Obama Administration do for HD Communications?

Posted on: June 21, 2009

What can the Obama Administration do for HD Communications?  A look back at what Vice President Al Gore did before he won his Nobel Prize provides some clues.

Back in 1994, Al was the point many for “Reinventing Government” As a part of his mission, he put a “date certain” marker down for all of the executive agencies of the government to establish an internet presence by the fall of 1994.  Needless to say, this action lit a fire under a lot of organizations who went out and put up websites, ranging to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to the Central Intelligence Agency.  Nobody wanted to make Al or his acolytes unhappy.

When October 1, 2004 rolled around, government agencies were bragging about their shiny new websites and Internet connectivity.  As a net result, the (U.S.) open standards-based Internet suddenly had a lot more intrinsic value for private industry, academia, and individual citizens. Subsequent administrations and Congresses, have continued to build upon that base, trying to out do the previous generation as to who has the coolest toys.

Back to the question of the day: What can the Obama Administration do for HD Communications?

With all due respect to the current Amtrak-loving Vice President, Joe Biden is no Al Gore when it comes to carrying the torch of technological advancement.  Fortunately, President Obama has nominated both a national CTO and a well-admired Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Both have roles to play.

Aneesh Chopra, the nation’s CTO, will be responsible for promoting technology innovation including “national strategies for using advanced technologies to transform our economy and our society, such as fostering private sector innovation, reducing administrative costs and medical errors using health IT, and using technology to change the way teachers teach and students learn.”

HD voice = advanced technology to transform the way we communicate. Perfect fit.

Chopra could state the obvious:Existing technology for voice phone calls is in need of an upgrade, so the federal government and the organizations that work with it should all adopt G.722 as the standard way it conducts broadband voice communications by some date certain, starting with conference calls and working all the way down to individual departments and offices.  Simply switching to VoIP provides a base for other apps, but HD Communications provides an uplift in quality that should improve communications between government agencies, and ultimately between other nations; after all, the French, British, Germans, and Italians are all implementing HD voice in the form of G.722.

The White House should be the first organization to go “All G,” providing a suitable example and incentive for other agencies to make the move up to HD Voice.  It’ll make a good complement to go with the secure BlackBerry.

The FCC is the point agency for a creating and implementing a national broadband policy, so Julius Genachowski and the FCC’s broadband’s main man, Blair Levin, can incorporate and trumpet the use of HD voice and G.722 in the creation of said policy.  The FCC may have to provide some suggestion/clue/encouragement by service providers to interoperate, but hopefully such mechanisms/suggestions will be relatively loose and not require a Big Club or a complex settlements formula.


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