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Fiber Optics: Thinking It Through

Doc Searls has an essay about bringing fiber optics to every home in America. It is aimed in the right direction, but makes a couple of mistakes on the numbers and falls to ground way short of its target. It troubles me that I appear to be the sole source for Doc's numbers (on the basis of some informal conversation and my Telecom Day speech in Wellington NZ last May). This post is an attempt to correct the record, and to create one where my previous thinking has been private. more»

The Importance of the FCC

My friend Om Malik, dean of the telecom bloggers, posted on the importance of the Federal Communications Commission Chair appointment Obama will make as President... Om is dead on about the importance of this appointment. Decisions made by the five member FCC commission have had and will have an enormous effect not only on the tech sector but on the entire US and even the global economy. more»

Net Neutrality Advocates: Wireless Carriers' Network Management Must Be 'Reasonable'

Emboldened by their summertime victory against Comcast, advocates of network neutrality said Thursday that the next front in battle for the principle would be against wireless carriers who make "unreasonable" network management decisions. In a panel discussion on managing wireless networks at the Wireless Communications Association conference here, Free Press Policy Director, Ben Scott and Google Telecom Counsel, Richard Whitt said that the FCC's Net neutrality principles would bar discrimination over wireless networks -- while conceding that the networks are, for the time being, more bandwidth-constrained than wired-based network. more»

TV White Spaces Just the Beginning: Secondary Use of the Spectrum

Yesterday, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to allow qualified devices to operate on a license-exempt basis in unused portions of TV channels 2-51, spectrum commonly referred to as "TV white spaces." A lot has already been written about this move... But what is missing in these discussions is the bigger picture. more»

FCC Approves White Space Devices: The Dawn of the Age of Opportunistic Spectrum Reuse

Yesterday will go down in history as a bellwether moment. Few among us will soon forget the excitement of Obama's election. But there was an equally historic vote yesterday that for geeks, policy analysts, and technologists represents an entirely new trajectory in telecommunications. In essence, the FCC has begun the transition from command-and-control, single-user spectrum licensure to a more distributed system that holds the potential to eliminate the artificial scarcity that prevented widespread access to the public airwaves since 1927. more»

FCC Vote Results: We the People Won

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just voted to open up the so called TV Whitespaces for UNLICENSED use. This is incredibly good news for rural America in particular but actually for all of America. It's not as important as the election the rest of us in the US voted in today -- but this action is a very, very big deal. Just a few of the benefits... more»

The Real White Spaces Debate: To Create or Abolish a Market in the Airwaves

I've been following the "white spaces" for as long as it has been happening -- four, maybe five years -- and I must admit that I am surprised by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's sudden fondness for them. Until the last days of his chairmanship, Martin never cared for this somewhat radical notion: allowing techies and community activists to spew electromagnetic frequencies in zones currently occupied (at least ostensibly) by the broadcasters. more»

The Other Vote on November 4th

The vote that Federal Communications Commissioners are planning for November 4 is not as important as the voting we'll do on that day, but it does matter a lot to the future of the United States. Unless the forces opposed to progress manage to postpone FCC action (which they are trying very hard to do), the FCC could decide to set the stage for another generation of innovative products with which the US will strengthen its competitive position in global markets... more»

White Spaces: Timing

Last week's emergency petition by the broadcasters to delay the FCC's Nov. 4 vote is just part of the white spaces atmosphere right now. Ars Technica reports that the mud is really flying -- the broadcasters are accusing proponents of white space use of wanting to kill off television. It's a familiar argument -- "If you do Y, broadcast television as we know it will be destroyed." more»

White Spaces: The NAB vs. Reality

One of Washington's most powerful corporate lobbies is at it again. Raising a dust cloud of lies in a last-ditch effort to stop new technology that could better the lives of millions. For more than five years, now, the television broadcast lobby has tried to deny the American public access to white spaces -- unused airwaves that sit vacant between TV channels. Technology now exists that would tap the near limitless potential of these airwaves and deliver high-speed Internet services to tens of millions of people now left on the wrong side of the digital divide. more»