Items tagged "Spectrum Reform"

Post

FCC Reform the Star of Confirmation Hearing

June 17, 2009 FCC , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Spectrum Reform , White Space

As confirmation hearings go, today's hearing on the nomination of Julius Genachowski to be the new Chair of the FCC and current Commissioner Robert McDowell to be renominated for a second term could only be called a lovefest. And why not? Both are among the most qualified individuals ever to have been nominated to serve the agency. Perhaps the most controversial exchange was the debate over how to pronounce the Chairman-to-be's last name (for the record, it's pronounced Gen-a-kow-ski, not chow-ski).

Genachowski sounded all the right notes – telling the story of how his father, an engineer, showed him his plans for turning text into signals so to help blind people to "read" words on paper.

Read More
Post

5 Minutes With Harold Feld: The National Broadband Plan

June 9, 2009 Broadband , FCC , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality , Spectrum Reform

Today, I’m happy to announce that we’re launching a new video series here at Public Knowledge: “5 Minutes With Harold Feld”. As you may recall, Harold joined our staff back in March and has since taken the helm as our Legal Director. Harold brings with him years of experience in the media reform space, not to mention a wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of Congress, the FCC and the courts. In this series, he’ll be explaining complicated topics concisely, in layperson’s terms. In our first episode, Harold tackles the National Broadband Plan. As part of the Stimulus Act, Congress authorized the FCC to develop a plan for bringing fast, affordable broadband Internet access to all Americans. Harold explains the significance of the plan and details Public Knowledge’s suggestions to the FCC regarding the National Broadband Plan (a full-text PDF of our comments, as filed with the FCC, can be found here). Take it away, Harold:

Read More
Post

FCC Team Takes Shape, Looks Like We Can Get Work Done.

June 3, 2009 FCC , Network Neutrality , Regulatory Reform , Spectrum Reform

At long last, it looks like the Senate Republicans got their act together enough to settle on two FCC candidates: Current Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell and former NTIA Administrator Meredith Atwell Baker. While I expect a fair number of policy fights, I also expect to see this group weighing matters fairly and searching for common ground.

Both Baker and McDowell are fully up to speed on the gamut of media and telecom issues. Neither comes with a lot of incumbent industry baggage. Prior to joining the FCC, McDowell worked for Comptel representing competing telephone companies.

Read More
Post

AT&T Quietly Updates its Wireless Plans (again)

April 29, 2009 AT&T , Data Caps , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality , Spectrum Reform

Quietly, last night, AT&T revised its wireless plans. In the latest changes to the service terms, it looks like AT&T is trying to exempt its own video services but prohibiting services like the Slingbox.

Sound familiar?  I wrote it on April 3rd.  iPhone and PDA users literally felt their significant investment get less valuable.  They complained and AT&T removed the offending language by the next day, calling the language a mistake. 

Guess what?  It’s back!

Sometime in the past 24 hours, AT&T changed the TOS again:

Read More
Post

AT&T Quietly Updates its Wireless Plans

April 1, 2009 Broadband , Network Neutrality , Spectrum Reform

Quietly, last night, AT&T revised its wireless plans. In the latest changes to the service terms, it looks like AT&T is trying to exempt its own video services but prohibiting services like the Slingbox or other video web sites.

Read More
Post

Kerry-Snowe Spectrum Inventory Bill: A Good Starting Point For Licensed And Unlicensed Supporters

March 26, 2009 FCC , Spectrum Reform

I find myself in complete agreement with the wireless industry on supporting The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act. This bill, sponsored by John Kerry (D-MA), Chair of The Subcommittee on Communications of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), requires NTIA and the FCC to account for every MHz of spectrum between 300 MHz and 3.5 GHz within 180 days of the bill's passage.

Read More
Post

In Defense of Kevin Martin

December 11, 2008 Broadband , FCC , Spectrum Reform

This has not been Kevin Martin's best week. Tuesday, by itself, could have been an entire week's worth of grief. The report issued by the Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee basically accused Martin of trashing the Commission, and there were some brutally honest e-mails to supply some depth to the charges.

Of course, the Committee Republicans couldn't rouse themselves sufficiently to file a minority report defending Martin, although they tried to minimize the importance of it all through comments to reporters.

Perhaps that's because the Democratic report released on Tuesday (Dec. 9) was only the warm-up for the blind-side sacks that came the next two days. On Wednesday (Nov.

Read More
Post

Who Knew Physics Was So Pro-Incumbent?

October 28, 2008 FCC , Spectrum Reform , White Space

So last week, the The Association for Maximum Service Television told the FCC they supported opening wireless microphones to church groups, theaters, government, and live music producers. This would legally allow hundreds of thousands of new users to operate devices on adjacent channels at more than five times the power levels of proposed white spaces devices on adjacent channels (250 miliwatt power all the time v. 40 mW for white spaces devices operating on adjacent). Yet these wireless devices have none of the restrictions and interference protection capabilities of white spaces devices. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Read More
Post

Dragging Spectrum Policy Out of 1929

October 6, 2008 FCC , Spectrum Reform , White Space

Last Friday, Gigi delivered a speech to a conference examining the Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, or Gore Commission, ten years after its report. Ten years ago, the Commission was organized to examine public interest obligations that broadcasters might have in the digital age. Listening to the speakers, it was clear that a number of things have changed since 1998. While all of them supported the ideals of public interest obligations for broadcasters, none of them felt that the current system was advancing those ideals.

Gigi's speech was the most provocative. She called on regulators to move out of a mindset that was born in the 1920s and 30s and to start looking at spectrum through the lens of modern technology.

Read More
Post

White Spaces Update: It’s Amazing What You Learn From Field Testing.

August 20, 2008 FCC , Spectrum Reform , White Space

As folks may recall, the primary opponents of opening the broadcast white spaces for use, the broadcasters and the wireless microphone manufacturers — notably our good friend and radio pirate Shure, Inc. (official slogan:"We get to break the law 'cause we sound so good") — insisted that the FCC conduct field tests on the white spaces prototypes. Of course, because these are concept prototypes and not functioning devices certified to some actual standard, everyone knew this would leave lots of leeway for the broadcasters and the wireless microphone folks to declare the tests a "failure" regardless of the actual results. Which, of course, they did.

Read More