Posted by: Bob Quinn on February 16, 2011 at 7:43 am
I was watching Almost Famous last week with my fifteen-year-old son, Matt. In one of the scenes, William Mitchell (the Cameron Crowe character) is furiously typing up his story for Rolling Stone magazine on an electric typewriter in his bedroom. Matt watched for a moment, turned to me and said, “What is THAT.” I laughed and explained to him the amusing story of life before personal computers.
It reminded me about all of the changes that technology has wrought and how my perspective of technology is different than my parents but also different than my kids’ perspectives. It is unfortunate that the same cannot be said for our regulatory system in the United States.
Where each successive generation of technology yields to its replacement, some approaches to regulation fail to yield to new realities and attempt to stop the clock sometime back in 1984, refusing to acknowledge that anything has changed since the breakup of the Bell System. This dichotomy was really brought home to me over the last couple of weeks.
Posted by: Joan Marsh on February 15, 2011 at 10:44 am
After seeing NAB’s latest salvo in the spectrum debate in the Feb. 7 issue of Communications Daily, I have to admit that I agree with NAB on one point: it’s time to move beyond the rhetoric. Let’s dissect NAB’s most recent retort.
First, NAB claims that the “spectrum crisis” rhetoric is overheated. There’s certainly been a lot of (wasted) debate about the phrase “spectrum crisis.” Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you call it: you can call it a crisis; you can call it a crunch; you can call it a duck. What matters is what it means for U.S. wireless leadership and the availability of wireless data services by U.S. consumers.
There is no longer any serious debate that mobile data traffic growth continues to explode. Let’s turn again to the recent Cisco forecast. By 2015, global mobile data traffic is forecasted to reach an annual run rate of 75 exabytes. That’s the equivalent of 19 billion DVDs, or about 75 times the amount of global IP traffic (mobile and fixed together) generated in 2000.
No matter what label is used, these types of growth trends will lead to only one result: wireless network capacity exhaust (a topic appropriate for a separate blog). So, we can continue to mindlessly debate whether there’s really a spectrum “crisis,” or we can get on with discussing how this country is going to manage forecasted wireless data demands while maintaining leadership in the global wireless revolution.
Congressman Peter T. King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson have introduced legislation (H.R. 607) to make more spectrum available to public safety for a nationwide wireless broadband network. The following statement may be attributed to AT&T Executive Vice President of Federal Relations Tim McKone:
“Chairman King’s and Ranking Member Thompson’s strong commitment to and deep understanding of the public safety community are reflected in the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, which they introduced today. We commend their bipartisan leadership in putting forth legislation that clearly outlines how public safety will be able to build and maintain a nationwide interoperable network. Reallocating the D-block spectrum to public safety is the only option that will ensure that both first responders and consumers have state-of-the-art wireless broadband communications during times of need.”
In case you weren’t able to attend last Friday’s Free State Foundation event, you missed AT&T’s Jim Cicconi talk about what the FCC needs to focus on now that we’ve moved on (right?!) from the “exhaustive and exhausting” net neutrality debate that took up the majority of the Commission’s time and energy for the past two years.
In the video clip below, Jim talks about the critical need to tackle universal service and intercarrier compensation reform if we’re serious about achieving 100% broadband in America. These systems, which were designed to be the underlying support for our country’s communication networks, are extremely complicated and, most importantly, undeniably broken. But, if we all believe that broadband will be the economic driver that takes us through the 21st century and beyond, then we have to reform the antiquated policies that stand in the way.
And, if we can agree that the universal service system should be devoted to broadband, then it’s imperative that we fund the most efficient technology to do this. So, if we are truly committed to supporting broadband, then we must be willing to say goodbye to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
President Obama today unveiled details of the Administration’s National Wireless Initiative, which is designed to bring wireless broadband to at least 98% of Americans. The following statement may be attributed to John Donovan, AT&T Chief Technology Officer:
“President Obama has outlined a comprehensive and aggressive plan that lays the groundwork for bringing wireless broadband to all Americans. AT&T applauds the Administration’s support for the role that industry and private investment play in making this important goal a reality. As we saw demonstrated today in Marquette, Michigan, wireless broadband makes possible extraordinary opportunities for both consumers and businesses, as well as for America’s students and teachers.
“This initiative will also enable public safety to build and fully operate a nationwide, interoperable communications network. The Administration’s commitment to provide public safety with the resources it needs while at the same time taking necessary steps to meet the needs of broadband providers is a tremendous step forward for this country.”