The GAO Makes the Case for Community Broadband

Not that you would know it either from the headline or the general coverage, but the the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, issued its own report that makes a strong case in favor of community-based broadband and against more regulatory goodies for the incumbent telcos and cable cos. Not that the GOA intended to make that case, and they word their conclusions carefully. But dig down into the actual report and you find a lot of good stuff beyond discrediting the FCC’s rosy numbers on broadband penetration and competition.

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A Network Neutrality Primer

For those just tuning in, Network Neutrality (aka “NN”, becuase every public policy deserves its own acronym) has gone from sleepy tech issue to major policy fight. So I have prepared a rather lengthy primer below for folks who want a deeper understanding of what’s happening (at least as of today, May 3, 2006).

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The last wireless believer has left the Federal Building

Michael Gallagher, the Assistant Secretary in charge of the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) is leaving. It looks like a bleak year for those who believe that more spectrum made available to the public will bring greater economic propserity and freedom of speech for all.

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Did I really see that?

On November 29th, 2005, Washington DC experienced a sighting more fantastic than naturalists finding a flock of ivory billed woodpeckers doing figure eights over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Kevin Martin, Chairman of the FCC, stated that a previous FCC report “relied on problematic assumptions and presented incorrect and incomplete analysis.” And he said it about a report on the CABLE industry! The people for whom the FCC lies so often that the Government Accounting Office has twice warned Congress “don’t trust the FCC about cable.”

Oh my stars. Just when I think Kevin Martin can’t impress me anymore he goes and tells the world the FCC issued a bad report last time. I just know I’m in for disappointment once he gets around to ownership, but I’ll take the crumbs I can get.

Why am I so giddy over this, especially when I haven’t taken a stand on the actual substance of Martin’s discussion (a la carte cable programming) and I’m not thrilled with the notion of “family friendly” cable progrmaming tiers? See below . . .

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We take on Chicago and Milwaukee Commercial TV

I had a little unintended hiatus for the last 8 weeks or so. Hopefully, I’ll be back to more regular posting.

To catch up on the news. Media Access Project, where I work, has filed challenges against the licenses of the commercial television stations in Chicago and Milwaukee. You can read the press release here. You can follow the links to the Chicago petition and the Milwaukee Petition. Or you can see my quick analysis about why you should care below.

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My speech in SF

Sorry to go dark so long. I was on the West Coast pretty much all last week, then came home in time for the Jewish New Year. Lots of stuff to blog about and will try to do updates over the next week or so.

Last week, I was at the amzing and cool conference put together by Esme Vos of muniwireless.com. Esme is proof of why the Internet is such a wonderful tool. With nothing more than interest and dedication two years ago, she created the muniwireless website which is now a central news source and repository of information about municipal wifi.

I’ve attached below the speech I gave at the conference last week. It’s 6 pages, so it’s kinda long.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: Unlicensed Spectrum Access Part I

In 2003, “wifi” went from geek toy to mainstream. But WiFi is only part of a much larger revolution in how people access and use the electromagnetic spectrum. Now, numerous competing and ill-fiting anaologies, “property,” “public commons,” “public trust” battle it out among Washington regulators. What’s at stake? While it sounds hyperbolic, this regulatory battle ground holds the key to the next stage of evolution of information technology. This is a background piece. I will post the current developments piece later.

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Tales From the Sausage Factory — The Media Compromise

Hello all.

As this is my first post, a brief introduction. I am Associate Director of a non-profit public interest law firm, the Media Access Project (www.mediaaccess.org). I love communications policy, which as you might imagine is all the rage at cocktail parties. I cannot tell you how many women I have seduced by whispering to them “let me tell you about TELRIC pricing!”

12/24, I’ve moved the bulk of this essay below the fold.

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