Tales of the Sausage Factory: FCC on Wireless–Mostly Snooze But Some Stuff I Can Use

Lost in all the hoopla last week on the Multicast Must Carry Vote (which I can explain in a future column) was the FCC’s Broadband Wireless Report. It’s conclusion – Wireless Broadband Is Good. Policy recommendations: Stay the Course.

Well, it’s a _bit_ more than that, but not much. See below….

I’ve got a call in to determine whether the 15 page document is just the executive summary or the whole thing. I *hope* the main report is longer, given how much good stuff we put in the record. But, here is what it boils down to:

Wireless broadband is super cool.

It comes in licensed and unlicensed flavors, and commercial and noncommercial flavors.

All of this is good. Good good good.

We looooooooove wireless broadband.

Because its wireless! And broadband!

Isn’t that cool?

People are using it for lots of things.

That is soooooo cool!

Deregulation really works!

Lots of pretty pictures and case studies adorn the margins.

The actual policy recommendations are on the last two pages. They include:


1) make more spectrum available, maybe at higher power

2) encourage free market mechanisms to coordinate and avoid interference.


1) More flexibility;

2) Make it easier for people to make spectrum markets so spectrum can be more affordable;

3) Hurry up with that DTV transition! Maybve we should make some of the spectrum available during the transition.

I’d asked for a recognition that non-commercial and commercial WISPs may have different needs. I’d also asked for a shout out for muni systems and a statement that states outlawing muni systems is bad.

I didn’t get either, but I did get a somewhat wussified version. Lots of good noncommercial examples in the margins, and some good examples of muni systems as well. Maybe I’ll get a stronger statement in the full report.

And in some ways, the report is a modest success. When the FCC solicited comment back in May, it was mostly licensed commercial providers filing comments. The WISPs and others were somewhat slower to respond. I’d like to think my non-stop flogging stuff for comment had a little to do with that. At least that’s what I tell the foundation funders.

Stay tuned . . .


  1. Flog away, and continue to give us marching orders.

    By the way, Real Soon Now (I hope) Wetmachine will be set up with an RSS feed for TotSF & a TotSF newsletter signup. That should make it easier for you to help get the rabble organized when there’s a need for concerted action.

  2. An rss feed for TofSF is highly recommended. Quickly!

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