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Why "White Spaces" is just corporate welfare innovation

The Hill has a good article highlighting the growing "battle" over "White Spaces", or the potential for use of the buffer spectrum bands in-between TV channels to ensure that there is no interference with TV signals.

  • What I want to spotlight here is how many in the tech industry seem to think they can carry the word-banner "innovation," like the biblical Ark of the Covenant, to defeat anyone standing in the way of their quest for corporate welfare.
  • The Wireless Innovation Alliance, led by Google and it's "Information Commons" poodles, (the New America Foundation, FreePress, and Public Knowledge), apparently has suckered other tech companies (Microsoft, Dell and HP) into shielding and giving cover for Google's broader information commons public policy agenda -- which is needed in order for Google to fulfill it's megalomaniacal mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."  
  • Moreover, many tech companies must think that "playing the innovation card" in Washington is like an all-you-can-eat ticket to feed at the public trough.
    • Let's get down to brass tacks here.
      • The "White Spaces" corporate proponents are asking the FCC to grant them the functional equivalent of an off-budget earmark for their special commercial benefit -- when the 1993 Budget Act law is clear in its intent that valuable spectrum is to be publicly auctioned for the benefit of the American taxpayer. 
        • The recent  700 MHz auction of similar premium broadband spectrum just raised $19 billion for the American taxpayer. 
        • Yet four companies worth over a half trillion dollars in market cap want to waltz in and get for FREE what their competitors pay billions of dollars for -- all because they have used the magic "open sesame" phrase for Washington's largess -- "innovation!"     
        • What would be the response if four oil companies asked the National Park Service for FREE rights to drill for oil in a public park because it would encourage "innovation" in oil drilling technologies? "...Well sure Big Tech, the taxpayer doesn't care -- please use this public spectrum good for your big commercial benefit because it will spur innovation! Can we give you some fries with that sir?"
      • I am amazed that in an election year, with people worried about the economy and the Federal budget larded up with scandalous spending earmarks granted outside the normal process, Congress is not offended at this blatant end-run of Congress' authority and prerogatives to ensure that the American Taxpayer is fully compensated for the use of public assets under Congress' 1993 Budget Act. 
        • Whether such extremely valuable spectrum like "White Spaces" should be publicly auctioned for the taxpayer or given away for free for the benefit of four corporations worth over one half trillion dollars -- is way above the FCC's pay grade -- and should be decided by Congress -- not the unelected commissioners of the FCC.  
      • Only with Silicon Valley gall, and the cover of "innovation pixie dust" could companies ask for so many billions in corporate welfare during a time of big budget deficits and a slowing economy. 
        • Is their no shame any more?   

The reason many companies have no shame in asking for FREE use of this valuable public spectrum is that they believe in or are sympathetic to Google's broader "information commons" public policy agenda that essentially believes that any Internet infrastructure/spectrum or digital content should be part of a publicly-owned "commons" and not be private property. 

  • Think about it.
  • The only way Google can fulfill its grandiose and megalomaniacal mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally available and useful" is if Google is granted free and open access to:
    • all the world's private networks that comprise the Internet (think net neutrality),
    • all the spectrum that could be used for Internet access (think wireless open access), and
    • all the world's digital content (think of Google's sweeping use of copyright "fair use' for itself that has prompted theft/infringement lawsuits from no less than 6 different content industries, and think of Google's support of Creative commons, open source and copyleft.)    

To mask the broader communalist information commons agenda at play here (they fully understand the agenda would not be popular if people fully appreciated their real anti-property, government-knows-best philosophy/agenda), they have cleverly sub-branded their public policy issues differently for maximum effect and to hide the common link between them. 

  • "White Spaces" is simply the broadcast issue sub brand of information commons.
  • "Net neutrality" is simply the broadband issue sub brand of the information commons and the  the best known issue brand in this happy family of communalist policy sub-brands.
  • "Wireless Open access" and "Open Handset" are are simply the wireless issue sub brand of the information commons, and the most recent sub brands to gain public attention in the 700 MHz auction, because of Google's aggressive lobbying and PR surrounding the auction to promote its new Android mobile operating system.
  • "OpenSocial" is simply the social networking sub brand of the information commons.  
  • "Creative Commons" and "Copyleft" are simply the digital content sub brands of the information commons. 
  • Lastly, "Open Source" is simply the original sub brand well-known in the tech industry as the information commons response to Microsoft's dominance. 

Google and its poodles must think most people in Washington are stupid and can't identify the pattern of a broader political agenda at work -- or can't connect-the-dots that these policy issues have most all of the same people pushing them.

Finally, the four lead companies pushing for White Spaces must also think people in Washington are stupid and can't see the massive corporate welfare give away bulging behind their fancy, but thin "innovation" facade. 

  • The only real innovation here is in how to seek corporate welfare by arguing that you are just doing the public a big altruistic favor...
Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths