Econoklastic

Same Old, Same Old: How T-Mobile and the Rural Telecommunications Group Propose to Wreck the AWS-3 Auction.

M2Z Networks recently filed a study I prepared for them in the AWS-3 service rules proceeding (07-195) before the FCC.

In this study I identified how a coordinated effort between T-Mobile and the Rural Telecommunications Group threatened to wreck the AWS-3 auction by writing rules excluding technology proposed by key potential new entrants, including M2Z Networks, and adopting disastrous combinatorial bidding rules like those which provided a nearly half-billion dollar windfall for Verizon in the 700 MHz Band auction.

In brief, T-Mobile has proposed a “bandwidth maximization plan,” first mooted in this filing and elaborated here. The T-Mobile plan would split the J Block in half, giving 5 MHz for uplink and joining the other 5 MHz of J Block with 20 MHz of AWS-3 spectrum for downlink. This would force abandonment of the Time Division Duplex (TDD) technology envisioned by the FNPRM in favor of Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) technology favored by T-Mobile.

That might seem innocuous enough at first glance, but it eliminates consideration of a technology which is both more efficient and more robust than T-Mobile’s FDD alternative, and it is never a good idea to throttle new technologies at the bidding of vested incumbents. However, it is more pernicious still in that it aims at excluding the TDD technology on which Sprint, Intel, Arraycom, and M2Z proposed to build a nationwide network, effectively erecting entry barriers to major competitors to T-Mobile.

The irony is that T-Mobile proposes to kill TDD technology in AWS-3 on the pretext of preventing interference between AWS-3 and AWS-1 spectrum (T-Mobile was a major acquirer of AWS-1 spectrum). However, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology conducted extensive testing and found that such interference presented no significant problem. T-Mobile’s justification for the technologically-discriminatory erection of this entry barrier is, thus, a lie.

But it gets worse.

More below…

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

I Am Pleasantly Surprised By Comcast Complaince, But Am Still Nasty And Suspicious By Nature.

Well, after saying that while Comcast might fully comply with the FCC’s requirement to report on September 19, but I expected them to play games instead, Comcast handed me a very pleasant surprise. Not only do they appear to have made a thorough disclosure of their current network management practices and their future network management plans, not only have they submitted the required compliance plan with benchmarks, but they actually served me with an electronic copy. As I pointed out last time, this last was not required but is generally good form.

The downside, of course, is that I must go and actually read the filings. That nasty suspicious nature they beat into me at law school rears its ugly head again. Still, it’s a “problem” I enjoy having so I can’t really complain.

But it looks like Comcast has decided that its best interest lies in complying and getting this behind them (with the exception, of course, of the Petition for Review). While I am by no means ready to lower my guard and drop my own Petition for Review (that nasty suspicious nature again), I give credit where it belongs. At first glance, Comcast appears to have complied as thoroughly as I could wish. Assuming this bears out after proper verification, I hope I am pleasantly surprised a second time when Comcast complies on schedule.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

The Markey-Pickering “Net Neutrality” Bill: Grinding Out One More First Down In The Internet Freedom Bowl.

God knows I love Ed Markey as one of the true defenders of us average folks. Time and again, he has proven himself that rare combination of smarts and political savvy to remain an effective champion against media consolidation and telco and cable interests even when he was minority member. Which is why it always pays to pay attention when he acts.

Markey’s latest bill, The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008, H.R. 5353 (co-sponsored by retiring Republican “Chip” Pickering (R-MS)), would seem at first glance pretty weak gruel compared to his previous bill in 2006. So what lies behind this apparent retreat from an outright ban on ISPs discriminating to Congressional findings, a mandate for some FCC hearings, and a report? After all, with Markey chair of the Subcommittee, shouldn’t he be pushing something more aggressive? I mean, the Dems control both houses of Congress now, right?

The answer lies in the pragmatics of Washington and the recognition that — unlike in the movies — major battles aren’t won overnight. As I have said before, this is a long, messy fight in which both sides invest a heck of a lot of time and energy in positioning themselves and grinding out short yardage plays to advance the ball. Seen in that context, the Markey Bill is a very effective tool for both keeping the debate alive and advancing the ball another ten yards toward the goal post.

Analysis below . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why I Have Decided To Endorse Obama.

So here it is “Super Duper Tuesday.” My own local primary (MD) will not be until next week. And while endorsing a candidate is always a perilous thing for those of us that work in Washington, I have decided to give the Tales of the Sausage Factory Endorsement to Senator Barack Obama.

Why? See below . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Clear Channel Settlement Signals Indecency Running Out Of Steam

The FCC and Clear Channel reached a settlement on all pending indecency proceedings involving Clear Channel. You can read a copy of the Consent Decree and the statements of the various Commissioners here. As usual, I’m more interested in what it means. To me, this says “the Bush Administration wants indecency to go away as an issue.” Surprised?

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