Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Wireless Carriers In Huge Washington Lobby Fight Over Spectrum Auction

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the rent-seeking-on-display dept.

Wireless Networking 51

First time accepted submitter techpolicy (3586897) writes "The big four wireless carriers are spending millions of dollars to hire professors, fund Washington think tanks and to meet with the Federal Communications Commission to try to convince the agency to write rules for an upcoming auction of spectrum that favor them, according to an article posted by the Center for Public Integrity in Washington. The frequencies are needed to bolster or build out their nationwide networks — and this kind of low-band spectrum won't be up for sale for a very long time. The biggest fight is over a rule that would limit how much AT&T and Verizon can get of these valuable frequencies. How it plays out will determine who has control over your smartphone."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Guaranteed... (4, Insightful)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | about 7 months ago | (#46548129)

"How it plays out will determine who has control over your smartphone."

Guaranteed it won't be me.

Re:Guaranteed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548241)

"How it plays out will determine who has control over your smartphone."

I consider my smartphone to be essentially an extension of my penis. Does that mean that this will determine who has control of my penis?

Re:Guaranteed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548275)

"How it plays out will determine who has control over your smartphone."

I consider my smartphone to be essentially an extension of my penis. Does that mean that this will determine who has control of my penis?

Unless I'm speaking directly to your penis, there's no point in answering this question. Clearly we know which dick is in charge here.

Re:Guaranteed... (0)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | about 7 months ago | (#46548319)

"How it plays out will determine who has control over your smartphone."

I consider my smartphone to be essentially an extension of my penis. Does that mean that this will determine who has control of my penis?

GOTO 01

Re:Guaranteed... (1)

VTBlue (600055) | about 7 months ago | (#46548441)

I consider my smartphone to be essentially an extension of my penis. Does that mean that this will determine who has control of my penis?

The FCC needs to get out of our bedrooms! The government has no business coming between a man's penis and the wireless carrier that services his porn habits.

Re:Guaranteed... (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 7 months ago | (#46549053)

The FCC can do things? Oh wait...don't they outsource all their work to the NSA?

Re: Guaranteed... (1)

Laconique (3426803) | about 7 months ago | (#46548271)

It's been a painfully helpful thing, like an ice bath for a fever (maybe?) to See my beloved Android system (software and hardware) lose its aura that you can trust stuff because it's free and open source. I still prefer it to alternatives. But I confess that I was naive and went along with the worship of open source. I just don't think I control my phone anymore

Re: Guaranteed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548325)

It's been a painfully helpful thing... But I confess that I was naive and went along with the worship of open source.

Try Tuck's medicated pads, it will ease with some of the soreness, then apply vaseline twice daily and after each bowel movement.

Shorten the Purchase Horizon (4, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | about 7 months ago | (#46548157)

They don't have to auction it forever, exhausting future generations rights. It should not be worse than selling Grimms to Disney. Shorten the rights, let our kids have a say.

Re:Shorten the Purchase Horizon (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46548215)

They don't have to auction it forever, exhausting future generations rights. It should not be worse than selling Grimms to Disney. Shorten the rights, let our kids have a say.

Selling implies they paid something.

Re:Shorten the Purchase Horizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548943)

Selling implies they paid something.

Selling might imply they paid something but paying something doesn't imply you own it.
They should rent it, lease it, license it, etc... but they shouldn't be allowed to SELL spectrum. It shouldn't be theirs to sell.
As all cellphones now can talk multiple frequencies, it makes sense to sell 5 or 10 year leases.
The current phones on the market typically only last 2-3 years. I don't really see a future where they start lasting
for 10 years, so as long as you deploy new phones on the newest frequencies and you stagger your leases then
this should work fine.

Re:Shorten the Purchase Horizon (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46549675)

Actually, I was referring to Disney and the Grimm stories. Next time try reading the entire post.

Re:Shorten the Purchase Horizon (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548673)

They should only RENT the spectrum. Problem solved. Behave badly? Your lease is forfeit. No extra rulemaking needed. The frequencies belong to the taxpayers. Why give them to corporations in perpetuity?

Re:Shorten the Purchase Horizon (2)

guises (2423402) | about 7 months ago | (#46550261)

It's never forever, these agreements always have time limits on them. Usually ten years with the option for renewal. Here's [fcc.gov] the factsheet for the big auction from 2008, if you recall that one.

Short-term lease, and give royalties to everyone (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 7 months ago | (#46555159)

Like Alaska does with oil and gas royalties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

Otherwise it ends up being mostly another giveaway of monopoly to the wealthy who pay a small fraction of the true value ...

Make em share (5, Interesting)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 7 months ago | (#46548191)

Force them to come up with protocols that enable sharing of spectrum and be done with the BS turf wars.

Re:Make em share (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#46548919)

Wow. That's brilliant.

Preview of paid research c/o Canadian Telcos (5, Informative)

beckett (27524) | about 7 months ago | (#46548219)

Canadian telcos have also been busy buying university research.

Canada has only 3 large telco companies, and they all work together. they do wonderful free market things like raise their prices simultanously last week. [www.cbc.ca] .

Jeffery Church from University of Alberta seems to have taken a pro-incumbent stance in his research. he has been presenting this research at conferences indicating canada's incumbents are playing fair. read the paper here. he's also been busily writing pro-incumbent columns for the National Post [financialpost.com] .

Dwayne Winseck from Carleton University has been calling bullshit on this bought research, and you can hear his criticism of the paper and the comm industry on his CanadaLand podcast interview [podbay.fm] .

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548225)

I don't get it. With Software Defined Radios, why isn't the spectrum auctioned off, every.... year? half year? (Instead of after dozens of years.)

dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548361)

Who would build out towers if there was a risk of losing the frequencies in 6 months?

Re:dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548959)

Who would build out towers if there was a risk of losing the frequencies in 6 months?

The point is that you can change the frequency via software. You aren't going to lose the frequency in 6 months,
you just have to either repurchase it, lease it from the person who did win it, or change your frequency with a push of a button
to a frequency that you do have permission to use.

Re:dumb idea (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 7 months ago | (#46549585)

Antennas are optimized for a frequency range. You can't change their size via software.

Damn America if you will, (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#46548251)

but recognize that most of the bribery here is above board and in full daylight. Most opf our people are too busy with their busy little lives to complain, but it's right there.

Political corruption always exists. The overall effect it will have on people and their private lives is directly linked to government interference in the markets.

If the big players (ATT & Verizon) are allowed to increase their stranglehold on market share, we the people will be the end result losers.

Golden rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548341)

He who's got the gold rules! With gold you get more gold then that gold gets you more gold, if you stupidly loose your gold, but still have some gold, the taxpayer gold then becomes your replacement gold! Someone will win the game and have all the gold eventually!

re-auction them every 5 years (3, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about 7 months ago | (#46548391)

I think companies should simply forced to face an auction for all their wireless frequencies every five years. That includes radio, TV, cell phone, etc.

In addition, a large chunk should be reserved for unlicensed use. I think WiFi has shown that that kind of use works very well, and more spectrum for that would be nice.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548585)

I think WiFi has shown that that kind of use works very well, I take it you don't live in a city? I live in a fairly small town and have 15 wireless access points in reach. My friend lives in chicago and can barely get any wifi to work in the evening due to several dozen overlapping communications.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (2)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46548765)

NYC i have 40 wifi networks in range of me. it's so bad that my xbox and apple TV are connected by cat5 cable to my router. otherwise its constant disconnections and long buffering times for netflix during the peak time

2.4 or 5 ghz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46549277)

5 ghz is not supposed to be as crowded, and has lower penetration of walls.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 7 months ago | (#46548667)

Wouldn't that cause all kind of chaos with existing hardware? Physical antennas can only receive specific frequency ranges. Changing frequencies every 5 years would force you to buy all new hardware.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (1)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46548769)

the frequencies would be the same. it would just be a way to get some companies to pay more taxes and just switch which frequencies they use

good idea

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548679)

AMEN to the every 5 year auction. It just makes a LOT of sense!

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548895)

Lets thow more math at the problem. Have an upfront rights auction where 1-2% of final bid is a yearly renewal that doubles every year. This ensures financially successful use of the specturm is worth renewing, and ousts stagnating uses.

I also suggest something similar for copyright. Initial fee is $20 and $10 doubling every 5 years for renewal. It makes a low barrier for entry. It makes sure crappy/low value patents go to public domain and can't be resureced later as trolls. It lets high value patents stay with the company/owner as long as they are worthwhile. It would mean Disney could hold on to mickey mouse, but this year would pay 10.5 million for the privledge of another 5 years.

It also makes a nifty little tax that adapts to the value of intangible assets.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46549001)

I really like this idea. Auction the spectrum off every year and each year it doubles.
If the winning bid is 10k, the next year it's 20k, the next 40k. That's only 70k for the first 3 years which is doable by almost anyone
but it forces it to eventually be given back as holding on to the same spectrum for 10years or 20years gets extremely expensive.
Would work well for copyright/patents too. 5 years is way too long though, I would double it every year as well.
1year = $10 2year=$20, 3years=$40. 4years=$80. 5years=$160. 6years=$320.
First 6 years of copyright/patent would be cheap enough for almost anyone but it would definitely keep disney, etc... from
hording stuff indefinitely ($10M for the 20th year and 10billion for the 30th year). It effectively puts a cap on length.

Life insurance actually does something like this. After your term expires they let you continue it a year at a time without
renewing but unless your on your deathbed it's ALOT cheaper to get a physical and a new policy.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552083)

I really like this idea. Auction the spectrum off every year and each year it doubles.
If the winning bid is 10k, the next year it's 20k, the next 40k. That's only 70k for the first 3 years which is doable by almost anyone
but it forces it to eventually be given back as holding on to the same spectrum for 10years or 20years gets extremely expensive.
Would work well for copyright/patents too. 5 years is way too long though, I would double it every year as well.
1year = $10 2year=$20, 3years=$40. 4years=$80. 5years=$160. 6years=$320.

Another dumb idea.....

Something that escalates in cost by 32X over 6 years? Can you accept such huge increases in your wireless bill? I doubt it. The wackos on /. will all say, "Let the carriers absorb the cost cuz they got the money." Really? Do you know the finances of the carriers that well? I doubt it.

No carrier would sign up for such a plan because of the escalating costs. If they did they would pass the costs along to YOU. And if you complain? Well you got what you asked for...escalating costs that rise faster than the rate of inflation.

You must think money grows on trees...or can be printed up or "mined by a PC". Geez...what cluelessness on /.

Secret word: talent :-(

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (1)

SuluSulu (1039126) | about 7 months ago | (#46548921)

If you actually did that it would put a huge cost burden on the customers. The carriers would have to set aside a large portion of their earnings every year to ensure that they would have enough just to keep the spectrum that they have let alone expand. Not to mention that if they lost an auction they would also loose most if not everything that they invested in their network. The companies that survive would be the ones that are able to squeeze the most money out of their customers and are the best at making back room deals with their competitors. And it wouldn't be the small companies. It would be far better at this point if the FCC just gave the spectrum to some of the smaller carriers so that they could expand their markets and offer more choice to customers. Or just nationalize the network and let companies resell service.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about 7 months ago | (#46549241)

If you actually did that it would put a huge cost burden on the customers. The carriers would have to set aside a large portion of their earnings every year to ensure that they would have enough just to keep the spectrum that they have let alone expand

I think that cost would be factored into the bids, which would simply be much lower. If you rent something for 5 years you pay a lot less than if you rent something for an expected 100 years.

Not to mention that if they lost an auction they would also loose most if not everything that they invested in their network

Again, that would be factored into the bids. Keep in mind that people who buy new spectrum also face a huge investment in order to recoup what they paid.

In the end, I think 5 year bidding would work pretty well: prices would stay about the same or get cheaper (due to increased competition), and equipment would likely become more interoperable.

None of the objections you raise seem to stand up to scrutiny. But I'd be interested in a more solid economic analysis of short term vs long term spectrum auctions.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Chung Chu (3584923) | about 7 months ago | (#46548997)

I think companies should simply forced to face an auction for all their wireless frequencies every five years. That includes radio, TV, cell phone, etc.

In addition, a large chunk should be reserved for unlicensed use. I think WiFi has shown that that kind of use works very well, and more spectrum for that would be nice.

Have an upfront rights auction where 1-2% of final bid is a yearly renewal that doubles every year. Ban Cong Inox Bac Ninh Dep [thegioisatinox.vn]

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 7 months ago | (#46549565)

That would be very sensible and not at all capitalist. It'll never happen in USA!

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 7 months ago | (#46551145)

That would be very sensible and not at all capitalist. It'll never happen in USA!

Actually, that is exactly the kind of mechanism capitalism and free markets demand.

The problem is that both major parties are significantly anti-capitalist and anti-free market, the Democrats virulently so, but even the Republicans. Just look at the farm bill vote to see examples of blatant political corruption and anti-market activity. Nobody who voted for that bill should get away with pretending to favor free markets, liberty, or meritocracy.

Re:re-auction them every 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46550151)

Once mobile data is ubiquitous for home internet as well as on your smartphone, WiFi will be phased out. Eventually your cable or DSL connection will be redundant (at least for consumers) and running a WiFi access point without a license will be illegal.

Time for another break up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548505)

Verizon just wants more spectrum so they have more to lease out to smaller wireless companies. http://www.aglmediagroup.com/rural-cell-carrier-to-lease-verizons-4g-spectrum/ . As far as AT&T goes we broke this exact fucking conglomerate up for exerting too much control over what was at that time the most prevalent and accessible means of communications. They should both be required to divest their internet transit and wire line holdings if they wish to continue to amass spectrum. In short Ma Bell is bad for consumers and Verizon and AT&T are still Ma Bell to which I say go fuck yourselves and add some damn peering capacity while you're back there.

Has anyone noticed Beta STILL Sucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46548771)

Now they are redirecting story clicks into beta. I haven't seen a single criticism addressed. Its still filled with useless white space.
They haven't heard us, the have IGNORED us.
When they day comes that we are forced to use that abomination I will stop reading. Excuse me while I go update my hosts file to avoid the crap until unavoidable.

Re:Has anyone noticed Beta STILL Sucks? (1)

byornski (1022169) | about 7 months ago | (#46548875)

+1

Re:Has anyone noticed Beta STILL Sucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552097)

+1

Blame Ronald Reagan (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 7 months ago | (#46548967)

Before Reagan there used to be something called "anit-trust". When some player in the private sector got too big, they would be "broken up" in order to insure "competition". That was in the old days where the US economy had something called "capitalism".

I know this sounds like a fantasy to many younger Slashdot readers, but it really did happen. Besides "capitalism" there were other obsolete ideas like "privacy", "justice", "voting rights", "free press" and "free travel". I'd encourage you to look this up, but then you might get on a list where suddenly you couldn't get on an airplane and they would never tell you why and you could never get off the list.

Re:Blame Ronald Reagan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46556317)

remember the old joke...

ronald reagan did for this country what pantyhose did for finger fucking.
 
...it's also a history lesson

fu3k!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46549017)

from one folder on If you have development models vary for diiferent BSD's acclaimed there are some series of internal it a break, if as WideOpen,

Never sell something valuable (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 7 months ago | (#46549081)

Selling things is stupid when you can rent it. The smart move would be to lease it out to companies that want to act as service providers. It gives more control to us, gives "our kids a say", and makes money until it is obsolete.

Public bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46549395)

Why can't this go to the public? Seriously why do we keep selling it to the companies? Why not keep this public so smaller independent cellular providers become viable?

Re:Public bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552175)

Why can't this go to the public? Seriously why do we keep selling it to the companies? Why not keep this public so smaller independent cellular providers become viable?

Actually the answer is kind of obvious. Really.

If wireless service within the US was run by a bunch of small "mom & pop" companies, YOU the USER, would have to worry about your phone working outside of the geography covered by your carrier. Even if the other carrier uses the same frequencies and encoding schemes, that does not automatically make your phone work on their network. The concept is called "roaming" in the Wireless business and Wireless companies establish contracts (private ones, like Internet peering agreements between ISPs...stuff the FCC does not review) with each other for "roaming" so their customer's phones can work seamlessly across the networks of different carriers.

Look at your suggestion from the viewpoint of GSM. In many international countries, except Brazil, you can buy a SIM card for your GSM phone to work in a different country, provided they also use GSM. Nice idea. Now expand that to a bunch of "mom & pop" carriers in the US. BAD idea. How many SIM cards would you need? How long would you tolerate popping them in and out?

As for Brazil, didn't they recently ban/block all wireless phones purchased outside of Brazil from operating within Brazil? I seem to remember it being a tax issue...the foreign phones had not paid any taxes in Brazil so they are not allowed to operate within Brazil. Would you tolerate such behavior in the US?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?