A very few of us have paid much attention to something called the “Globalstar Petition.” Briefly, Globalstar would like a couple of billion dollars in free spectrum favors from the FCC to offer what it calls a “Terrestrial Low-Power Service” (TLPS) on its satellite frequencies. As Globalstar has the great good fortune to have frequencies right next to the 2.4 GHz band most popular for WiFi, Globalstar hopes to leverage existing WiFi equipment and offer a “paid, carrier grade” WiFi-like service.
Recently, Globalstar attracted my negative attention by trying to leverage a fairly important FCC proceeding to expand unlicensed spectrum use above 5 GHz. Globalstar has raised bogus interference issues in the 5 GHz proceeding, and rather unsubtly suggested to the FCC that it could solve the WiFi “traffic jam” by granting Globalstar’s Petition for spectrum goodies so we could have a pay for WiFi service instead of having more of that pesky free WiFi (you can find Globalstar’s extremely unsubtle quotes here on page 3 and here on page 2.
So it seems an opportune moment to explain:
- What’s going on with the Globalstar Petition;
- What’s going on with the UNII-1 Band in the 5 GHz proceeding;
- How Globalstar are being utterly unsubtle in their efforts to hold the 5 GHz proceeding to try to leverage their ask in their Petition; and,
- How Globalstar’s jerkwad-ittude in the UNII-1 proceeding raises serious concerns about Globalstar’s willingness to play nice with the 2.4 GHz band, which could undermine the entire “WiFi economy.”
More on Globalstar’s truly stellar chutzpah, and why the FCC may want to rethink granting the Globalstar Petition, below . . . .
Based on recent statements, it’s hard to tell whose angrier at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its Chair, Julius Genachowski: AT&T’s Upper Management or the House Commerce Committee Republicans. Mere mention of Genachowski’s name converts House Commerce Committee Republicans, such as Telecom Subcommittee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR), from urbane sophisticated legislators into sputtering mad parodies of Elmer Fudd. “Oooh that wascally Chaiwman! Always wegulating the fwee market! I’ll fix his wagon!” Meanwhile, AT&T CEO Randal Stephenson devoted the main part of his recent earnings call to repeating variations on “Juliuth, you’re desthpicable.”
Posted in Life In The Sausage Factory, Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory
Also tagged AT&T, auction, fcc, Genachowski, Jerry Moran, spectrum, super wifi, TV white spaces, TVWS, unlicensed, unlicensed spectrum, Upton, Walden
Despite the obvious reliance on unlicensed spectrum by Americans every day in the form of everything from wifi to baby monitors to RFID, the current mania for spectrum auction revenues combined with lobbying from companies opposed to the TV white space has put the future of unlicensed spectrum at risk. This is particularly true under the discussion draft circulated by House Republicans last week. That draft would require that before the FCC could allocate any new spectrum for unlicensed use, it would first have to have an auction that would allow companies to buy the spectrum for exclusive use. Only if everyone collectively outbid AT&T or Verizon for unlicensed would the spectrum go to unlicensed use. As Stacy Higginbotham at GigaOm notes, this would have devastating impact on the future of unlicensed and the innovation that comes out of the unlicensed bands.
As if that were not enough, the proposed bill literally allows companies to buy their way out of FCC consumer protection regulation.
We are trying to stop this before it’s too late. Public Knowledge has created an Action Alert asking anyone who cares about protecting unlicensed, or opposed to letting companies literally buy their own rules, then help us this Friday (tomorrow) by telling your member of Congress not to sell off our digital future or let companies buy their way out of public interest obligations. Sign up for the PK mobile Action Alert and you will get a text message tomorrow letting you directly contact your member of Congress so you can tell them why this bill is a really, really bad idea.
I reprint the PK Action Alert below.
Stay tuned . . . .
Posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, I Fear These Things, Life In The Sausage Factory, Media Ownership, Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory
Also tagged congress, fcc, fcc rules, spectrum, Superwifi, TV white spaces, unlicensed spectrum
O.K., Julie opens with a basic summary that technology now lets us do this. Rules recommended are a conservative first step. Appropriate safeguards for interference protection. Now, Hugh Van Tuyl will present the Order. Take it Hugh!
This recent piece on mobile phones that use VOIP through open access points has revived the debate on whether your use of an open access point constitutes “theft” of wifi or “tresspass” into my neighbor’s network.
I’d like to suggest that we flip this and ask a different question: is my noisy neighbor Mr. Lynksis, who blasts his access point into my home thus causing interference and potentially screwing up my own network settings, a public nuisance? And if so, what should I do about Mr. Lynksis, the noisy neighbor that I may not even be able to locate with certainty?
As I argue below, I think we should establish by law that any open access point detectable by standard hardware and software is available for public use (assuming I have a legal right to be in the physical location I’m in when I detect the network). Such a law will poduce positive social benefits, whereas a presumption that use of an open access point is “stealing wifi” produces social costs.
My analysis below . . . .
Sorry to go dark so long. I was on the West Coast pretty much all last week, then came home in time for the Jewish New Year. Lots of stuff to blog about and will try to do updates over the next week or so.
Last week, I was at the amzing and cool conference put together by Esme Vos of muniwireless.com. Esme is proof of why the Internet is such a wonderful tool. With nothing more than interest and dedication two years ago, she created the muniwireless website which is now a central news source and repository of information about municipal wifi.
I’ve attached below the speech I gave at the conference last week. It’s 6 pages, so it’s kinda long.
Stay tuned . . . .
This story at Slashdot should be interesting to “Tales of the Sausage Factory” fans. It seems that the “New Millennium Research Council (NMRC)” and “The Heartland Institute” claim that municipal wifi would be a Very Bad Thing Indeed. There’s only one little snag with this slam-dunk against public wifi… NMRC is funded by the telecommunications industry, and the Heartland Institute won’t reveal who pays their bills and holds their leash. Shock! Suprise!
Personally, I always love the names that these “institutes” and “think tanks” come up with. Nice, wholesome names, aren’t they? Who could possibly argue with the Heartland? Who wants to be a luddite against the new Millenium? (yes, yes, John, I mean besides you.)
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! As recorded in this article about last night’s community meeting in Philly, Verizon has mobilized to squash municipal wifi in Pennsylvania. This little gem, called House Bill 30, is a classic: it provides huge new public subsidies for Verizon while squeezing out competitors. My analysis below.
Posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Series of Tubes, Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory
Also tagged amazing coincidence, comcast, competitor, handful, lobbyists, municipalities, rural areas, unlicensed spectrum