Friday, August 22, 2014


August 22, 2014


Marlene H. Dortch
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

                                                                                                                        RE: MB Docket No. 14-57

Dear Ms. Dortch:


As CEO of Chicago’s and the nation’s largest tech startup center, I am a natural advocate for America’s future innovators.  1871, the incubator which I oversee, provides workspaces for digital entrepreneurs.  1871 was named as a reflection and a recollection of a brilliant moment in Chicago’s history.  The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, although a tragedy, provided for the collaboration of the city’s pioneer engineers, architects and inventors to create the next great metropolis.  Comcast has long been a supporter of our enterprise and the business community at-large in Chicago.  This on-going commitment has been a valuable resource to help spur innovation and growth in our next-generation startups.  For this reason, I write today to urge the FCC to approve the Time Warner Cable-Comcast transaction.

Through my decades of experience in Chicago’s education and business sectors, I’ve become adept at implementing new systems through the theory of disruptive innovation.  At 1871, we work to support businesses that use the concept’s principles to improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by pressing for prices in the existing market.

Comcast not only supports our business goals but serves as a prime example of this philosophy itself as well.  Comcast revitalized their network by sticking to a plan that created an entirely new all-digital network in 2012.  Consumers and business have inestimably benefited from the faster downstream broadband speeds this network creates; Comcast customers typically have access to service with download speeds of 25 megabits per second.  For current subscribers, it’s never been easier or faster to connect to the digital world – a particular advantage to businesses, especially small ones.

Comcast was one of the first corporate companies we sought to work with in order to provide business class service to drive technology innovation at our start-up hub.   We currently serve over 260 companies in our 75,000 square foot workspace, with additional plans underway to expand our center to encourage more growth in the Chicago business community.  Fortunately, Comcast business services has provided critical services to keep work and innovation flowing.   The Ethernet Service has been particularly useful as it allows all our users to connect at multiple points to a national fiber-optic network.  The service offers speeds of up to 10 Gbps with full-scalability, a service that matches the demands of our entrepreneurs.

In addition, I am fascinated by Comcast’s digital literacy programs that have already made a significant impact in Chicago’s low-income communities.  The combined community investment and groundbreaking service Comcast offers through programs such as Internet Essentials are highly admirable.  I look forward to seeing more of what this charitable, altruistic company can do in new service areas.

Comcast is a company of the future and many startups and incubators will benefit if it can begin delivering its services to new communities.  I hope the FCC will take note and approve the transaction with Time Warner Cable.

Howard A. Tullman

CEO  1871

Chicago, Illinois

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