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Wireless Spectrum

More evidence the US is not falling behind on broadband, but leading the world

The Big Government advocates who try to paint the U.S. as falling behind in broadband so they can justify an activist National Broadband Policy -- have a huge and embarassing hole in their argument -- the U.S. lead in wireless/mobile broadband, including U.S. leadership in transitioning prime analog TV spectrum to mainstream digital broadband use.

  • The World Radio Conference of the UN, which is wrapping up this week in Berlin, indirectly showcases this U.S. lead in mobile broadband.
    • Per the International Herald Tribune, the U.S. is way ahead of the rest of the world in transitioning analog broadcasters to digital and reallocating this best-available spectrum for mobile-broadband use --
      • IHT: "The world is in varying stages in going digital, with U.S. broadcasters switching by 2009, Asian broadcasters by 2015, and most European countries somewhere in between." 
    • So how does being 2-6 years ahead of our international competitors in bringing the best available spectrum for mobile broadband to consumers -- constitute "falling behind" or "a failure of no national broadband policy?"

This U.S. world leadership in transitioning prime spectrum to optimal consumer use is powerful evidence of the superiority of our broadband policy approach, which embraces market forces more than just about any other major country in the world.

WSJ's Mossberg's opinion piece inflames but doesn't inform -- a perverted view of "free" markets

I normally consider myself a big fan of Walter Mossberg's technology reviews in the Wall Street Journal, but for today I am a big critic of Mr. Mossberg's woefully uniformed and one-sided opinion piece on public policy "Free my Phone."

Obviously frustrated at the technical reality that the bandwidth availability of telecommunications devices has not kept pace with the faster growth in computer processing, Mr. Mossberg lashes out at public policy as the cause in an emotional diatribe that illogically concludes that "if the government...breaks the crippling power that the wireless carriers exert today, the free market will deliver a... happy ending."

Unsolicited advice for Frontline Wireless' new Open Access Advisory council

Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless,  is reportedly forming a high-profile "Open Access Advisory Council" for the 700 MHz spectrum auction, which includes "net neutrality" term-coiner and celebrity Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu.

I have two pieces of unsolicited advice for Frontline's new advisory council."

Google's "G-Phone" an alligator versus bear fight?

Google's long rumored Google phone
or GPhone project has attracted a lot of comment and chatter, but not a lot of
good analysis to date. One big exception is a very good article last week by
Miguel Helft of the New York Times: "For
Google, Advertising and phones go together
."

Challenging Google's unsubstantiated claims that its policy best serves consumers

The Google blog continues to essentially argue: what's good for Google is good for America and consumers. We have all heard that self-serving hubris and bunk before...  

  • Mr. Rick Whitt, in the latest post on the Google Public policy Blog  concluded:
    •  "We think the Internet offers the optimal model for what best serves the interests of all consumers. To that end, we hope the FCC sticks to its guns as it tries to introduce the open ethos of the 'Net to a small segment of the closed wireless world."

Let's unpack the hubris and deception behind these assertions.

  • Google is implying that anything that occurred in wireless in the past (B.G. -- "Before Google" entered the wireless world) did not serve consumers well -- and that we should scrap the existing competitive wireless model and adopt the Internet model that... surprise... most benefits Google.

Given Google's assault on the supposed failures of the current system, it is important to review the facts of what the existing competitive model actually has produced for American consumers.

More whining from "Whiny Techies" at SaveTheInternet

The charge that many supporters of net neutrality were economically illiterate by Washington Post's lead business columnist Steve Pearlstein in "Whiny Techies II" a few weeks ago which I posted on, prompted more whining from Tim Karr of FreePress/SaveTheInternet Coalition in a Letter to the Editor.

  • Karr: "Supporters of net neutrality aren't asking that users pay one fee for all grades of access. We want a truly competitive marketplace where people can choose from numerous broadband companies offering access at different speeds and costs."

Let's have some fun un-packing Mr. Karr's disingenuousness.

Call for "National Broadband Strategy" is "code" for a Government Industrial Policy

Senator Kerry's recent echoing of the call for a "National Broadband Strategy" by House Telecom Chairman Markey and FCC Commissioner Copps -- is really a slick coordinated bicameral campaign to reverse current national communications competition policy and replace it with a Government industrial policy.  

Calling for a "National Broadband Strategy"  implies we don't have one when we do -- and it is the law  of the land -- the 1996 Telecom Act -- and it was supported by over 95% of Democrats and Republicans when it passed during the Clinton administration -- and by the way it is working.

  • The purpose of the law is our "national communcations policy/strategy": "To promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower choices and higher quality services...and encourage the rapid deployment of new technologies."
  • The part covering the Internet: ""To preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet..., unfettered by Federal or state regulation."
  • The part covering promoting new technologies, Section 706: "The Commission...shall encourage deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans..."

What's wrong with that national broadband strategy?

  • Nothing.

What's wrong with the progress and achievement of that strategy to date?

  • Nothing.

Lets review the facts, not the spin that those promoting a new industrial policy cannot support with facts.

Frontline Wireless' shameless misdirection to pickpocket the American taxpayer

Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless is proposing more changes to the FCC's 700 MHz auction rules upon reconsiderataion -- so watch your wallet!

Per today's Comm Daily: 

Cities learning there is no wireless "free lunch"

It seems the "pixie dust" of "free" municipal wifi isn't so "magical" after all.

To quote one of my conservative heroes, the late great Milton Friedman, "there is no free lunch."

  • The article chronicles the growing trend that cities around the country are finally learning that simple economic lesson -- which should have been obvious to them from the start.
  • But how could the cities forget the economic truism that "there is no free lunch" and let their expectations so far exceed reality?
    • The answer lies in how many companies, who routinely expect a "free lunch" from communications carriers (like net neutrality supporters: Google, eBay-Skype, Amazon, Intel et.al), whispered in these cities ears that they could easily have free or very low cost wireless broadband access.
      • The problem that these net neutrality/open access proponents brushed under the rug was that building and operating a wireless broadband network, even a lower cost WiFi or WiMax network, still costs a substantial amount of money, and requires substantial resources and expertise to pull off at a minimum quality level.

Bottomline:  What I hope cities take away from this painful lesson is what they were taught when they were young: "if it looks too good to be true, it is."

I am a panelist with Tim Wu at Future of Music Conference 9-17

I am on a Broadband Policy panel on Monday at 4:45 at the Future of Music Summit with a couple of the lead folks who champion net neutrality: Professor Tim Wu, who coined the term, and Ben Scott, of Free Press who has slickly popularized it in close coordination with Moveon.org.

  • Should be interesting, the panel appears to be fairly balanced: one against NN (me) and the rest of the panel avidly for it.
  • Wish me luck.

 Leveling the Playing Field: how does broadband policy affect musicians?

Congress and the FCC are currently working a series of initiatives designed to revise the telecommunications regulatory framework, with everything from spectrum reform, to broadband deployment, to network neutrality on the table. How will proposed revisions impact musicians, citizens and technologists? How does broadband policy intersect with concerns about protecting intellectual property? What would a pro-musician Telecom Act look like?

Charles Bissell Musician, The Wrens

Scott Cleland Chairman, NetCompetition.org

Peter Gordon President, Thirsty Ear

Jason Oxman Vice President, Communications, Consumer Electronics Association

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