[opendtv] Genachowski pitches his upcoming national broadband plan

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 15:39:31 -0600


A speech given by the FCC Chairman at the New America Foundation.

There are two main points he makes.

One is that x millions of Americans now do not have broadband access to the 
Internet. HOWEVER, if you look into that number closely, using this report:


you will see that push comes to shove, only 4 percent of Americans who actually 
want broadband are unable to get it. So, that 4 percent are where the FCC's 
effort ought to go, as far as I'm concerned. The charter of the FCC is not to 
effect social change. It's not to brainwash people into certain behaviors and 

Parenthetically, the average price Americans pay for fixed broadband today is 
just under $41/mo.

The next main point he makes is to point out that mobile broadband is where the 
action is today. And, you guessed it, he again harps on the TV spectrum.

To which I say, you haven't begun to make good use of the existing 2G, 3G, and 
4G spectrum yet. In fact, there is no excuse whatever for that kind of wanton 
waste. Cell companies like to have short life cycles for their cell phones, so 
why do we still even have separate 2G, 3G, and 4G spectrum? Plus, the whole 4G 
separate LTE spectrum is a sham too, mainly to make companies more royalty 
moneys. Gimme a break. Don't ask for the opinion of those companies that 
benefit from this waste. Ask some objective experts.

Another annoying two things he says, which one hears often from those who don't 
know, is:

1. TV spectrum is the best for mobile broadband. Which is obviously false, 
given how long the wavelengths are. So once again, the NAB should put on a 
great show of magnanimousness and hand over Ch 2-13. And then let them puzzle 
over why that spectrum doesn't work well with mobile handsets after all.

2. And this second point is something one hears often too, also misleading:

"About 300 megahertz of spectrum have been set aside for broadcast TV. In 
markets with less than 1 million people, only 36 megahertz are typically used 
for broadcasting. In cities with more than 1 million people, on average about 
100 megahertz are used. Even in our very largest cities, at most only about 150 
megahertz out of 300 megahertz are used."

So, figure this out, FCC. If the TV spectrum you're talking about is in small 
communities, obviously you will have "white spaces" available for mobile 
broadband. We already knew that, but just do it right. Use a database method, 
not autodetection.

If instead it's in major cities, then guess what? You can't do much better than 
50 percent utilization, if even that much. Not with TV, not with mobile 
broadband. Unless you don't care about creating dead zones, of course, which 
you can't do in areas such as the East and West coasts. Doesn't the FCC know 
about interference? Of course they do. Which is what makes this sort of high 
drama even more galling.

Broadcasters need to get aggressive.

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