TotSF: The Wireless Circle Jerk

Sascha Meinrath has this blog posting on how Motorola’s acquisition of MeshNetworks is a prime example of corporate welfare gone wild. Of course, in D.C., we call this “the circle of life”. Taxpayers, however, may see it as the Circle of Jerk.

It is unclear to me if Motorola, one of the fiercest foes of expanding unlicensed access, is simply trying to take out a competitor or hedge a bet. I do not expect their filings to change — in fact,I expect them to leverage MeshNetworks as a means of undermining manufacturing comments from folks like Tropos. OTOH, FCC staff are not stupid, and understand how industry filings work.

Stay tuned . . .

UTX OTARD UPDATE

I’m informed by my contacts that the FCC has traditionally exempted colleges and universities from OTARD on the grounds that the relationship is not a standard landlord/tenant relationship. As a consequence, the OTARD declaratory ruling does not apply to UTX or other dormitory situations. The June 24, 2004 ruling did not change any existing OTARD exemptions. It merely clarified that OTARD applied to unlicensed services as well as licensed services.

Looks like the UTX policy is therefore legal. Whether it is wise or not is an entirely different question, and not for yr hmbl obdnt to judge.

Stay tuned . . . .

WIFI and Democracy

Check out this article on high tech anarchy protests during the RNC Convention in NYC. While I don’t condone the illegal uses (e.g., breaking in on protected licensed frequencies), I do applaud the many creative uses of wireless networking — made possible by the FCC unlicensed rules.

And I’m off on vacation, culminating in the community wireless summit. No doubt I’ll have loads to wax eloquent about when I return.

Stay tuned . . .

Buffy Not Indecent, Says FCC

I will confess, I found the entire 6th Season indecently bad. But for those worried that the FCC’s indecency craze will wipe out hot Vampire/Slayer sex in reruns, you may take comfort from the FCC decision located (in PDF) here. For those interested in the FCC tea leaves, I observe it’s a 5-0 decision. Copps and Martin, the most aggressive on indency, appear happy with the idea that suggestive television does not rise to the level of indecency.

Ted Turner rails against FCC and big media

John here, pretending he’s Harold, with a link to a story about the FCC and big media. It’s by Ted Turner of CNN fame, & published in

The Washington Monthly.

His line of reasoning will be familar to loyal readers of Harold’s Tales of the Sausage Factory but it is refreshing to see it coming from the pen of a wildly successful media mogul.

Some tidbits:

Unless we have a climate that will allow more independent media companies to survive, a dangerously high percentage of what we see–and what we don’t see–will be shaped by the profit motives and political interests of large, publicly traded conglomerates. The economy will suffer, and so will the quality of our public life.

Big media today wants to own the faucet, pipeline, water, and the reservoir. The rain clouds come next.

I’ve included one more teaser in the extended section, but you’ll have more fun if you skip that and just follow the link to the article. It’s well written with Turner’s trademark directness, and it’s scary stuff from somebody who knows what he’s talking about.

Continue reading

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Good FCC Order on Unlicensed Released

The FCC has now released the Order it published last week on allowing higher power outputs for “smart antennas.” A copy of the Order in word is available here, and pdf here. My extremely limited analysis below. Headline version: the FCC sidestepped some bad ideas and the order will generally improve the ability of equipment manufacturers and network providers to use unlicensed spectrum more efficiently and at slightly higher powers in existing bands. So call it a good day at the FCC.

Continue reading

Tales of the Sausage Factory: When Good FCC Proceedings Go Bad

I’m getting rather worried as I gear up for two major FCC proceedings that are supposed to be good proceedings for unlicensed spectrum access. Et Docket No. 04-151 proposes opening the 3650–3700 MHz band to unlicensed spectrum (proposed rules in pdf here). The other, ET Docket No. 04-186 proposes opening the broadcast bands to unlicensed spectrum access (proposed rules in pdf here). What could be wrong? See below. I sure hope someone other than me shows up to comment . . .

Continue reading

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Victory is SWEET!

I will have a lot more to say on this later, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision on the FCC’s media ownership deregulation that took place last summer.

The result is a near total victory for MAP and the other public interest clients and the American people. The FCC’s June 2, 2003, deregulatory Order is reversed as not supported by logical reasoning based on the record. The court reverses and remands to the FCC, keeping the old rules in effect until the FCC resolves this mess. The court rejects the FCC’s position that the provision of the 1996 Act that requires the FCC to conduct a review of its ownership rules is “deregulatory” or that it prohibits the FCC from making ownership regulations more stringent. Instead, the FCC is supposed to review its ownership rules and decide whether the public interest requires the FCC to keep the rule, relax the rule, eliminate the rule, or make the rule even more stringent.

More information at our website.

YEEEEEEHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!