For Immediate Release - December 05, 2012

DTC Hosts Conference to Explore Wireless Communications in Massachusetts and New England

BOSTON – The Patrick-Murray Administration's Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) today hosted the New England Wireless Conference to discuss issues and developments concerning wireless services, including reliability, public safety, and policy implications for consumers.

The conference, co-hosted by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School, brought together government officials and industry experts to discuss the past, present, and future of wireless services.

"Wireless technology and the proliferation of mobile devices have revolutionized the ways in which we communicate," said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "The success of these technologies is vital to Massachusetts’ innovation economy. We want to explore how to promote and encourage this technology to flourish, while protecting consumers and maintaining a strong, competitive market."

The Office of Consumer Affairs and DTC convened the conference to bring together thought leaders in the wireless arena to discuss the dynamic marketplace and to brainstorm best practices moving forward.

"This conference offers insights into the evolving structure of the U.S. wireless industry, which demands constant learning about the technologies, opportunities and constraints that shape our ability to communicate with each other," said Geoffrey Why, the Commissioner of DTC.

The keynote address was given by Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of The Wireless Infrastructure Association and former FCC Commissioner. Adelstein discussed the current wireless infrastructure and the future of the national and local wireless landscape.

Representatives from major wireless carriers were present, including AT&T, SPRINT, T-MOBILE, VERIZON, and industry organization CTIA. Industry, government, consumer groups, and academia also participated in discussions exploring wireless service from the consumer’s perspective, the New England wireless ecosystem, and policy implications for wireless service.

Patricia Resende of Mass High Tech moderated the first panel, which focused on "wireless consumers" and examining consumer choice, customer billing, Lifeline, emergency preparedness, and disaster response. Panelists included representatives from CTIA, Susan Crawford of the Roosevelt Institute, T-Mobile, and the Vermont Public Service Board.

The second panel, moderated by Commissioner Why, examined the "New England Wireless Ecosystem," and panelists explored the past, present, and future of wireless. Specifically, panelists discussed the topics of competition, build-out challenges, and accessibility. Panelists included representatives from AT&T, Harold Furchtgott-Roth, former FCC Commissioner, Mark Rysman, Professor of Economics at Boston University, and Sprint.

The third panel, moderated by Vermont PSB Commissioner John Burke, examined important policy considerations for wireless public safety issues, NextGen 911 service, data privacy, spectrum, and rural build-out. Panelists included Tom Ashe from the Mass 911 Department, Verizon, Brian O’Hara from NARUC and Vanu Bose.

The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Telecommunications and Cable regulates the telecommunications and cable industries, promotes competition, and protects consumers’ interests. The Department is part of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which can be found at its website, blog, and on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.

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