The FCC Chairman, leading up to his pitch to Congress, said that he
has stuck as much as possible to a four-point strategy to make broadband
one of the engines of the U.S. economy. He said that first, it is his
FCC's goal to make broadband ubiquitous, with no area of the country
deprived of high-speed broadband goods and services
said, he wants to "unleash spectrum, so that mobile and broadband can
achieve its potential" without spectrum limitations.
Next, said Genachoswki, he wants to see more "broadband innovation
zones," areas where research and development is concentrated, speeding
the growth of related technologies. "If we don't build these, the world
will pass us by," said the FCC chief.
Finally, he said, the
United States must connect every citizen to broadband and make each
person "digitally literate" enough to use and benefit from high-speed
broadband technology. Genachowski lamented that one-third of Americans
have no broadband at home because of cost, or digital illiteracy, or a
simple unawareness of the uses of the technology.
Americans are connected to broadband and capable of using it, "this
increases the value of broadband by 50 percent," said Genachowski.
their annual conversation, Consumer Electronics Association Chairman
Shapiro challenged Genachowski on one point. He noted that the FCC's
charter, to manage the vast realm of communications in the United
States, is "ambiguous," thus causing "uncertainty" among businesspeople
whose activities fall under the FCC's oversight.
Shapiro wondered if Congress ought to re-charter the FCC under a "simple formula that gives much more predictability."
Genachowski said that "expert agencies" like the FCC were given
"flexible" -- not ambiguous -- charters, in order to deal with
unpredictable developments in fast-changing industries such as consumer
electronics. "If we back into a system where, every time we have a new
technology, we need a new law from Congress," said Genachowski, echoing
the public's current deep mistrust of Washington lawmakers, "we'' just
choke off innovation."
Noting that, under the policies of his
FCC, investment in affected industries is up, innovation is up, jobs are
up and U.S, leadership is up, Genachowski said, "There will be no
slowing down on the strategy and the broadband initiatives we are
If spectrum were leased rather than sold by the FCC then economic pressures could drive shifts in utilization. When bandwidth was allocated to an unnecessary function, it could be repurposed. Central control by the FCC would be desirable - otherwise individual companies reselling their spectrum for other purposes could cause interference by conflicting applications.
I see this as a case of greed, all around.
From the corporate standpoint, why does NYC *not* use all of the TV spectrum efficently? Simple. Because the TV content owners prefer to tie their content to media that charge subscribers by the month, instead of using ad revenues alone. The so-called "dual revenue streams," ads plus subscriptions.
And why is the FCC so bent on grabbing that TV spectrum and selling it to similar walled gardens, such as broadband providers? Simple. Because they stand to rake in the proceeds from the auctions, which will of course ultimately be paid for by the broadband subscribers - you and me.
I have always found it distasteful to see this FCC so bent on grabbing TV spectrum to hand it over to broadband providers, even though the mere addition of 100 MHz of spectrum is not where the big payoff is, for broadband providers. Not when you look at the channel widths being considered for 4G. And worse, the low TV frequencies are less than ideal for cellular systems to boot!
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.