Tales of the Sausage Factory

White Spaces and the CTIA Game Changer

The idea of auctioning the broadcast white spaces, rather than opening them for unlicensed use, is not new. It started out as an NAB “poison pill” back in 2005, when we looked like we might be making progress on getting a pro-white spaces amendment in the DTV transition bill that ultimately became the Digital Tranisition Act of 2005. When the FCC reinvigorated the proceeding in 2006, the NAB managed to get the FCC to put the question of licensed v. unlicensed in the Further Notice. But the NAB doesn’t want any neighbors, either licensed or unlicensed, and has focused its efforts until now on trying to kill the whole idea rather than on trying to promote licensing and auctions rather than unlicensed.

But the idea of licensing the white spaces for cellular or backhaul has gained new life recently, particularly after the 700 MHz auction. Both Verizon’s Steven Zipperstein and analyst Coleman Bazelon recommended this in their testimony at the House Telecom Subcommitte hearing on the 700 MHz auction. That comes on top of a serious filing by CTIA on the benefits of auctioning some of the white space and leaving a smidge so that unlicensed technologies can continue to develop.

We’ve now gone from NAB poison pill to serious issue. The proposal has not yet gained traction, but it does not do to underestimate CTIA and its members because, particularly after the 700 MHz auction, a number of its members really need that spectrum. This has the potential to change the game radically, including shifting alliances as the threat becomes more credible.

Analysis below….

Read More »

Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Econoklastic

The 700 MHz Band Auction, Part IIIa: The Classic Pattern and the Mid-Range Competitors

To begin our analysis of strategic options for major actors in Auction 73, 700 MHz Band, it is useful to look at the footprints established by many of those actors in two previous Lower 700 MHz auctions (Auction 44 and 49) and the AWS-1 auction (Auction 66):*
Cellular Market Areas (CMA) Map for Auction 44
Economic Area Groupings (EAG) Map for Auction 44
Cellular Market Areas (CMA) Map for Auction 49
Economic Area Groupings (EAG) Map for Auction 49
Cellular Market Areas (CMA) Map for Auction 66
Economic Areas (EA) Map for Auction 66
Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAG) Map for Auction 66

The Classic Pattern

The classic pattern for an RTC and for most CLECs and WISPs in these auctions is that of Agri-Valley: expansion through Auctions 44, 49 and 66 to attempt to match its landline footprint with CMA acquisitions. In Auction 66 Agri-Valley went for and failed to obtained consolidation in Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, Muskegon, Gogebic, Alger, Cheboygan, Roscommon, and Cass. Expect Agri-Valley to continue this pattern in Auction 73. The same holds true for Whidbey Telephone in Maine in Auction 49, for Hemingford Cooperative in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado in Auction 66, Bluegrass Cellular In western Kentucky in Auction 44, Union Telephone in Wyoming and Colorado in Auction 44 and 66, East Kentucky Network in eastern Kentucky in Auction 44, Fidelity Communications in Missouri in Auction 66, KTC AWS in South Dakota in Auction 66, Public Service Wireless in Georgia in Auction 66, Redwood County Telephone Company in Wisconsin and Minnesota in Auction 44, 44, LL License Holdings in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska in Auction 66, Grand River Communications in Iowa in Auction 44, and Iowa Telecommunications in Iowa in Auction 66. This pattern will continue to hold in Auction 73, and will hold for the vast majority of new entrants in Auction 73: their action will be in the CMAs and to a much lesser extent in the EAs.

More below…

Read More »

Posted in Econoklastic, General | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tonight, a Dramatic Conclusion for the AT&T/BellSouth Telenovella!

In the dramatic penultimate episode of the telecom world’s favorite Telenovella Death Star Reborn: The AT&T-BellSouth Merger, the forces of Network Neutrality and competition win a dramatic victory!

AT&T has submitted a new 20-page letter outlining the conditions it will accept for the merger. Unlike the previous concessions in October, which amounted to little more than a joke and a promotional offer, this set of conditions is quite thorough. The breadth and scope of the conditions leaves me positively breatheless. To mangle Woody Gutherie for a moment:
You shall be neutral, in all your networks
From the first tier backbone, to the retail last mile,
from special access, to the U-N-Es
You shall not leverage market power!

I need a couple of different posts to really cover the implications. But here are the headlines:

1) Network neutrality is required in its fullest form. AT&T cannot prioritize or degrade service based on third party payments or affiliation anywhere between the peering point and the residential “last mile.” So not only has the definition of network neutrality been solidified consistent with that advocated by Save Our Internet and others, but it has been extended from the last mile to the vertically integrated backbone.

2) Residential fixed WiMax is included in the definition of “last mile.” This is the first time net neutrality has ever been applied to a wireless network.

3) AT&T must divest the 2.5 GHz spectrum it would acquire from BellSouth. This addresses a concern raised by Media Access Project and others that AT&T/BS would have an overwhelming spectrum advanatage against other wireless players.

4) AT&T has an agressive build out schedule to provide DSL at 768 KBPS for $19.95/month throughout its coverage area.

5) AT&T agrees to numerous conditions that amount to a return to tariffs and price caps for telecom and DSL resellers and special access (commercial) customers. AT&T can no longer lock competing local exchange carriers (CLECs) or DSL resellers in non-disclosure agreements.

Bonus: AT&T agrees to “repatriate” 3,000 jobs BellSouth had shipped overseas and locate at least five hundred of these “repatriated” jobs in New Orleans.

In tomorrow’s concluding episode, expect the FCC to release the final Order on Friday December 29 and the deal to close immediately thereafter.

Roll credits. Special thanks to Commissioners Copps and Adelstein, for their amazing tenacity and skill. Free Press, Consumers Union, CFA, and the rest of the public interest community that fought like Hell. The tens of thousands of people who filled comments. And Commissioner Robert McDowell, for his amazing act of ethical fortitude.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

I'll miss my ISP when its gone, *sniff*

Sometime real soon now (perhaps as early as tomorrow), the FCC will reclasify DSL as an “information service” and the same rules that right now apply to cable broadband (i.e., none) will apply to DSL.

I have been very happy as a residential phone and telco subscriber to Cavalier Telephone. I’ll sure miss them when they’re gone . . .

Read More »

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales From the Sausage Factory: Telephone Competition in the U.S.

I’m taking the opportunity to post a little essay I wrote when I moved last March. It illustrates the problems of implementing domestic phone competition in the U.S. I have no reason to believe that anyone in either company (Verizon or Cavalier Telephone) were trying to screw us or were playing fast and lose with the rules. Each one was genuinely trying to do its job, and all the people I talked with were uniformly polite, friendly, and well intentioned. I love well intentioned people, they provide me with such great paving stones that the handcart I’m in rides smooth to the end. . .

Read More »

Posted in Life In The Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register