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FCC To Review the Relative Value of Low, High, and Super-high Spectrum Licenses

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the price-check dept.

Network 58

MrSeb writes "The FCC is reviewing the rules it has for spectrum license ownership, particularly on how much spectrum any one company can hold. The FCC is considering this rework because the rules do not currently account for the properties of different frequencies of spectrum. There are three main classes of spectrum for cellular wireless networks: low band, high band, and super high band — but at the moment, they are all valued equally. Given that low band spectrum is valued favorably against high band and super high band spectrum in the market, and that AT&T and Verizon have by far the most low band spectrum, it makes sense for the FCC to adjust its rules in order to more accurately determine how much spectrum any one company needs."

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Corruption!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41205657)

Smoke and mirrors, buddy. It's smoke and mirrors.

Re:Corruption!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41205771)

Smoke and mirrors, buddy. It's smoke and mirrors.

sometimes i like the fcc (like today), but yes it's probably smoke and mirrors :(

Re:Corruption!!! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41208015)

No, it's not all smoke and mirrors. Lower frequencies are valuable for their ability to be received by using relatively large omnidirectional antennas. At higher frequency, you must overcome this by either using much more broadcast power or by using a high gain (directional) antenna. Conversely, microwave and mmwave antennas *can* be made highly directive using relatively small antennas which allows the same frequency to be used in spatial diversity schemes so that multiple users can share spectrum without interference.

Re:Corruption!!! (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41213963)

Higher frequencies also suffer from increased free air loss. Some higher frequencies are subject to rain fade. They drop off very quickly through foliage, and lose more through man-made structures.

Despite the worries about the extra power needed for 4G (only in terms of battery power, the LTE chips not being mature enough to make the digital processing layer basically not matter, as with 3G), my old office in Philadelphia was a good example. This is an old stone and brick building, which usually saw decent (2-3 bar) 3G service. Going to 4G, I typically saw full scale reception in the outer parts of the building, 2 bars or better deep into the building, and got overall better battery life with my new phone, even though all of the suggestions said it would be worse.

Free market under government control. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41205809)

Why do I feel more and more like I'm a Chinese citizen and not an American citizen? Although, apparently the model works... judging by where most of the shit I buy these days is made.

Re:Free market under government control. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41205849)

american system: think you are free
chinese system: accept that the government is the head of the household
your system: living in america knowing that the government is the head of the household
ergo you feel like america is china
ergo you feel like a chinese citizen

sidenote: yes the chinese system works too.
second sidenote: people like to be right when they feel like they are free. the international socio-econo-political system that we created together is more complicated than that.

Re:Free market under government control. (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#41205885)

Why do I feel more and more like I'm a Chinese citizen and not an American citizen?

Hmmmm... yes... let's deregulate the use of spectrum and let the companies actually "compete" for it... freely, no rules, interference and jamming and, why not, hitmen and private armies should be allowed.

Does somehow the concept of commons [wikipedia.org] rings to you too close to communism?

Re:Free market under government control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41205951)

i got the sarcasm of your post and i wanted to add:

a: the government regulated the commons improperly (in their defense it is an evolving tech)
b: some companies ate all the spectrum through purchase, competition, mergers, etc (that's what corporations do)
c: government said oopse and wants to change the regulation (in their defense it does make sense, a bit late)
d: companies are mad (in their defense it sucks to loose something that you think you had)
e: free market people are mad, socialists are happy

the solution should be for Verizon and ATT to guage this loss against the sweet and often ill-gotten gains of building empires and oligopolies on a platform of public funding and natural public resources and STFU. stuff can change you know.

Meanwhile I am going to go patent air, water, and boobies.

Re:Free market under government control. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206287)

e: free market people are mad (missing in their defence...), socialists are happy (missing in their defence...)

Thanks.

Meanwhile I am going to go patent air, water, and boobies.

Sweet... I can patent the earth and the sea bottom, as well as other bottoms - no worries... cross-license and FRAND.

Re:Free market under government control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41206837)

e: free market people are mad, socialists are happy

"Socialism" is required in many cases, and this is one of them. We've seen time and time again that deregulation and letting the markets decide in areas where many people are affected is not efficient or successful.

I've yet to run across someone thumping on the socialism drum that doesn't drive on the interstates, send their kids to public school and plans to take social security and medicare. So apparently SOME socialism is a-okay.

Is the alternative of one or two companies eating up all of the good bandwidth going to result in a positive experience for customers? Ehh...I don't think so. Companies using the bandwidth have among the worst customer service on earth...I don't believe that letting them use bandwidth as a hammer on their competitors and customers will improve that by much.

Re:Free market under government control. (0)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 2 years ago | (#41208433)

I've yet to meet a socialist (yourself included) who acknowledges that there is little to no choice about driving on interstates (or public roads for that matter) and minimal choices for many about sending your kid to public school. I do like this new emerging 'in for a penny, in for a pound' thing being espoused by the socialists. I like to counter it by pointing out how much of their daily lives they effectively owe to large, multinational corporations and use this is as justification for more corporate power.

Roads are paid for by their users via taxes on fuel, tires, vehicle registration. There is little to no ability to get a 'free ride' on public roads. It's not socialism to use something you paid for.
The government has a near complete monopoly on roads. They don't have the overhead of taxes like private company would, they have the power of eminent domain to claim the property necessary for the roads, and finally they have the power of sovereign immunity to protect them from lawsuits when some moron crashes on their road and decides to blame the road's 'owner' instead of himself. This near complete lack of choice means that you can't legitimately criticize, nor can you read too much into a person's decision to use the public roads.

Public schools are funded by the state and local governments via property taxes, bonds, sales tax, income tax, etc. and without choice. You can't choose to to pay for the local school district. If you have kids, they MUST go to school. If you can't afford to pay double for each kid's education, then you'll probably send them to public schools. Again, not much room for choice for most people.

Last time I checked, nearly EVERYONE must pay for social security and medicare. Why is it wrong for me to demand to receive what I paid for?

Re:Free market under government control. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#41210701)

I've yet to run across someone thumping on the socialism drum that doesn't drive on the interstates, send their kids to public school and plans to take social security and medicare. So apparently SOME socialism is a-okay.

One could use the same argument for multinational corporations (or any other large component of the modern global economy). We buy goods and services from them all the time, hence, by your inane logic, we're all closet neo-liberals and/or explicitly approve of everything that multinational does, be it selling cigarettes to teens or labor busting in the Third World.

Re:Free market under government control. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#41210757)

We've seen time and time again that deregulation and letting the markets decide in areas where many people are affected is not efficient or successful.

Perhaps you could name one such example? I wager I'll be able to show in turn either: a) that it wasn't a deregulated market, b) that it was efficient and successful contrary to your assertion, or c) some massive government-based distortion of the market existed.

I find it remarkable how people can make such claims without having decent support for their position or understanding of the subject. I feel confident making such predictions simply because poor outcome, in this case your statements above, implies flawed process.

Re:Free market under government control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41206937)

You are not a Chinese citizen:

China had UHC. In the US, you better have an insurance card or else the medics will code you on the spot.

China has a better justice system. People go to jail who deserve it, not just because they cannot afford a lawyer and CCA demands their private lockups be filled.

Chinese citizens can go overseas for education without a lifetime of bondage to student loans.

Chinese citizens have a country that sorts of gives a shit about them.

Being in the PLA is a real career as opposed to cannon fodder as in the us service. To boot, you get actual combat training.

Re:Free market under government control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207123)

Why do I feel more and more like I'm a Chinese citizen and not an American citizen? Although, apparently the model works... judging by where most of the shit I buy these days is made.

It's not Chinese.

This is likely a pre-election, "OMFG Romney-has-raised-more-money-than-me!" shakedown.

"Nice spectrum you have there. Be a shame if something happened to it."

It's the Chicago way.

Super High spectrum (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#41205825)

Yeah theres a lot of bandwidth available in gamma rays.

Just a few side effects though (like turning into superheroes or dying of cancer)

Re:Super High spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41205861)

good for interplanetary communication? Nasa FTW?

Right now we use them for sattelite and cellular backhauls.

Re:Super High spectrum (1)

rhavan (1755044) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206053)

You just have to be careful as to what show you're watching at the time. I'm sure any superhero who gained their powers during a taping of Jersey Shore would rather have been given death.

ownership of the spectrum (1, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41205891)

Privately allocating the radio spectrum is only marginally more stupid than privately allocating land. It's a shared resource and should really be allocated according to need rather than on the basis of bidding wars / trade / etc. In particular, it is absurd that individual private companies obtain exclusive access to invaluable ranges where either multiplexing could occur.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41205959)

What is need? I need a haircut - in fact I need one every week, as long as someone else is paying.

The radio ranges are not invaluable. In fact, lots of people have gotten rich by getting politicians to tip the rules in their favor, allowing them to get a license while excluding others. They have a particular value, which should be set by the highest bidder.

It would be difficult for the FCC to monopolize the market more than it already has. Let the market operate like it always has when people have let it.

Yes, there's a limited amount of wave lengths. There's a limited amount of everything.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (5, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206027)

What is need? I need a haircut - in fact I need one every week, as long as someone else is paying.

In what sense is the cutting of your hair based on the allocation of licences to exploitation of natural resources?

The radio ranges are not invaluable.

Yes they are. They're not the product of man's mind. You can't create more frequencies by re-investing your profits.

In fact, lots of people have gotten rich by getting politicians to tip the rules in their favor, allowing them to get a license while excluding others.

There's the problem - exclusive access.

They have a particular value, which should be set by the highest bidder.

You only get to put stuff you own up for bidding. This is either something you create or something that has been freely traded after being created by something else. The spectrum comes under neither of those categories. A free market, at least, does not give an unfair advantage to people who happened to have some amount of money available when a government felt in the mood to give exclusive rights to something.

Let the market operate like it always has when people have let it.

Innovate; consolidate; stagnate; profiteer?

Yes, there's a limited amount of wave lengths. There's a limited amount of everything.

And you have the rights to the limited fruits of your limited labour. IOW, no-one should be able to tell you that they own what you make.

What part of, say, a 100kHz band at 14MHz was the result of anyone's work?

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206115)

Haircuts services are one commodity. Frequencies are another.

Indeed if someone were to be sold a true range of frequency, then they'd have an incentive to invest in technology that increased the accuracy of receivers. Of course we have more radio waves available, in an economic sense, than we did in the past. Technology improves.

There's no exclusivity like licensure. Appropriate the spectrum and it will be traded much more freely.

As far as the free market goes in general, I should be able to defer to Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine: "the freer the better." I hope this will at least get you to reconsider.

Radio technology as humans can use it was made by people. There will be a lot more drive to improve and expand technology when the pieces belong to someone.

As a general note, I think there are certain things commonly believed on Slashdot with very little evidence. I would love to be convinced otherwise, because that would make things easy. But competition and rigor are never easy, of course. Competitive markets just happen to be the best thing we know of to create prosperity across the board.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (2, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206535)

Haircuts services are one commodity. Frequencies are another.

No, that's not how a "commodity" tends to be defined. A commodity is something which is produced or sourced. In the narrowest definition, it's what's produced, i.e. goods or services. In the "commodities market" sense, it encompasses raw materials, foods and even electricity. Availability of a natural resource cannot be treated like something which is produced or sourced.

Indeed if someone were to be sold a true range of frequency,

To sell something, you have to have a legitimate owner. Unless the government is the default owner of everything, there is no right in the first place to sell some range of frequencies. You may offer some argument based on who has done work to make something available, but the first man to mine some coal does not have a claim to all the coalmines in the world (to which the same mining technique can be applied). At best, he has a patent on the mining technique - just as radio equipment engineers may have secured patents on various stages of the transceiver, or a particular modulation method.

then they'd have an incentive to invest in technology that increased the accuracy of receivers.

Maybe. There is no guarantee that "owners" of various bandwidths would use them in a way which benefits the majority. There is no guarantee that one single firm doesn't end up buying them all up. A natural monopoly cannot be overcome by simply having some other guy create a competing good/service.

Of course we have more radio waves available, in an economic sense, than we did in the past. Technology improves.

We have more efficient usage of finite useful bandwidth (sometimes!). But that's not an argument for anything - especially since some of the most efficient long-distance protocols were created by public enterprise (academic and military) and by radio amateurs.

There's no exclusivity like licensure. Appropriate the spectrum and it will be traded much more freely.

"will" = "might". I see no reason to believe that traded spectrum is going to be used more efficiently than spectrum managed at various levels. It's not like some other guy can just create a competing spectrum - and there's the rub.

Radio technology as humans can use it was made by people.

The tech is not the same as the airwaves, though. Shipbuilders or deep-sea cable layers do not buy the oceans. Airplane builders do not buy out the skies. And see above re legitimate sale.

There will be a lot more drive to improve and expand technology when the pieces belong to someone.

Alternatively, there may be no drive because a group of consolidated owners don't have to worry about competition any more.

Competitive markets just happen to be the best thing we know of to create prosperity across the board.

They work well sometimes. Not everything is a nail. Absolutism is the burden every intelligent young person has to lift from their shoulders.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206699)

Radio waves are of course produced by people. The laws of nature aren't, but that's not what's being sold. The auction would be particular frequencies over a particular area. Man invented these frequencies as much as we invented any cut of stone.

How would anyone have gotten to be a legitimate owner, under your principle? Should any new resource not be appropriated? All that is happening is people are deciding to release the use of a particular wavelength over their land, in order that it be used at all.

The guarantee would be the same guarantee that anything gets to benefit anyone. Nothing is different in this case. Do dairy farmers make milk for people in Seattle because they love the people in Seattle?

Government tends to create things when they have a competitive need to create something. In the case of long range communications, they were competing against other militaries. How will the government innovate with regard to the domestic market?

The reason that you'd think privatization would make things improve is by looking at a history book. Invention tends to come from the desire to make money. The desire to have more tends to force people to create desirable things.

For ships and airplanes, traffic is only a problem at ports. And an employee of a company can surely manage those signals. No different are the appropriations of who will handle any other kind of signal. If someone has built an undersea line in the path of your planned line, such that it hopelessly blocks yours, surely you'd wish the option to buy the line rights was available.

Price fixing schemes never seem to last. Each of the members would gain by under-bidding his associates, as long as his place in the market is not secured by a license (which could be threatened by cronyism). The only thing that keeps competition from occurring is a government intervention keeping the barrier to entry out.

As I've just written, a competitive market would be much better than one planned by friends of the government.

People tend to ask "which singular, central plan should we implement?" It's like the question "which God created the universe?"

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206965)

I think you are confusing between particular radio waves or particular stones cut in a particular way, and the ability to produce a particular radio wave or create a particular cut.

Regulation is necessary because there is no alternative spectrum if your scheme doesn't work out. Meanwhile it doesn't matter if some group of dairy farmers don't want to provide milk to Seattle any more - someone new without the anti-Seattle thing can always step in and produce.

Military competition between governments is very different from the competition of a capitalist market. Anyway, key components of the modern Internet were produced through government-funded academia - Berners-Lee always comes to mind, his motivation having been to assist cooperation.

The rest of your post is not coherent to me, sorry. I'm not sure what you mean by "singular, central plan" - there are various authorities responsible for managing various parts of the radio spectrum, and most of them continually review their allocations in the light of the interests they serve. Long-term licences in the UK - the nearest we have to an absolute sell-off - have resulted in potential natural monopolies becoming realised as actual monopolies, e.g. Arqiva owning almost all the digital TV and radio broadcast network and in the radio case sticking with the lame, FM-trailing DAB.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207199)

The first sentence; I think we're both confused. Surely the demand for brick and sculpture drives efficiency, method and technique. There's a natural element with everything, and a human articulation. As to whether the wavelengths exist if there were no waves made by us, that's for other philosophers than ourselves. :)

Surely the government has power to take rights away, provided there is a market failure. The tragedy is that regulation tends to have good effects in the short term, and bad effects in the long term. The converse is true of free competition. It's a drug, to react via politicians.

I would admit that most of the internet was created as a means of keeping the US military organized over a long range, and quickly between the Pentagon and other departments. But the competitive drive there was obvious. With our domestic market, the need to improve cannot come from naming a small handful of companies utilities.

By central plan I don't mean a monolithic plan. It can change, surely. Would it not be better to have multiple parts incentivized to change as much as possible? I think you conflate a crony system of ISPs and telecoms like we have now, created by the licenses and regulations, with a much more free and competitive system. A comparison could be made with trucking. Sure, the roads are owned by the government and we may not be smart enough to sell those. But of the licenses to drive a truck from one place to the next given out by the ICC were a disaster. That was a case of too much centralization.

If the airwaves are auctioned off, they could be forced back into public hands in an emergency. If we have the courage to let the market stay around, I doubt we'll need to.

-winmine, with a bad karma now

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41214309)

The problem with spectrum allocation is a technical one, too. You can't simply dial in the arbitrary frequencies you'd like to use in a place. Even with modern cognitive radio, this is limited, and leads to hardware that's much more expensive and less efficient than it would be otherwise. Your pocket cellphone, for example, would use on the order of 4x-5x more power if it had to cover arbitrary frequencies... and you'd have a big, ugly antenna to swap on/off, depending on the "wild west" assigned frequency used for the current stretch of road you're on. And a different one in another 20 miles, etc.

Current technology is already struggling a bit with the need for 5-6 frequencies and 3-4 antennas per cellphone. And that's still few enough bands to use much higher efficient, lower voltage PAs and LNAs and all. Once you have to tune in one 2.5MHz-10MHz channel anywhere in 2GHz+ of spectrum, practical radio is set 30 years behind.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41216867)

Radio waves for cell phones should be for cell phones. Radio waves for stereos should be for stereos.

That's a different problem than the very limiting licensure scheme we have now.

Although, I suspect if there were no regulation on which parts of the spectrum were to be used for different devices, technology would come about that mitigated the problem. That's more speculative, though.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223855)

Just consider amplifiers. There are now dozens of amplifier topologies, or "classes", in use. Some pretty clever ones, like class F, G, and H use techniques only really suited to the computer age -- modulated power supplies, digital pre-distortion to cancel out defects in the driver transistors, etc. Thanks to these, you can get in excess of 95% efficiency (particularly in the case of some of these more advanced digital techniques). The one problem: every one of these amplifier topologies is frequency specific -- you have to tune it to a very specific frequency band to get good performance. With one exception: the Class A amplifier. Which delivers about 20% efficiency in practical use. So basically, you either have a single very, very inefficient amplifier that can transmit just about anywhere, or a bunch of separate amplifiers for specific bands. Guess which one everyone's using?

That's one of several big problems in building radio systems that can just tune anywhere. And you still need rules to decide what frequencies to use, in order to have a conversation. If it weren't the FCC, we'd be just as much as the mercy of some industry standards body. Just like Wi-Fi... there was no mandate that Wi-Fi go on 2.4GHz (though sure, that was one of only a few ISM bands available). But the industry standardized on it anyway, just to get the radios talking to one another. If you want Wi-Fi on another frequency, you basically have to build a frequency transverter system to convert your band of choice to something around 2.4 or 5.8GHz (hint: I designed a frequency transverter device, with PAs and LNAs, to allow Wi-Fi signals, standard and not-so-standard, to be used at frequencies from 50-2000MHz).

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223915)

I should point out (before I get smacked down on it) that, yes, there are variable tuning elements... mostly, electrically adjustable capacitors. There are the old school variactors (it's a diode with a bias voltage that varies it's parasitic capacitance based on the bias level), and more recently, some MEMS devices. They're not very good. You don't really get to re-tune an entire circuit in arbitrary ways. It's far more like bending, on a harmonica reed or guitar string. You have a fundamental tuned circuit, and you can vary the tuning over a range, but as you move off the fundamental, the quality goes down. So this is not the best solution.

There are also digital modulation schemes that are pretty frequency independent, but you still need the analog front-end. At very low power (Wi-fi in the office sort of stuff), no one cares about the inefficiencies of Class A amplifiers. On mobile devices, you better care.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41214203)

Indeed if someone were to be sold a true range of frequency,

To sell something, you have to have a legitimate owner. Unless the government is the default owner of everything, there is no right in the first place to sell some range of frequencies.

We the People are the default owner of everything. That ownership is administered though our representative government. At least, that's the theory. And in these cases, the government does function as the best neutral party available. It would function better if our elected representatives weren't so easy for large business to bribe. But there is a very limited spectrum, and radios need near continuous and realtime access to this, particularly for longer distance communications, particularly for broadcast.

The new White Space rules should be an interesting case of a "polite free-for-all". This is going to attempt to let much of the normally unused broadcast TV spectrum be used for other things, like point to point fixed wireless. The initial rules were very difficult to comply with, and have been made somewhat better, but it's still throwing additional technology at the problem, to prevent the whole system from collapsing under interference.

Maybe. There is no guarantee that "owners" of various bandwidths would use them in a way which benefits the majority. There is no guarantee that one single firm doesn't end up buying them all up. A natural monopoly cannot be overcome by simply having some other guy create a competing good/service.

Right. Or even use them at all. If you can just grab spectrum, like land, there's no guarantee it'll be developed. Or used for something beneficial to the People, ultimately the actual owners of the spectrum. That's a key thing -- spectrum isn't owned, it's licensed. For a specific purpose. If the company holding that license violates the terms, they lose the license. These licenses have to be renewed regularly, so the FCC can ensure they're being used properly. Particularly for new technology, there's a grace period after a spectrum auction, but if any of the winners of that auction don't develop the intended technology, they lose the license. Period.

And there's the rub. Certainly Verizon and AT&T want more spectrum -- they have a working business model, and know how to turn that spectrum into 40%+ profits. Good for them. But a number of the winners of recent auctions haven't done anything with it yet, and they've been selling off licences to some of the big guys, in order to get some cash back on that investment, rather than lose it all. AT&T also had the unfortunate issue of T-Mobile -- their buyout failed, AT&T owed T-Mobile a big chunk of money. T-Mobile was hurting for spectrum -- they really didn't have any available for real 4G (and what they have for 3G is higher frequency AWS band slots). So AT&T's paying off some of their debt to T-Mobile with spectrum.

And in reality, sure, they act like they own it, because in practice they do -- you have to something terribly heinous, once granted a license, to lose it. But that can change over time, too, if there's a reason for it.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206187)

And you have the rights to the limited fruits of your limited labour. IOW, no-one should be able to tell you that they own what you make.

Up to a point. You need to put a certain portion of those fruits into a common kitty that pays for stuff that benefits everybody, like having a road to drive on or an army to protect you from other countries. And yes, pays for protection and allocation of natural resources so that nobody takes too much.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#41210727)

You need to put a certain portion of those fruits into a common kitty that pays for stuff that benefits everybody, like having a road to drive on or an army to protect you from other countries.

And if that was all that governments funded, then we'd all be paying considerably less in taxes.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41205969)

Yes, it is the wrong approach.. and while rationing may or may not be justifiable at this time, the FCC should focus on more creative use of the spectrum. The only real limit is our knowledge. But, profit is king.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206153)

Your position follows, I hope I don't seem to be stretching, the same logic of limiting contraceptive options to that of abstinence.

Could not people be induced, via a simple profit mechanism, to be creative?

Wouldn't an auction that allowed anyone to participate get bidders from far and wide? Licensure is surely the most the abstinence of the telecom world. It only ever seems to work for the higher-ups.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206315)

I hope I don't seem to be stretching...

You're more than 'stretching'. That was a horrible analogy, made no sense at all. I am against rationing, but if they are, the frequencies should be licensed to those who can provide a best use scenario, apply a sort of 'community standards' if you will,, as opposed to simply the highest bidder, who will only try to extract maximum profit and restrict access. That's like giving the best beaches to the giant hotels, who then block all the access roads.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (0)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206393)

How does a hotel make money off a closed beach?

Should everyone be made poorer because beaches are fun?

Who decides what the best use is? Inevitably, history has shown that the deciders tend to make friends with people who bribe them. If there's open competition, there's no one to bribe and everyone plays by the rules.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206469)

How does a hotel make money off a closed beach?

Please, don't play dumb with me. Exclusive beaches bring in more guests. The locals are denied access without paying the hotel. Most civilized countries prohibit private ownership of the beach for exactly that reason. But a hotel can still make you walk miles around their property to get there. Granting exclusivity of the spectrum does the same thing. So we need a way to ensure that the exclusivity can be revoked where there is abuse.

The viable options for 'best use' can be presented to the public for them to choose. It won't eliminate corruption, but it might mitigate it down to a more tolerable level.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206565)

So there's more people enjoying the beach without anyone being taxed to fund it.

I don't see the problem.

Why should property rights suddenly be suspended for beaches?

It's much less efficient to decide things by popular vote than to divide the spectrum up and allow numerous competing companies to provide the best service possible. It sounds plausible to just put an angel in charge, but there has never been an instance observed of a central authority doing better than a free competition.

Why do we bother with sports matches? I'm sure a very accurate estimation of each player could be formulated, and then these numbers ranked from highest to lowest, and we'd never have to bother. Everyone knows that models always do great at predicting reality.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206603)

Dude, you're just trollin'... Have a good one.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206787)

I happen to be sincere, but as an aside you should know that every troll statement has a congruent, polite, and very boring question.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41206663)

So there's more people enjoying the beach without anyone being taxed to fund it.

You know that beaches existed before there were taxes, don't you?

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206747)

The beach has to have a lifeguard, yes? People to clean the beach, etc. Who pays for it? Who do they pay to? Who sends the lifeguard a check?

The government doesn't pay it. The beach doesn't pay it. Only people can pay. The question is, under which system will the costs be lowest for the best service.

Compare how often your library is open to how often Barnes and Noble is open. Their return policies, about the same. Reading conditions, about the same. Barnes and Noble is cheaper if you want to keep the book, and they're nicer about it. The library surely has a higher budget, which is paid by people whether they use it or not.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41206959)

The beach has to have a lifeguard, yes? People to clean the beach, etc. Who pays for it? Who do they pay to? Who sends the lifeguard a check?

The government doesn't pay it. The beach doesn't pay it. Only people can pay. The question is, under which system will the costs be lowest for the best service.

Gosh this is a silly and selfish argument. You exaggerate costs to justify privatizing what is a public resource, just like national parks. Of course, a popular beach will have costs associated with it, but a properly managed popular beach will be more than profitable for the local community through the commerce it attracts.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207319)

I don't see how it is selfish to want people to keep their money, but not selfish to force their hand on something they may or may not use.

If a beach is popular, why not let someone own it and run it? The problems of pollution and safety will be reduced if the success of the beach is strongly related to the success of particular individuals.

Japan has parks like we do, and many fewer of them are publicly owned.

-winmine, with bad karma

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206677)

Why should property rights suddenly be suspended for beaches?

Property rights are the principles which result in the protections offered by society to allow you to enjoy your property. They do not imply the potential to own everything.

there has never been an instance observed of a central authority doing better than a free competition.

This one is pointless to argue against as-is because it inevitably ends up with a no true Scotsman fallacy whenever a counterexample is put forward ("ah, but that wasn't truly free competition!"). But it is productive to compare systems before and after significant state intervention, e.g. the National Health Service in the UK, or the Internet vs. half a dozen competing private internetwork providers pre-1995, to see that regulated authorities sometimes provide something much better.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206769)

What keeps me from owning all the houses that wouldn't keep me from owning all the beaches?

Surely there are more ISPs than there were before. What regulation changed?

I should have been more exact, you're right. There has never been an instance of a free-r market doing worse than a more centralized one.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41211769)

What keeps me from owning all the houses that wouldn't keep me from owning all the beaches?

Exactly the same thing which enables you to own your computer: society.

Surely there are more ISPs than there were before. What regulation changed?

Depends on the timescale. There are far fewer ISPs here now than there were in the mid-late '90s, despite deregulation, because firms have consolidated. But there were more in the late '90s than say the early '90s - before around 1993 there wasn't much web to fuel the demand for residential Internet (the average man cares little for Usenet ;'( ).

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41214507)

It's not just firms consolidating, but technological evolution leading to different barriers to entry.

It was relatively simple to set up a POTS ISP. We had this great phone system, the product of the government-approved AT&T monopoly. So the infrastructure existed, all you needed was to set up your bridge network from the phone to the internet, and virtually everyone was already wired in. Back in the 90s, an old buddy of mine started an ISP... it didn't need a huge company.

To build a competitive ISP now, you need to lay cable or fiber. Or, as a fill-in, launch satellites. This changes the game entirely.

It's curious that, if things had gone differently in the 60s and 70s, it might have once again been the public/private phone system wires carrying the load. The analog infrastructure needed back then for PicturePhone would have been ideally suited to fairly modern broadband.. the video needed a reliable 1MHz channel, plus the extra channel for voice, closer spaced amplifiers, bridges to T2 lines for longer hauls, etc. Better than 3x what you got over POTS, and with the digital infrastructure as well already routed.

Sure, there wasn't that much compelling about the PicturePhone itself, and the price was relatively insane. But the trail blazed by that technology would have been crazy. Until the Internet, there was no driving force for higher bandwidth at the consumer leaf, only for trunk traffic. And for most other purposes, the problems had been solved... consider that the T1 was developed in 1961 -- that's why you can get a T1 anywhere you can get POTS.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41216809)

>Exactly the same thing which enables you to own your computer: society.

But somehow nobody is able to own all the computers. There's a limited amount of materials for those.

Say that your worry comes true, and all the beaches are bought up by the rich. And they charge 10,000$ a day for admission. People will go to gym pools, their apartment pool, etc. There will be a huge gap in the market, though, for cheap, clean beach admission. Whoever gets to that market first will make a lot of money.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41224071)

Depends... you're basically describing the Jersey Shore. Most New Jersey beaches are not free. In the North, you have Sandy Hook, which is free, being a national recreation area, but you have to pay to park your car, if you're parking in the beach lots. Pretty much everywhere down the cost, the beaches are owned by the towns they're in, and you have to buy a beach tag. This is in part to pay for life guards, in part for beach cleanup, and in a big part for beach maintenance. Left alone, most o of the sand on most of the beaches would wash away. So every so often, each town has to pay the Army Corp of Engineers (usually) to dredge up some sand to re-fill the beaches.

The fees don't stop the tourists. In fact, most of the Northern and Central beaches are absolutely packed with people, on any given day.

Except Wildwood. That's basically where all the sand goes. So they don't have the shrinking beach problem. And they have a very large boardwalk, so local taxes cover the cost of beach cleanup and lifeguards. But this, too, is self-regulating ... Wildwood is about the most remote point down the shore. You can go to Wildwood most days and find plenty of open space on the beach (for some weird reason, you'll also find Canadians everywhere, at least in the "official" summer season, which just ended last weekend... haven't figured that part out)

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#41205993)

Meh, the real answer is somewhere between the extremes. Sometimes it makes sense for a single entity to have exclusive use of some band, and sometimes it makes no sense at all. You do not really want multiplexing for satellite base stations or RADAR; we really do want it for Internet service.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206083)

Indeed, the argument must always be based on technical need - and, where there are competing providers, on the basis of equitable access.

In practice and to take a physical counterpart, Ofcom has been slowly but surely requiring BT (the ex-state and still vaguely regulated UK telecoms provider) to allow competing companies to make use of its ducts and poles. Where natural monopolies are otherwise inevitable, you require physical or technical sharing of resources. That certainly doesn't mean that other providers get free access, but that no company can profit merely from having a natural monopoly.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

winmine (934311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206201)

I think policies that desire to limit natural monopolies in the short term, tend to extend the life of natural monopolies in the long term.

Say a company was introducing broadband for the first time into a community. They want to charge 10x the rate in the neighboring town. Why not let them? Their business will be tinier than if they charged a comparable rate. Competitors would be flooding to the relatively fertile market; the first company having done a lot of marketing work for them.

After a tedious amount of time, the community will have lots more companies doing broadband than there would be under a forced duopoly. And prices will be the lowest around.

Re:ownership of the spectrum (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207961)

Privately allocating the radio spectrum is only marginally more stupid than privately allocating land

Assumes facts not in evidence. I think "privately allocating land", which most people call private property, is the most efficient and harmonious way to do it. Spectrum is probably the same.

better provisioning (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207791)

Considering how much of the spectrum Verizon owns and the pretty decent size more of the spectrum that it has purchased from various other companies, I believe Verizon has by far the largest portion of the newly (relatively speaking) auctioned off wireless spectrum. But it hasn't done a hell of a lot with it, in fact most of the spectrum they've bought so far I'm pretty sure is still completely unused by them. WHY?

If they have all these hundreds of millions or billions of dollars laying around to buy up more and more spectrum then why haven't they invested that into more towers or upgrading them with much much better new equipment? 4G coverage sucks... I don't care what others say, it's great when you have it but for a lower frequency it doesn't seem to penetrate into walls or obstructions better than 3G.

  I live in an area with perfect or near perfect 4g signal strength on my galaxy nexus or any other phone. drive 1-2 miles either direction and it's extremely spotty, switching between 1-2 bars of 4g(maybe) to 3g and a lot of times the 3g connection is shitty and barely usable as well. Try going into a store like Meijer, Walmart, or Best Buy and you will find yourself lucky to have any data signal at all and voice calls are very hit or miss with extreme interference and drop outs. Which is something that was not an issue previously when 3G was top dog. Back when I bought my Original Droid (on Verizon) I could go into any of these stores and while, yes my reception would go down a few bars of 3g, I could get calls just fine and I was able to use all the new fancy bar code scanning apps to see reviews and compare prices without any issues whatsoever, especially inside Best Buy.

Now I go into any of these stores and I pretty much completely lose data. I can't scan anything or if i do, with like Google Goggles I have to use the "save for later" feature. 4g should penetrate better into the stores, but it doesn't, heck it doesn't even propagate into the damn parking lots. I can park in various random areas of even an empty parking lot for major grocery stores and put my phone on the dash or the seat next to me and watch it go from 1-2 bars 4g down to 1bar 3g to full 4g all the way down to no signal at all, back up to 3g....etc etc with no real apparent reason (I'm not moving nor touching it and weather can be just perfect out).

Though I have observed that vehicles with satellite radio seem to wreak havoc with 3g and 4g signals in like a 15-25+ ft? radius around the vehicle. you can have a decent data connection and as soon as someone with xm or whatever drives buy you almost completely drop your data and end up with webpages giving you the, "sorry a connection could not be established, Retry?" and after they get a decent ways from you, BAM, back to normal with fast speeds.... >

I just think that if a company has all this extra money to buy more and more spectrum it is not even using and may never use, why isn't it pouring it into more workers to put up more towers with new and better equipment to support more users and cover more area?. It's already bad enough with their horrible move tying to remove all unlimited data users, even those who don't abuse it. But if you are going to cut someones unlimited data plan and into some shity overpriced, low data plan, than they very damn well should expect and DEMAND to have good 4g coverage EVERWHERE even inside most stores (Big huge reinforced office buildings that are like sky scrapers or even 5-10 or whatever stories tall I can understand, that is a lot of material blocking signals, especially in the basements. but a grocery store? the parking lot? shame.

This is probably the reason they don't trust their network enough to move voice to 4g like it's supposed to be, because they know that their 4g is not up to par and they will have a mob with torches and pitchforks outside their head quarters if they tried (right now anyways). If i can't even check a simple text email, I don't think a voice call will be of any usable quality if it even worked at all (if it was voice over 4g).

They really really need to bring back unlimited and put that money to use by substantially improving coverage and the quality of that coverage. they need to USE the spectrum they bought. Otherwise I think the FCC should hold onto all of this spectrum, even the purchased and paid for parts until the companies actually start to use it. Not much point in having them have tons of spectrum they will not use for years and years or perhaps never use.

anyways end rant...

Re:better provisioning (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41214599)

If you're getting worse connections on a 4G phone than your 3G phone, in the same places, etc... it's not 4G, it's your phone. After all, if the 4G connection can't be kept, you'll drop back to the same 3G connection you had previously. In fact, there are Android apps that force 4G off, entirely.

Sure sounds like you just got a crappy Galaxy Nexus. I have a GN too, and it replaced an O.G. Droid. I'm certain the O.G. Droid did a slightly better job of pulling in the 3G signals... I get slightly less performance in 3G areas that I did on the Droid. Nothing all that profound, usually insignificant.

On 4G, at least some places I could really measure, day to day (since daily traffic, weather, and other interference factors make it impossible to judge a system like this on a single day's testing), in areas with 4G towers, particularly indoors, I had far better success with 4G than 3G. Can't say how much of that might be due to less contention, but with my new phone at my old job, I was in Philadelphia, in a building that should have been RF trouble. Given that I design RF systems, I knew from first-hand experience the issues with this building. But 4G was a dramatic improvement over 3G, on signal strength and daily battery life.

I do agree about coverage. Verizon did claim they'd have LTE on every cell sometime in 2013. I have been seeing it in unexpected places more, lately. But nowhere near home. Of course, I can't get any wired internet to my house, either... to far into the boonies. I figure, if they were honest about this, we're getting our upgrade that last week they're doing the upgrades :-(

Easy as figuring k of RAM (1)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 2 years ago | (#41209655)

Determining how much spectrum anyone needs should be nearly as easy as figuring out how many Kilobytes of RAM anyone could possibly ever need in a personal computer. I'm confident the government should be trusted to make these kinds of decisions instead of doing something so unseemly and commercial as auctioning limited term-licenses.

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