Spectrum Inventory: “Same Bed, Different Dreams.”

I find myself in complete agreement with the wireless industry on supporting The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act. This Bill, sponsored by John Kerry (D-MA), Chair of The Subcommittee on Communications of the Senate commerce Committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), requires NTIA and the FCC to account for every MHz of spectrum between 300 MHz and 3.5 GHz within 180 days of the bill’s passage. You can see Kerry’s statement here, and Snowe’s statement in here.

“Same bed, different dreams” was the title of a book by David Lampton on Sino-US relations, and comes from a Chinese expression describing people whose lives are fundamentally intertwined but who do not fundamentally communicate with each other. That pretty much sums up supporters of more licensed spectrum and supporters of more unlicensed spectrum, both of whom very much back this bill. Kerry caught this duality nicely by saluting both the 700 MHz auction and the opening of the broadcast white spaces as demonstrating the value of spectrum access and the need for the inventory.

A bit more on this below . . .

Continue reading

Contrary to Wes Clark, I DO believe that getting shot down in an airplane does qualify one to be President of the United States

I don’t watch TV, but even I know that Retired General Wesley Clark farted very loudly in the Church of St. John McBush McSame McCain two days ago when he opined that

“I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

Au contraire, General Clark!

Heck, George Bush the first got shot down TWICE, and he was president, wasn’t he? JFK didn’t get shot down in a plane, but he got shot down in a boat, which is close enough. Jimmy Carter served in a submarine, which is a boat which gets sunk on purpose, Ronald Reagan acted like his horse had been shot out from underneath him, George W. Bush got grounded by the Texas Air National Guard for being a drunk coke-head, and Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky go down on *him*! I trust you see the pattern here.

By contrast, John Kerry’s Swift Boat Did not get sunk, which proves pretty conclusively, I think, that he was unqualified to be President (although I won’t go so far as to say he was a coward and traitor–let the reader form his or her own opinion, sez I). Digby, that hard-hearted commentator, is actually making fun of the whiney-ass titty-babies of the McCain camp and their perpetual hand-job crew in the so-called national so-called media for the little fainting spell they’re having over Wes Clark’s (horribly incorrect but nevertheless not incivil or disrespectful) opinion about the good senator’s unfortunate encounter with a heat-seeking missile as it relates to preparing one for the Oval Office, so to speak.

After the jump: But what about Admiral Stockdale?

Continue reading

Possible AT&T Shift on Open Access May Signal Seismic Shift In 700 MHz Auction

Until now, the existing incumbents of all shapes and sizes have presented a solid, immovable wall of resistance against any kind of “open access”/wholesale obligation attached to a license. In the context of the Frontline proposal in particular, carriers have railed against it as a “poison pill” that would scare away potential bidders and reduce the projected $15 Billion auction revenue to spare change and half a wooden pencil.

Which makes this tepid expression of possible interest in a Frontline “E Block” license despite an open access condition by AT&T Senior Vice President Robert Quinn Jr. epic news and potentially another major win (on par with support from Senator John Kerry and Presidential candidate John Edwards) for the forces of open access. According to the article — reporting on an interview Mr. Quinn gave to the Center for Public Integrity’s Drew Clark:

“It’s a different business model for us, but one that we’d be looking at,” Quinn said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity’s “Well Connected” Project. “If, in the end, that spectrum is attached to public safety, and for example there’s a wholesale requirement, we’ll take a look at it.”

AT&T is waiting for final FCC rules before deciding whether or not to place a bid. “Our position is that we need to see the specific rules the FCC adopts for the auction before determining our level of participation,” AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris said on Monday. The FCC rules are expected by July.

That looks pretty tame, until one considers the speaker and the context. In spectrum lobbying terms, this is roughly the equivalent of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying that, under the right circumstances, he would accept an invitation to visit Israel and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

More importantly, AT&T’s statement that it would consider bidding on an E Block license with an open access condition has significant implications for the debate about the auction itself. Statements churned out by incumbents and their think tank cheerleaders — such as this Washpo Op Ed from two CTIA consultants/think tank dudes — portray open access as so onerous that it will kill the auction revenue. AT&T’s statement that it would consider bidding on open access licenses demonstrates that such arguments are utterly bogus. Because if AT&T would consider bidding, you can bet your last cell tower that every other major incumbent would conisder it as well. What, sit it out and let all that spectrum go to a rival?

So why would AT&T even hint at a change in position, given how deeply this undermines the “absolutely no, never, you must be mad” rhetoric of the anti-open access opposition? For wild speculations, see below . . . .

Continue reading

Imus bye-bye

So Imus is cooked, apparently. Good riddance. (My letter to the stations in favor of canning him appears below the fold.) Major advertisers have bailed, and now MSNBC has pulled the plug on the TV “simulcast” of his radio show. I would expect that given the nature of the uproar, CBS will throw in the towel by Friday and announce the cancellation of his radio show as well. I hope they do, in any event. Even if they don’t, Imus’s influence will be greatly muted henceforward, as the pressure will be on his guests, and many of them will decide that an appearance on his show isn’t worth the crap that will go with it.

Some people have come to Imus’s defense with either personal or pragmatic arguments. Others have attempted to change the topic with Chewbacca gambits. I give my reactions to these below the fold also.

Continue reading

Kerry drops another good bill

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has introduced the Wireless Innovation Act of 2007. This bill is essentially the same excellent bill to force the FCC to open up the White Spaces that Kerry, Allen (now no longer in the Senate), Boxer and Sunnunu introduced in 2006 and was later incorporated into the Stevens Bill.

The bill requires the FCC to complete its pending rulemaking on the broadcast white spaces and allocate the use for unlicensed spectrum. Given that the FCC has shifted into reverse on this and has decided to reexplore the licensed v. unlicensed question, it’s nice to see folks on the Hill pushing for this.

Stay tuned . . . .