[opendtv] Skepticism greets FCC chief's spectrum promises

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 15:32:34 -0600

"... even the 500MHz target, if achievable, falls well short of the 800MHz the 
mobile carriers claim they need."

The FCC is not supposed to be in the business of accepting on faith "what they 
think they need," and screwing the public accordingly. Excuse my French.




Published: 25 February, 2010

The FCCs chief, Julius Genachowski, has issued some more details of the US 
National Broadband Plan, which will be presented to Congress on March 17. 
However, few were reassured that he would succeed in freeing up sufficient 
spectrum to meet the burgeoning needs of mobile operators and new entrant 
service providers.

Speaking at the New America Foundation in Washington, Genachowski claimed the 
US was "not lagging behind" other nations in broadband, but acknowledged that 
more spectrum would be necessary to support the rising demand for mobile data. 
He proposes releasing 500MHz of spectrum over the next decade. One mechanism 
will be a "mobile future auction", which will enable existing licensees such as 
broadcasters to give up frequencies in markets that need it most, in return for 
a share of auction proceeds.

This will allow cellcos to take advantage of TV spectrum that is currently 
being underused or used inefficiently, said Genachowski, and will also give the 
broadcasters "more flexibility to pursue business models to serve their local 

The FCC chief also included unlicensed spectrum in his overview, saying it had 
an important role in stimulating innovation. And he touched on the much delayed 
plan for a national, interoperable public safety network driven by a 
public/private initiative, which was scuppered when the D block of 700MHz 
spectrum, earmarked for this purpose, failed to attract its reserve price two 
years ago.

However, critics were quick to pounce - although a public safety program is 
promised, there is no indication as yet how this would work in practise; 
unlicensed options like the white spaces, and slivers of broadcast spectrum, 
will not add up to the quantities required, especially in urban areas; even the 
500MHz target, if achievable, falls well short of the 800MHz the mobile 
carriers claim they need.

Genachowski laid out a more general overview of FCC mobile priorities - 
recovering and reallocating spectrum, updating twentieth century spectrum 
policies, removing barriers to broadband build-out, lowering the costs of 
deployment, and promoting competition. He also said backhaul was a "critical 
challenge," and pledged "a series of initiatives to bring fiber as far and as 
deep in the network as possible."

He added: "It typically takes quite some time from the beginning to the end of 
a strategic spectrum reallocation process. But the clock is ticking on our 
country's mobile broadband leadership opportunity and our global 
competitiveness challenge, and we have to get started. .. If we get it right, 
broadband, and in particular mobile broadband, will be an enduring engine for 
creating jobs and growing our economy, for spreading knowledge and enhancing 
civic engagement, for advancing a healthier, sustainable way of life. This is 
our moment. Let's seize it."
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  • » [opendtv] Skepticism greets FCC chief's spectrum promises - Manfredi, Albert E