Ms. Buyer is a regular columnist for the THE BULLETIN of the Bar Association of Erie County and is a contributor to No Jitter. Previously, she has written numerous commentaries on telecommunications law for other legal and telecommunications publications including, among others, The Daily Record, Communications Convergence and Computer Telephony. Her articles cover a broad range of topics highlighting current telecommunications issues including federal and state telecommunications policy, litigation, wireless technologies, spectrum policy, FCC initiatives, and industry consolidation. Martha Buyer has also contributed to the ABA Journal Report.


Universal Service Reform: An Overview of Changes

The FCC will create two funds: the Connect America Fund, which will provide support to traditional landline broadband services; and the Mobility Fund.
For almost as long as the Universal Service Fund has been in place (since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 created it), there has been talk of its reform--both from those who contribute to the fund and the recipients of that funding. Particularly within the past five years, as voice services looked less like traditional analog voice and more like data, the calls for reform have morphed into downright bellows.

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Lost in Space…No Really…

Lost in (Techno) Space
Wireless bandwidth is a limited commodity. Period. As increasing numbers of us acquire and use more wireless devices that are increasingly sophisticated and which use increasing amounts of bandwidth, the amount of unclaimed bandwidth decreases, leaving not only consumers, but first responders, air traffic controllers and government entities among others, with limited options.

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FCC Takes Some Action on Network Neutrality

While many of us spent the week before Christmas with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads (or, perhaps we were more fascinated by the machinations going on in the U.S. Senate and House with respect to landmark issues like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the passage of the START treaty), the FCC took some landmark action of its own by taking a first stab at rules governing Network Neutrality. Don’t glaze over…this is pretty interesting stuff.

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Wireless Dead Zones

I’ve just spent close to a week in a very populated, civilized part of the Northeast (Rhode
Island, to be specific), where the beaches are lovely and where the wireless service just stinks.
If you’ve experienced massive “dead zones,” in otherwise crowded and lovely locales, you know
what I’m talking about. (NB: no one should be surprised that in the Adirondack Mountains, it’s
impossible to get a signal in many places.) But where the population density is great and the
average median income off the charts, this ultimate disconnect is a bit tougher to swallow
(Admittedly, sitting on the beach and not hearing phones ring was delightful, even for a telecom
person). With the recent publicity blitz surrounding the unveiling of Google Voice, it’s time to
reexamine and reevaluate the role of wireless and wireline phones and the respective
infrastructure that supports each.

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E-Discovery Update

When I sit down to write these columns, I try to find topics that are relevant and
interesting from my perspective as a reasonably tech savvy non-litigator. As I
was preparing to do a recent podcast for a national telecommunications
publication, I was asked to revisit a presentation that I’d done several years
before on E-Discovery, and I was stunned to discover how many cases, from
across the country, have been decided since the beginning of the year on issues
related to this very hot topic. The preparation also gave me the chance to add a
new word to my vocabulary—“spoliation,” so be warned if we’re ever playing
Super Scrabble! But I digress…

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