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October 3, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

AZ Technology & Innovation: Quantenna Communications

  |   Video
  • A California company that produces Wi-fi video networking for whole-home entertainment is expanding to Arizona. Quantenna Communications will open a research and development facility in Tempe, bringing 12 engineering and management jobs to the Valley initially, a number expected to triple over the next few years. Quantenna Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sam Heidari will talk about his company and its expansion to Tempe.
  • Dr. Sam Heidari - Chief Executive Officer, Quantenna Communications
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: AZ, Technology, Innovation, Quantenna Communications, Tempe, ,

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Ted Simons: Our continuing coverage of Arizona technology and innovation issues looks at a key opening a new research and development company in Tempe. Quantenna develops semiconductors capable of delivering video and data service over wireless networks. Their new facility will initially have 12 engineering and management jobs. That's expected to triple in the next few years. Joining is now is Quantenna's chief executive officer Dr. Sam Heidari.
Dr. Sam Heidari: Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: focusing on wi-fi. Are we talking about being able to walk around the home without being connected?
Dr. Sam Heidari: That and more. Today I think the wi-fi is a dominating interface. 1.4 billion chips to be sold this year. It's becoming dominating interface. So wi-fi you'll see everywhere. Now we're making it a lot better than it has been.
Ted Simons: trying to match it to broadband connections and these things?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Absolutely. Before wi-fi or wireless connectivity it's about convenience. So you can be mobile and use it as you please. Quality was secondary. The market is changing. There's a lot of video applications, video recorders, high quality, enterprise applications, mobile off loads and things which requires a lot of coverage and a lot of throughput. The legacy wi-fi is not designed for that. Quantenna has merged quality with convenience. We have high performance, highest coverage wi-fi in the world right now. It's getting deployed where the fidelity and performance and coverage matters. Especially in services like the pay TV services, satellite providers, cable providers are looking at Quantenna's solutions in order to do video distribution inside the home.
Ted Simons: As far as a Tempe facility, what will be done there in accordance to what you just mentioned?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Basically R&D facility. We have a lot of engineers around the world working on our product. We do anything from basic algorithm concept development all the way to digital implementation, RF implementation, board design, the whole package. The Facility at Tempe will cover those as we grow it. right now it's a core team working on design. We are going to add in all the different dimensions to that group.
Ted Simons: you chose Tempe. You'll be there loop 101 in Elliott there. Why here?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Why there? We found out we have a lot of different sites around the world right now. This work needs to be, this fire needs to be fed with innovation. You have to go after the best people. We have three, four, five facilities around the world. We found out through our executives there was a good group of people here interested to join Quantenna. They heard about us. We decided to go after that. We just go after the best people.
Ted Simons: impact of having Intel and other high-tech firms has to be a plus.
Dr. Sam Heidari: It is a plus because the environment is very oriented toward high-tech. I think we can add a great set of jobs in that environment.
Ted Simons: the "Wall Street Journal," 36 out of 50 start-ups that could become the next big thing, that's you.
Dr. Sam Heidari: That's right.
Ted Simons: Usually when you see a start-up doing this well, a big boy comes along and gobbles you up. Have you had to deal with that dynamic?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Well, we are focused on our business. Obviously we have a lot of big boys that are competition. We are focused on our business. I think if you look at it in this part of the market probably have one of the biggest teams and biggest focus going after a segment of the wi-fi market. It's pretty large. We're going after the high end, high quality type of wi-fi. We run into those guys in many different ways.
Ted Simons: As far as the challenges, we're watching a video here of -- what is he doing?
Dr. Sam Heidari: He's watching with a video that is 40 Mega bits per second, HD, 3-D, being broadcast through wi-fi over 200 feet with zero rate, taking it all the way out there.
Ted Simons: that's basically he could have been going down the hallway of a pretty big home. Are there challenges of trying to get that coordinated inside of a home?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Yes. Big challenge has been it hasn't existed before. Right now we're solving that problem. You can get multiple HD streams going to multiple set of boxes or TVs inside the home, high definition, high throughput. Covering the entire home.
Ted Simons: when we talk about wireless set top boxes and these things, video bridges, residential Gateways, that's basically what we're talking about.
Dr. Sam Heidari: Sure. That's right. TV. Having the wi-fi inside them. That's pretty much all for the video distribution. Also there's a lot of mobile video. Tablets are becoming your portable TV. People watch a lot of content over their mobile phone, so the enterprise will have a lot of video conferencing. More I think way north of 70% of the traffic over the internet today is video. Video requires a lot of throughput and does require good quality connectivity.
Ted Simons: We got about 30 seconds left. You see Arizona perhaps becoming a high-tech hub in the future?
Dr. Sam Heidari: I think it's on its way there.
Ted Simons: You think so?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Absolutely.
Ted Simons: you're helping it get there.
Dr. Sam Heidari: We'll try. [laughter]
Ted Simons: Good to have you. Thanks for joining us.
Dr. Sam Heidari: Thanks.

Medicaid Coverage for Childless Adults

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  • Arizona Republic reporter Mary K. Reinhart explains why thousands of childless adults could lose their Medicaid coverage under the State’s AHCCCS program at the end of 2013.
  • Mary K. Reinhart - Reporter, The Arizona Republic
Category: Medical/Health   |   Keywords: medicare, medicaid, AHCCCS, medical, health, ,

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Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona's Medicaid program known as access is preparing to ask the federal government for permission to continue covering childless adults. Access also wants more federal dollars to help pay for that coverage. Childless adults are not normally covered by Medicaid but 12 years ago Arizona voters passed a proposition that mandates access coverage for anyone with an income below 100% of federal poverty level. Last year Arizona lawmakers frozen enrollment for that population due to the state's budget crisis. Thousands of people lost their Medicaid coverage and thousands more stand to lose coverage at the end of next year. Here to help clarify all of this is Arizona Republic reporter Mary K. Reinhart. Good to have you. I hope you can clarify this. This is pretty complicated stuff.
Mary K. Reinhart: It's a long slog.
Ted Simons: It is. The status of Medicaid for childless adults right now. Mary K. Reinhart: It is frozen. It's capped. The program does not allow any new people to sign up. That was done by the legislature. It was upheld ultimately through the court system. So the folks on there now, as long as they don't get dropped off because they earn too much or don't do the proper paperwork or something else happens, they continue to be covered. That's about 100,000 people. That program served about 220,000 when it was capped by the legislature and the governor.
Ted Simons: it expires at the end of next year if there's no federal extension. Correct?
Mary K. Reinhart: That's correct. That was the whole access program is a waiver. Many states have very demonstration projects called waivers. This particular part of our access Medicaid program, the childless adult program, is on a waiver due to expire at the end of 2013. We picked that date because we thought next day, January 1, 2014, everybody under 133% of poverty level would be covered under Medicaid under the affordable care act. The Supreme Court came along in June and said, we don't think we should penalize states if they don't want to participate so we'll give them the option of opting out of the Medicaid expansion. Our state is still weighing what to do about that.
Ted Simons: So obviously we could go the full 133 and how much would that cost the state as opposed to opting out and only keeping it up to 100%?
Mary K. Reinhart: 133 -- we're not even looking at those numbers now. Politically it's probably not doable given the climate at the legislature, the way -- a lot of folks including the governor and leadership in-house and Senate, previous leadership, want to repeal the entire affordable care act. The odds of them expanding Medicaid to the full 133 are not good. We want to be clear. We're talking about two separate things. One is restoring this population that voters said they wanted covered up to 100%. That's what the state is asking to do. The other is the expansion to 133. If we restore childless adults, sure, extend that program, that would cost us at the current rate of match rate we share responsibility with the federal government, they pay about $2 for every $1 we pay. Right now it will cost us about $2.5 billion over the first four years. The other thing we're asking the federal government to do, let us extends this program and if you wouldn't mind give us the enhanced match rate under the affordable care act that the rest of the folks are getting which is up to 90%. So the state would pay about 10% for these new folks at a cost of considerably less than that, less than $1 billion over the first four years of implementation.
Ted Simons: That's a better match, that 90%, is that for the full 133 or does that stop at 100 as well? In other words if you're a state that's going full bore into the affordable care act I imagine you get close to 100% match. If you're like Arizona we don't want to go to 133 are you stuck at 66%?
Mary K. Reinhart: That remains to be seen. The federal government for other states that haven't covered this population, we're one of only six states that cover childless adults. There's no requirement in Medicaid to do that. Our voters decided to do that in 2000. Other states that are bringing these people on, agreeing to expand to 133% are getting match rates of 80 to 100%. I forget the exact percentage. The federal government is making it easy to add them on to the Medicaid system. Arizona's concern is that we are being penalized essentially for having already covered these people. What we're being offered is that two-thirds match rate as opposed to the 90% that other states -- 90 to 100% in some cases that other states will get.
Ted Simons: So we have two different issues here. Whether or not the childless adults will even be covered by the end of next year and what kind of matching rates we'll get from the federal government. Correct?
Mary K. Reinhart: Correct. That's the biggest concern for access officials, certainly for health care administrators and advocates in the community, is that if the federal government, for whatever reason, does not agree to extend this waiver to allow us to restore coverage to the childless adult population, they have no options. They will not be covered. They will literally be kicked off coverage come January 1, 2014. They won't have the option to go on to the health exchange and obtain insurance as those between 100 and 133% will.
Ted Simons: Why would they not have that option? I thought that was supposed to be available for everyone.
Mary K. Reinhart: Everybody over 100%. It was envisioned everybody over 133%. So there is a provision that you're getting subsidized coverage on the exchange depending how much you earn. People between 100 and 133%, the way the rules are now, can get 98% subsidized coverage on the exchange. They have to pay about 25 bucks a month plus co-pay. For someone on low income that still amounts to quite a bit of money but still an opportunity to be covered under -- to get health care coverage. The way the law is between our waiver and the law there's this huge doughnut hole, if you will, that all of those folks under 100% of the federal poverty level -- the Feds envisioned they would be part of the same Medicaid coverage.
Ted Simons: The state is saying, your goal is to get everyone some sort of coverage, the state says everyone is not going to get coverage if you don't help us out.
Mary K. Reinhart: The state says we need your help to restore and cover these people up to 100% and if you increase the match rate it will make things a lot easier we hope to convince the legislature to go along. The governor is generally supportive of in her administration from all the meetings they have been holding with stakeholders of restoring the childless adult population. She wants the best match rate she can. She wants to pay $100 billion instead of 2.5 billion in the first four years. There's also the real concern even restoring the childless adult population in the coming legislative session could be very difficult to do. There are people who don't see any reason to cover this population with health care. So they want the affordable care act repealed. So the idea is with this carrot, if you will, this better match rate of 90%, we might be able for convince more lawmakers to restore this population.
Ted Simons: Real quickly, we had a public hearing on this earlier this week. What was said and what dates now do we have to look for for more hearings? We have a website where you can go to do public comments. Get those in there. What's the timetable for all this?
Mary K. Reinhart: There is no real timetable for Medicaid expansion from the federal government's perspective. There is for the health exchange, but states are being told you can expand and then two years later if you don’t like it you can go back. The federal government has not issued a lot of guidance. A lot of the states other than some that have already said they aren't going to expand are waiting for more instruction. There are a couple more hearings on these issues that access holding. The public comments are very important. The questions and comments and concerns along with the answers from access are all going to be sent to the federal government, to the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. That will be on the record. We believe that from what we're hearing the governor will make a decision probably sometime after the election about which way to go. That decision will be reflected in her budget at the beginning of the year.
Ted Simons: We'll keep an eye on. That thanks for helping on this. It's an awfully confusing topic but important to a lot of folks.
Mary K. Reinhart: it was my pleasure.

Vote 2012: Debate - Prop 120 (State Sovereignty)

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  • Proposition 120 was placed on the ballot by the state legislature to give the state exclusive control over public lands, air, water, minerals and wildlife in Arizona. Those for the measure say it's an important step in asserting states' rights. Opponents say the state cannot afford to manage the lands, and also say it is unconstitutional. Supporters and opponents debate the merits of the proposition.
Category: Vote 2012   |   Keywords: prop 120, state, sovereignty, vote, 2012, vote 2012, ,

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Ted Simons: "Arizona Horizon" vote 2012 coverage continues tonight with a debate on proposition 120, a constitutional amendment referred to the ballot by state lawmakers who want the state constitution to declare Arizona sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over public lands and natural resources within the state's boundaries. In support of proposition 120 is state representative Chester Crandell, who sponsored the measure, and representing the no on proposition 120 committee is Sandy Bahr, Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra club. Thank you for joining us.
Sandy Bahr: Thank you.
Chester Crandell: Appreciate the opportunity.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about what this calls for, why is this necessary?
Chester Crandell: The thing that it calls for is to put in the constitution to declare we are a sovereign state and we have sovereign rights to get equal footing with the rest of the nation east of the border of Colorado. Also gives us an opportunity to tap into some of the resources that we have. To help with our state because we have less amount of private property that we can tax. This would give us an opportunity to then derive some income from the resources that are there that we could use to help offset some of the expenses without having to raise taxes on our people in the state of Arizona.
Ted Simons: Why is this not a good idea?
Sandy Bahr: Well, it's a really bad idea, and it's also unconstitutional. First of all, we're talking about national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests. They are all part of our national heritage. I think it's something that we as Americans all value. Having the Arizona legislature have control over these national Treasures frankly just scares me thinking about what the legislature has done with the public lands we have such as our state parks, that it should make everyone concerned. The legislature has not funded them properly. They have swept the dollars that were intended for the parks and many of them have had to close at least seasonally. The other thing is we agreed, we agreed when we became a state that we weren't going to claim these lands and what this legislature is proposing is that we revoke the conditions under which we became a state. That's pretty serious.
Ted Simons: That last point first. Responds, please.
Chester Crandell: I think the issue is you need to go back and look at the history. I have a list of -- I find it very interesting in the question of states and it looks very interesting that when you get to the eastern border of Colorado that all the states that came in before and came in after those received their private property. You have North Dakota, you have Oklahoma is a very interesting one. Oklahoma came in in 1907 and has all its property rights and the ability to utilize the land there. Where you have Utah, Wyoming, you have Idaho, that came in before. So why are we on an unequal footing with the rest of the states east of the Colorado border? It has nothing to do with when we came in as a state but there must have been something that triggered we want to save this for something and I think it's the amount of resources and things that we have that we don't have access to.
Ted Simons:The other point regarding the constitutionality of this, almost everyone who has commented on this says it simply will not survive in the courts. First do you agree, secondly, is it worth that fight?
Chester Crandell: I think it's worth the fight. Other states have done it. History shoes in 1928 the first western state to come in after the 13 original colonies was Ohio, and there's evidence in history that they had to go through the same fight to get their private property. So why doesn't Arizona have that same ability to go back and have that same fight?
Ted Simons: Respond, please.
Sandy Bahr: Oh, sure. First of all, Arizona is special. We do have a lot of public land. That's one of the things that is great about this state. It's part of our economic engine. People don't come here to hang out in Phoenix sprawl. They come to see places like Grand Canyon. It's a really important part of our heritage here. Second of all, the state was conveyed land when we became a state. We have over -- about 9.3 million acres of state trust lands. Look what has been done with those. The legislature has defunded the land department as well. So they can't properly manage those state trust lands. So even Governor Brewer, even Governor Brewer, who has said that she supports state sovereignty on a similar bill, said, look, this would break our budget, and we have to respect the federal system. This is unconstitutional.
Ted Simons: How do we -- folks will look -- we can barely keep rest stops open. How are we supposed to manage the Grand Canyon?
Chester Crandell: I think the issue that we need to look at is there are a lot of resources out there. Back when the timber industry was going good in the state of Arizona, up until the early -- late '70s, where the endangered species act came in, we generated what's called stumpage fees for our educational system. We no longer get those. There are mining royalties that are being paid to the federal government on the BLM land. There's only BML land in the western states. Over $2 billion a year being generated in the western states. We have a huge mining industry in the state of Arizona. These are things that could be used to manage the resources and still give us economic value into the state of Arizona.
Ted Simons: The idea of private advertising some of these lands, letting private companies manage them, extract resources from them, that would be how you would pay for managing the lands. Viable?
Sandy Bahr: No. It's not. First of all, a lot of these lands have value other than letting some foreign mining company come in and take over and return very little to the state. That's a very bad idea. If you look -- you're going to open up the land around Grand Canyon for uranium mining? Despite the fact that Arizonans and Americans have all said no, that's a bad idea, it has a higher value, the value of these lands goes well beyond what it is for us today. It's for future generations. Some short term profit that will mostly be pocketed by private corporations, that is not something that is going to help fund our lands. I will point to the state parks again. The privatization schemes they have put forward for state parks have not flown.
Ted Simons: Last question. How to get past the supremacy clause here?
Chester Crandell: The supremacy clause?
Ted Simons: Yeah
Chester Crandell: I think here again, this goes into the constitution, nothing happens until the state legislature then passes a law that says we are going to take over the management or do something. That's when it will come about.
Ted Simons: Mostly symbolic then?
Chester Crandell: Not symbolic because I think it's very important that we sends the message that we are a sovereign state.
Sandy Bahr: The legislature can't do that. Some of us still think it's important and that we're part of the United States.
Ted Simons: We need to stop it there. Good discussion. Good to have you both here. Thank you. Appreciate that.