It’s no secret that the Telcos have major pull in Congress. Review any representative’s list of top campaign donors and you are more likely then not to find them at the top. It’s also no secret that AT&T and Verizon see a perfect world where they control all of the public airwaves. We’ve heard endless hand ringing in Congress about how bad wireless service is directly connected to too little spectrum in the control of carriers.
What they don’t mention is as much as half of the licensed spectrum in held major markets by the top two carriers isn’t even being used. There’s also no mention of repurposing any of that fallow spectrum for broadband like is being proposed for broadcast bands. Even if spectrum was lacking, increasing tower density can overcome virtually all capacity problems. None of this makes much sense unless we understand that the real issue isn’t the need for more spectrum to provide better service. It’s to gain control of the wireless last mile and effectively end competition.
Acting in the public interest to facilitate better service is not what this debate is about. After gaining control of more than half of the fixed line right of ways to the last mile, the two major telco’s slowed infrastructure improvements to a snails pace. That’s created an America with substandard broadband at some of the highest prices in the world. They have the same plan for wireless. By controlling all of the spectrum and consolidating into two companies, the non competitive broadband duopoly will be extended into the wireless space.
The House of Representatives wants to take control of spectrum auctions. They want us to believe that the FCC is acting to slowly to resolve that the completely fabricated “spectrum crisis”. According to former FCC chair Reed Hundt, the bill would end competition: (more…)
Freedom loving American geeks have been advocating for the open, unlicensed use of White space frequencies for the last 4 -5 years. Open frequencies will enable entrepreneurs to rapidly deploy wireless broadband where incumbents won’t. It could also foster a little more competition in a market where Americans pay the highest prices in the world for mediocre service.
Meanwhile back in Washington, the FCC and Congress have been preoccupied with cooking up a scheme to auction off that last wireless frontier to one of the corporate oligarchs that already control most of the public airwaves. The wireless cartel fears having to compete in an open market, and pols are giddy over the idea of another money pot they can use for pet projects. In other words, very little would change.
Ironically in the land of Big Brother, where that average urban citizen is always in view of the government CCTV network, wireless freedom will prevail according to Ofcom’s White Spaces proposal:
(unlicensed white spaces) ………are predicted to boost economic activity as well as improving broadband coverage. Ofcom wants the UK to lead Europe in this “spectrum recycling”, and says it will make the spectrum “licence exempt”, so it can be used freely, according to a release which presents the results of a consultation which began last November. (Eweek)
Kudos to Ofcom for acting in the best interest of UK’s entire population rather than a few elites. Isn’t it ironic that the government we fought a war to get away from now values wireless freedom more than the one we replaced it with.
The right to voluntarily reveal ones identity is part and parcel the right to free speech and privacy. Unfortunately there are a great many self declared emperors of the net who think that just because the interwebs constitute a virtual world that it’s just fine to use it to trample on the rights of very real people. While this attitude is dominant among statist pols and bureaucrats, it’s also being adopted by out of touch enterprise management at an alarming rate.
Facebook isn’t new to the concept of ignoring its users rights whenever it eased monetization to the point of treating users like cattle. The latest target of the Zuckerberg ranch? The fundamental right to privacy through anonymity. Whole Facebook’s requirement that users must post and use their real names, at least they have to right of opt out of subscribing. That seems to annoy it’s marketing director who apparently wants to lord over the territory outside of Facebook where she has no control:
…..there is one person for whom insisting on the use of real names on social networking sites is not enough. Unsurprisingly, that person is Facebook’s Marketing Director, Randi Zuckerberg. Speaking last week on a panel discussion about social media hosted by Marie Claire magazine, Zuckerberg said,
I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors. (EFF)
Dear Ms, Zuckerberg: As Americans, we have the right to meet anonymously behind closed doors in both the real and virtual worlds. There is no legal distinction between them no matter how much you wish it could be so. It’s OK to prohibit that on your privately owned site, but not OK in the greater public ether known as the internet. I strongly urge you to consider moving yourself to any of the socialist states on the planet if that chafes you too much.
Unfortunately, Ms, Zuckerberg will find many quick allies in the halls of Congress. Agree? Then it’s time to fire your representatives in upcoming primary elections and run, not walk, away from the Facebook cattle ranch.
Congress calls out Belarus for copying its internet agenda. Actually it’s a pot calling the kettle black.
Open hardware license framework gets updated and refined.
Google improving products search? Your mileage may vary, but I’ve had better luck finding products with Bing. Maybe Searchzilla fianlly got the wake up call.
The Smartphone acheives 33% market share.
Netflix faces much higher costs for content.
Belated news: Byte is back ! The reboot features Gina Smith at the helm and original columnist Jerry Pournelle on the team. Here’s wishing Gina, Jerry and the rest of the Byte team great success on longevity.
Political operative James Carville once said that if you keep repeating the same lie often enough, it will eventually be accepted as the truth. I have to wonder if FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has Carville on a retainer. Even if we completely lose sight of the fact that the FCC has no authority to regulate the Internet, the agency’s claims to justify it keep getting farther from reality.
Undoing the agency’s Net neutrality rules will “increase uncertainty, decrease investment, and hurt job creation,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will say, according to a draft of his prepared remarks.
Genachowski will offer an unyielding, point-by-point defense of the FCC’s 3-2 vote, which fell along party lines, saying that it’s already increased investment and that relying on antitrust laws to police errant behavior would be “problematic” and “ill-suited to the fast-changing nature of Internet technology.”
The Democratic chairman’s remarks highlight how polarized–and partisan–the Washington debate over regulation of broadband providers’ business practices has become.
Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20059917-281.html#ixzz1LUSVmNCf
If we look at what has happened since the so called Net Neutrality rules were put into place, we’ve seen a move towards less competition in wireless, the country’s top two broadband providers impose a price increase / cap and the telcos virtually ending new investment in fixed line service. The only new proposed investment by a major player is in the form of a takeover of a competitor. I suspect the only new jobs created were in Washington DC, while the workforce in the rest of the nation continues to shrink.