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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

America's Broadband Opportunity: Today the Administration is Freeing Up a Chunk of New Wireless Spectrum

This morning an opinion editorial co-written by Secretary Locke and Larry Summers ran in the Wall Street Journal. It explains the value of opening up additional wireless spectrum for innovation and economic growth.

Read the Ten-Year Plan, the Fast Track Evaluation, and learn about opening up more spectrum.

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Wireless Transmission TowerRarely is there an opportunity to simultaneously catalyze private-sector investment, help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and increase much needed government revenue. President Obama is seizing just such an opportunity with his commitment to nearly double the amount of available commercial wireless spectrum over the next 10 years. Today, the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will take the first step by announcing a plan to free up 115 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum.

Spectrum is fast becoming a pillar of America's digital infrastructure. It has enabled the mobile broadband revolution. All of our smart phones, netbooks, and the "apps" they support depend on the availability of wireless spectrum.

But while demand for America's spectrum resources is increasing at rapid rates—the amount of information flowing over some wireless networks is growing at over 250 percent per year—there has not been a corresponding increase in supply. This congestion has led to more dropped calls and slower data rates.

Secretary Locke Addresses American Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo, Japan

Delivering remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) luncheon in Tokyo today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke discussed strengthening the U.S.-Japan economic relationship, noting the ongoing work between the U.S. Commerce Department and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as well as the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Locke reiterated the United States’ commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japanese trade, and the desire to see continued export expansion into Japan. Bilateral trade between the two countries totaled nearly $147 billion in 2009.

Locke also remarked on the need to ease trade barriers, calling for open investment and trade environment that allows businesses, entrepreneurs and policy makers to bring their respective strengths to the table and spur the type of innovation and economic growth the U.S. cannot achieve alone. He defined economic success as the ease with which policies make it possible for innovators to exchange ideas, as well as to invest and trade.  

The ACCJ luncheon marked Locke’s first stop in Japan while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which is being chaired this year by Japan in Yokohama.

Secretary Locke speaks to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi

Delivering remarks at a business innovation-focused event hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke discussed the economic opportunities that would result from a closer relationship between the U.S. and India, and underscored the importance of mutually beneficial, job-creating trade between the two nations.

Locke also announced the launch of a U.S.-India Energy Cooperation Program, a partnership that brings together U.S. and Indian companies and our two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India. He gave particular thanks to the U.S. Trade Development Agency and its director, Lee Zak, for making the program a reality and for providing the support necessary to get the first two projects off the ground.

On Saturday at the U.S.-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit in Mumbai, Locke announced he will lead a high-tech trade mission to India. The February 6-11, 2011 business development mission will promote the export of high-technology products from leading U.S. firms and make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. The second trade mission led by Locke, it will highlight export opportunities for U.S. businesses in a broad range of advanced industrial sectors, including civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation and information and communication.

Remarks

Commerce Department Continues Focus on Expanding Markets for U.S. Exports

Secretary Gary Locke will join President Obama in India this week, where they will work to deepen bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries on a regional and global level. Continuing to expand bilateral economic ties with India is an important step toward achieving the goals of the president’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports within the next five years in support of several million U.S. jobs.

While in Mumbai, Locke will participate in the U.S.-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit. He will then travel to New Delhi, where he will give a keynote address at a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce event.  In 2009, U.S. trade with India totaled $37.6 billion, and trade this year has already reached $32.4 billion through August.

Watch this video to hear from small business owners about their experiences partnering with the Department of Commerce.

Secretary Locke Speaks with Silicon Valley Leadership Group on Obama Administration's Efforts to Foster Innovation

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG)’s annual luncheon today, emphasizing the steps the Obama administration has taken to turn around the U.S. economy and create jobs. Locke stressed the administration’s efforts to build a stronger foundation for long-term growth and prosperity by investing in research and development, a 21st century infrastructure and manufacturing, and underlined Silicon Valley’s role as the epicenter of technological innovation.

Sec. Locke wanted it to be known that “when it comes to new ideas, our only criterion is efficacy. It doesn’t matter if they come from the left or the right, the boardroom or academia. We simply will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one.”

Locke emphasized that President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, while freezing domestic discretionary spending overall, actually increases funding for civilian R&D by nearly 6 percent. Also, he noted President Obama’s support a new business tax cut that will allow small businesses to deduct the full amount of new capital investments immediately.

Locke also highlighted President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years in support of several million American jobs. The NEI will provide more funding, more focus and more Cabinet-level coordination to increase U.S. exports, and represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his Cabinet.

Remarks

Commerce Officials Address Privacy and Innovation at International Conferences

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling today addressed privacy and innovation at the 32nd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. In his keynote address, Strickling stressed that preserving trust in the Internet is imperative for its sustainability and continued growth. He noted, for example, that “if users do not trust that their personal information is safe on the Internet, they will worry about using new services. If content providers do not trust that their content will be protected, they will threaten to stop putting it online.”

Strickling called for technologists and entrepreneurs, privacy and consumer advocates, business interests, and the government to work together to develop a privacy policy. He envisions “a strong role for voluntary but enforceable codes of conduct, which must be developed through open, multi-stakeholder processes."

Stressing the importance of engaging the international community on privacy, Strickling added, “The time for greater international cooperation is here. All nations, including the United States, must be ready to work together and begin a proactive and productive dialogue on privacy reform efforts.” (Full Remarks)

Earlier this week, Department of Commerce General Counsel Cam Kerry participated in the keynote panel of the 30th Annual OECD Privacy Guidelines Conference and expressed a desire to create a global environment that protects privacy. (Full Remarks)

Locke Honors Pennsylvania Company for Life-Saving Efforts in Chilean Mine Rescue

Secretary Locke presented a Certificate of Appreciation today to Vice President of Schramm, Inc. Fred Slack, whose Philadelphia company’s products were instrumental in rescuing the 33 miners who were trapped 2,300 feet underground after the collapse of the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile.

“The entire world watched on Oct. 13 as the 33 trapped miners were rescued in less than 22 hours,” Locke said. “Thanks in large part to Schramm’s T-130 rig – now dubbed ‘the rig heard ‘round the world’ – the miners were rescued two months earlier than originally planned.”

Locke was in Detroit speaking at the International District Export Council Conference about the administration’s efforts to grow jobs, the economy and U.S. exports through the National Export Initiative.

He also participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. Gary Peters and local business owners, where he heard how the recently passed Small Business Jobs Act is improving the outlook for small businesses throughout Michigan. The passage of the bill – long-encouraged by President Obama – was the most significant step on behalf of U.S. small businesses in more than a decade and accelerates more than $55 billion in tax relief to businesses over the next year.  Press release  | Remarks

Secretary Locke and U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy Highlight New York Project Bringing Jobs and Economic Development to the Region

Secretary Locke listens to Rep. Scott Murphy speak about the importance of the GlobalFoundries new facilityCommerce Secretary Gary Locke joined U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy today in Malta, New York to hear from executives at GlobalFoundries, one of the world's largest independent semiconductor foundries. Locke and Murphy highlighted the impact GlobalFoundries has had on economic development in New York’s Tech Valley and heard firsthand about the company’s progress on the development of its new factory – the largest project of its kind in the United States.

The Fab 8 project is the result of a public-private partnership and will create thousands of jobs in the local community and throughout New York state. The factory will be the most advanced semiconductor fabrication plant in the world, helping to position the United States as a leader in the technology-based economy.

Founded in 2009, GlobalFoundries is creating good-paying jobs in New York through the construction and development of its new facility. The company is also committed to growing U.S. exports, a key component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years in support of several million American jobs.

White House Council Launches Interagency Subcommittee on Privacy & Internet Policy

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to promoting the vast economic opportunity of the Internet and protecting individual privacy, the National Science and Technology Council has launched a new Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy. Populated by representatives from more than a dozen Departments, agencies and Federal offices, and co-chaired by the two of us, the subcommittee will develop principles and strategic directions with the goal of fostering consensus in legislative, regulatory, and international Internet policy realms.

In this digital age, a thriving and dynamic economy requires Internet policies that promote innovation domestically and globally while ensuring strong and sensible protections of individuals’ private information and the ability of governments to meet their obligations to protect public safety.   

Recognizing the global nature of the digital economy and society, the Subcommittee will monitor and address global privacy policy challenges and develop approaches to meeting those challenges through coordinated U.S. government action.  The Subcommittee is committed to fostering dialogue and cooperation between our Nation and its key trading partners in support of flexible and robust privacy and innovation policies. Such policies are essential to the health of competitive marketplaces for online goods and services.

Secretary Locke Meets with Manufacturing Council and One Member Announces 600 New Jobs in the U.S.

Secretary Locke swears in the Manufacturing CouncilThis morning, Secretary Gary Locke met with the 24 members of the recently-appointed Manufacturing Council.

“Today’s meeting is an example of the public-private partnership needed to restore our manufacturing sector in the United States,” said Locke. “I look forward to working with the members of the Council to present President Obama with solutions to revitalize this critical sector, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”

The Council advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and government policies and programs that affect U.S. manufacturers. The Council’s new charter increased membership from 15 to 25 members and now includes more diverse and expansive industry representation in the manufacturing sector.  The appointees represent a broad cross section of the industry and include steel, supercomputer, solar panel, medical device and superconductor manufacturers, both large and small. Their products support a diverse range of industries such as the auto, aerospace, apparel and energy efficiency sectors.