700 MHz Public Spectrum at Work on the Gulf Spill

The FCC reported that  emergency agencies in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were able to stitch together a 700 MHz radio network to connect first responders and government workers.   This was an ad hoc telecom effort to, in effect, route callers into the right conference group.

The agencies in these Gulf states created a workable, but still somewhat primitive (compared to what’s coming), radio trunking system to share available frequencies more efficiently and allocate them into separate radio talk groups.

A better solution is in the works.
Continue reading

The Real FCC Plot: Open Internet Access

After the FCC lost its net neutrality case against Comcast, I put on hold a project to review a series of YouTube videos involving Chairman Genachowski. The rough plan was to gain some insight as to how the FCC would approach net neutrality, open internet, and universal access based on Genachowski’s public statements. I wasn’t going to do this alone, instead I would enlist the resources of Crowdflower’s cloud workers to help with the analysis.

That was ages ago (last month). Since then the FCC has announced its plan to place has placed broadband transmission under Title II regulation and has regained the net neutrality high ground. And in response, one well known, respected FCC watcher, Glen Beck, has said that the President plans to regulate the Internet and control the “misinformation” through net neutrality—there was also some talk about Marxism and public utilities.

This was enough to spur me into action and get those videos scanned for certain keywords.Continue reading

National Broadband Plan Has Goal to Study Harder

That’s not an Onion headline. But after perusing a few key sections of the officially released National Broadband Plan I learned that the FCC recommendations involve either more study or vague posturings on important policy debates that have been raging since dawn of time: broadening the universal service fund (USF) to include VoIP carriers (see weakly worded Recommendation 8.10), wholesale access and pricing (see tepid Recommendation 4.7), openness of mobile devices (no recommendations that I can find), and the overall question of whether we have a competitive broadband market (for what it’s worth, Recommendation 4.2).