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Spectrum Wars: The Hidden Battle

michael posted about 13 years ago | from the pretty-soon-we-are-talking-about-real-money dept.

United States 159

PacketMaster writes: "The USA Today is carrying an interesting commentary entitled All-but-secret battle rages over fate of airwaves. The article sheds light on some topics that many people are completely ignorant on - the fight over the broadcast spectrum. The most interesting tidbit is that the current broadcasters, who were given the new digital spectrum for applications like HDTV for free, now want to keep their old ones too and auction them off for industry profit to help pay for the transition to the new spectrum."

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I know where the battle is (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | about 13 years ago | (#2257227)

It's hidden in here:


* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a| | \ | | a
t| `. | | : t
s` | | \| | s
e \ | / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~--| \ | x
* \ \-~ ~-\ | *
g \ \ .--------.__\| | g
o \ \_// ((> \ | o
a \ . C ) _ ((> | / a
t /\ | C )/ \ (> |/ t
s / /\| C) | (> / \ s
e | ( C__)\__/ // / / \ e
x | \ | \\__// (/ | x
* | \ \) `---- --' | *
g | \ \ / / | g
o | / | | \ | o
a | | / \ \ | a
t | / / | | \ |t
s | / / \/\/ | |s
e | / / | | | |e
x | | | | | |x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

Re:I know where the battle is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257495)

first gatse.ms [microsoft.com] post!


Your comment violated the postercomment compression filter. Comment aborted
Taco is a nimrod.

WESTSIDE (-1)

Spootnik (518145) | about 13 years ago | (#2257235)

SHOUT-OUT TO:

JUVENILE, MANNIE FRESH, B6, BIG TYMER$, HOT BOYZ, LUDACRIS, MYSTIKAL, BLACK ROB, OUTKAST, NELLY AND ST. LUNATICS, FOXY BROWN, JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A., EVE, LIL' KIM, FUNKMASTER FLEX, DMX, JA RULE, MISSY ELLIOTT, BUSTA RHYMES, RAMPAGE, SPLIFF STAR, RAH DIGGA, JAY-2, LIL' CEASE, TRICK DADDY, LIL' BOW WOW, MOBB DEEP, DR. DRE, SNOOP DOGG, NOREAGA, CAPONE, NAS, EL-P AND COMPANY FLOW, XZYBIT, M.O.P., SCARFACE, PRODIGY, RAS KASS, DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, HIEROGLYPHICS IMPERIUM, SOULS OS MYSTCHIEF, THREE 6 MAFIA, CORMEGA, BOOT CAMP CLIK, THE NEPTUNES, LL COOL J, ACEYALONE, FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP AND PROJECT BLOWED, DILATED PEOPLES, JURASSIC 5, LATYAX, BLACKALICIOUS, Q-TIP AND A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, DIGABLE PLANETS, MC LYTE, QUEEN LATIFAH, MONIE LOVE, SPECIAL ED, KID CAPRI, JUVENILE, MANNIE FRESH, B6, BIG TYMER$, HOT BOYZ, LUDACRIS, MYSTIKAL, BLACK ROB, OUTKAST, NELLY AND ST. LUNATICS, FOXY BROWN, JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A., EVE, LIL' KIM, FUNKMASTER FLEX, DMX, JA RULE, MISSY ELLIOTT, BUSTA RHYMES, RAMPAGE, SPLIFF STAR, RAH DIGGA, JAY-2, LIL' CEASE, TRICK DADDY, LIL' BOW WOW, MOBB DEEP, DR. DRE, SNOOP DOGG, NOREAGA, CAPONE, NAS, EL-P AND COMPANY FLOW, XZYBIT, M.O.P., SCARFACE, PRODIGY, RAS KASS, DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, HIEROGLYPHICS IMPERIUM, SOULS OS MYSTCHIEF, THREE 6 MAFIA, CORMEGA, BOOT CAMP CLIK, THE NEPTUNES, LL COOL J, ACEYALONE, FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP AND PROJECT BLOWED, DILATED PEOPLES, JURASSIC 5, LATYAX, BLACKALICIOUS, Q-TIP AND A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, DIGABLE PLANETS, MC LYTE, QUEEN LATIFAH, MONIE LOVE, SPECIAL ED, KID CAPRI, JUVENILE, MANNIE FRESH, B6, BIG TYMER$, HOT BOYZ, LUDACRIS, MYSTIKAL, BLACK ROB, OUTKAST, NELLY AND ST. LUNATICS, FOXY BROWN, JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A., EVE, LIL' KIM, FUNKMASTER FLEX, DMX, JA RULE, MISSY ELLIOTT, BUSTA RHYMES, RAMPAGE, SPLIFF STAR, RAH DIGGA, JAY-2, LIL' CEASE, TRICK DADDY, LIL' BOW WOW, MOBB DEEP, DR. DRE, SNOOP DOGG, NOREAGA, CAPONE, NAS, EL-P AND COMPANY FLOW, XZYBIT, M.O.P., SCARFACE, PRODIGY, RAS KASS, DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, HIEROGLYPHICS IMPERIUM, SOULS OS MYSTCHIEF, THREE 6 MAFIA, CORMEGA, BOOT CAMP CLIK, THE NEPTUNES, LL COOL J, ACEYALONE, FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP AND PROJECT BLOWED, DILATED PEOPLES, JURASSIC 5, LATYAX, BLACKALICIOUS, Q-TIP AND A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, DIGABLE PLANETS, MC LYTE, QUEEN LATIFAH, MONIE LOVE, SPECIAL ED, KID CAPRI, JUVENILE, MANNIE FRESH, B6, BIG TYMER$, HOT BOYZ, LUDACRIS, MYSTIKAL, BLACK ROB, OUTKAST, NELLY AND ST. LUNATICS, FOXY BROWN, JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A., EVE, LIL' KIM, FUNKMASTER FLEX, DMX, JA RULE, MISSY ELLIOTT, BUSTA RHYMES, RAMPAGE, SPLIFF STAR, RAH DIGGA, JAY-2, LIL' CEASE, TRICK DADDY, LIL' BOW WOW, MOBB DEEP, DR. DRE, SNOOP DOGG, NOREAGA, CAPONE, NAS, EL-P AND COMPANY FLOW, XZYBIT, M.O.P., SCARFACE, PRODIGY, RAS KASS, DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, HIEROGLYPHICS IMPERIUM, SOULS OS MYSTCHIEF, THREE 6 MAFIA, CORMEGA, BOOT CAMP CLIK, THE NEPTUNES, LL COOL J, ACEYALONE, FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP AND PROJECT BLOWED, DILATED PEOPLES, JURASSIC 5, LATYAX, BLACKALICIOUS, Q-TIP AND A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, DIGABLE PLANETS, MC LYTE, QUEEN LATIFAH, MONIE LOVE, SPECIAL ED, KID CAPRI, JUVENILE, MANNIE FRESH, B6, BIG TYMER$, HOT BOYZ, LUDACRIS, MYSTIKAL, BLACK ROB, OUTKAST, NELLY AND ST. LUNATICS, FOXY BROWN, JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A., EVE, LIL' KIM, FUNKMASTER FLEX, DMX, JA RULE, MISSY ELLIOTT, BUSTA RHYMES, RAMPAGE, SPLIFF STAR, RAH DIGGA, JAY-2, LIL' CEASE, TRICK DADDY, LIL' BOW WOW, MOBB DEEP, DR. DRE, SNOOP DOGG, NOREAGA, CAPONE, NAS, EL-P AND COMPANY FLOW, XZYBIT, M.O.P., SCARFACE, PRODIGY, RAS KASS, DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, HIEROGLYPHICS IMPERIUM, SOULS OS MYSTCHIEF, THREE 6 MAFIA, CORMEGA, BOOT CAMP CLIK, THE NEPTUNES, LL COOL J, ACEYALONE, FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP AND PROJECT BLOWED, DILATED PEOPLES, JURASSIC 5, LATYAX, BLACKALICIOUS, Q-TIP AND A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, DIGABLE PLANETS, MC LYTE, QUEEN LATIFAH, MONIE LOVE, SPECIAL ED, KID CAPRI, AND ALL MY DEAD HOMIEZ

Re:WESTSIDE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257301)

Geee looks quite familiar?

Somebody read the Onion today, hmmm?

Re:WESTSIDE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257332)

Uhm, it's LATYRX, not LATAX.

It's a combination of Lyrics Born and Lateef

Quanuum Collective in tha haus!

P.S.- you are a lamer.

Re:WESTSIDE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257357)

and he didn't even give no props to De La Soul

DAMN

tha source: http://graphics.theonion.com/pics_3731/god_gives_s hout_out_jump.jpg

socialize costs, privatize profits (4, Insightful)

gokubi (413425) | about 13 years ago | (#2257244)

Gore Vidal, the great American essayist, novelist and playright said, "When you hear the word privitization, there is a burglar lurking."

Re:socialize costs, privatize profits (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | about 13 years ago | (#2257267)

Yeah, I trust the word of a guy who was in a Fellini movie.

Re:socialize costs, privatize profits (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257435)

Is this the same guy who thinks Timothy McVeigh is an American hero?

Feh.

Re:socialize costs, privatize profits (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257666)

Yes, that`s the very same chap.

Of course, you`ll be medded down to hell and back (as will this post) for daring to critisize a "slashdot hero" but hey, who said this was a democracy?

Re:socialize costs, privatize profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257627)

Right, why don't you and Gore Vidal move to either China or Cuba; unfortunately, Russia is no longer an option for pinko communist swine.

ASCII Art Parade (-1, Offtopic)

l33t j03 (222209) | about 13 years ago | (#2257249)

.. [microsoft.com]
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... dF' `8
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o8888888888888. P
o888888888888888.
.8888888"""8888888
8888888' `888888:
.88'8888 8888888
:8"o8888888888888888
:".88888888888888888
.888888888888888888
8888888"""""""""""'
.8888888. .oooooo
88888888o 888888"
888888888b__d888888
88^888888888888888'
:8" 88888888888888'
:8 888888888888'(R)
:8 `88888888'
-8 _dF""""
`8ouo8"
"^"

Re:ASCII Art Parade (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2257266)

you are truely 1337, j03!

Re:ASCII Art Parade (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257284)

You are truly a monkey, cyborg sucker.

Hello again. (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2257252)

Kiss my furry ass.

Midair collisions (3, Insightful)

Erasei (315737) | about 13 years ago | (#2257253)

I think one of the problems we will start seeing before long is interference. With more and more people/devices crowding into a static amount of space (until more of the spectrum is released) it is bound to get a little bumpy. How long until your wireless network won't work when you sign on to your local wireless "last-mile" provider?

Re:Midair collisions (1)

nmarshall (33189) | about 13 years ago | (#2257384)

what im thinking is what of scanners? you know those radio looking things you get from radio shack? if military changes spectrum will my old scanner become illegal? But then all that crowding you might get some interesting cross talk...

Re:Midair collisions (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 13 years ago | (#2257531)

The military is likely uncaring about your ability to monitor it's spectrum. You won't hear anything. 90% of military communications are encrypted, and what isn't setup with unidirectional antennas in a point to point configuration is spread spectrum, changing freqs many times a second. If they give the military the old analog TV bands, it'll be an excuse to modernise all this even more, and get rid of the small amount of legacy stuff that might be heard with a scanner. Military comms are about as secure as wireless gets.

No, we won't see problems with interference (4, Informative)

megalomang (217790) | about 13 years ago | (#2257664)

The reason that the spectrum is partitioned off is precisely why we won't have interference. Each band is regulated and has either sufficient guard band so that the energy "leakage" into adjacent bands is minimal or simply has a prescribed permissable leakage that the adjacent band can tolerate.

Digital communication is inherently immune to noise caused by several types of interference. Many channel encoding schemes exist precisely to deal with interference that is typical of the frequency range of the band, doppler effects, echoes, etc. Yes, there is a statistically small amount of bit error you will receive given a statistically small amount of noise energy present in the band, but there is no recent trend of rising noise energy in any given frequency band.

So don't worry, your phone, tv, AM/FM radio, talkabout, bluetooth device, etc will not eventually stop working due to the noise level passing some magic threshold.

For more info, look at the frequency allocation on the FCC web pages:
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.pdf [doc.gov]

Why? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257261)

Why, why do the stories on here suck so much today? Taco...? Why???

Re:Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257309)

Flamebait?!?! Well, I never...

Digital Radio (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257272)

I think digital radio would be a logical first step before digital TV - there's tons of wasted spectrum b/c of the pathetically outdated mandatory distance frequencies.

Fix the easy stuff first (or at least concurrently).

Re:Digital Radio (5, Insightful)

John Miles (108215) | about 13 years ago | (#2257397)

It's not clear what you mean by "wasted spectrum," or what benefits you expect to come from reclaiming it.

The entire AM broadcast band takes up the same bandwidth as one-fourth of a conventional TV channel. Like the entire MF/HF spectrum, it's completely useless for anything besides voice communication due to limited bandwidth and excessive noise.

The entire FM broadcast band occupies the equivalent of 5 TV channels. Any attempt to monkey with the FM BC allocation will render hundreds of millions of home and car radios obsolete. If you think DTV is a political boondoggle that offers insufficient benefits to consumers, you wouldn't want to think about messing with FM.

Re:Digital Radio (2)

Detritus (11846) | about 13 years ago | (#2257447)

Another problem with the AM and FM bands is that the only politically acceptable digital broadcasting system seems to be IBOC (in-band on-channel). This means that broadcasters would use their existing frequency allocations to broadcast an additional digital signal along with the analog signal. This keeps the power and money in the hands of the existing broadcasters and keeps out the riff-raff (i.e. you).

Re:Digital Radio (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257773)

The entire FM broadcast band occupies the equivalent of 5 TV channels. Any attempt to monkey with the FM BC allocation will render hundreds of millions of home and car radios obsolete.

5 stations is about that number that gets broadcast in most areas - if we're intent on reclaiming the analog TV spectrum as valuable, then the same should be done with radio. I don't think I need to point out that the TVs are rendered obsolete under digital TV.

Re:Digital Radio (4, Informative)

silicon_synapse (145470) | about 13 years ago | (#2257443)

There are several providers of satellite radio. The target market is mostly high end cars. Two popular ones are Sirius Radio [siriusradio.com] and XM Radio [xmradio.com] . If I had the money, I'd love to give it a try. I believe they're subscription based, but it's probably well worth it. Has anyone here used such a service?

Sirius Radio (3, Funny)

dpilot (134227) | about 13 years ago | (#2257607)

Aren't they a subsidiary of Sirius Cybernetics?

You know, the inventors of the talking doors...

The first ones with their back against the wall when the revolution comes.

another battle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257273)

The bathroom at work is an odd place. One minute youre working with someone the next your
hear them in a stall farting out shit with their pants around their ankles. You look for shoes and
wonder, "Who is that person with the obvious gastrointestinal problems?" One day I walked into
the bathroom and heard someone in a stall rustling a newspaper and shamelessly blasting away
with heavy breathing and everything. I knock on the stall door and ask if he?s ok. He seems
startled and tells me he?s fine. I put a hand under the stall door and ask him to slap me five on
some excellent doody making. He kind of kicks my hand away and asks who I am. I pound on
the door demanding to be let in. I tell him I want to see his work and I want to see him in action.
He tells me that I?m not funny and tells me go away. I tell him he is an excellent doody maker. I
ask him if his doody is stooly. He now seems angered and demands to know who I am. I go over
to the urinal and grab a cake and lob it over into his stall. He screams an Ag and seems upset.
He tells me fuck you. I kick the door in and see Peter (a Vice President!) all in his most
vunerable. He stares back at me and asks me what the hell I?m doing. I tell him I want to be
involved with his doody. He wants to know why I?m doing this. I tell him he has no respect for
doody. I tell him that everyday a doody gives you pleasure and he?s an inconsiderate fuck. I
club him with a fist over his head and knock him off the toilet. He tries to get up and run but his
pants around his ankles are presenting a problem. I grab him by his head and dunk his head face
first into the toilet. I tell him to look at the doody. He bubbles a scream back at me so I shove his
face further into the toilet mushing his face into the doody- then yank him up gasping. His face
has some doody stuck to it and i pull him up by his tie and stumble him across the bathroom to
the smack his face into the mirror. Look at yourself doody face! look at you! Respect the doody!
I tell him! RESPECT! I pull his head back and then smash it into the mirror. The shards of glass
cut up his face and brown and blood are running down his cheeks. He seems very surprised and
stunned. What a turn of events! One second making doody the next you got toilet water all over
your face and doody and youre bleeding and youre having a problem! I throw him back into the
stall and hold his face over the toilet. I yell at him to look at the doody! He tells me to let him up. I
tell him to look at it. He screams back OK OK I?m looking. I ask him what he sees and he tells
me he doesn?t see shit. I grab a hunk of his doody and shove it in his face. I ask him again what
he sees and he tells me he sees SHIT OK I SEE MY SHIT! That?s right. I tell him YOUR
DOODY! And is it beautiful? I ask him. He tells me that it is beautiful. I ask him if its brown he
tells me yes yes it?s brown its brown! That?s right fucker that?s your doody and it?s brown.
AND BEAUTIFUL show it some goddamn respect! I respect you doody he tells it. Damn right
I say. Now clean yourself up I tell him you look terrible and youre embarrassing the doody.
Doody is modest I tell him. That?s what makes it so beautiful. I am so excited all this activity
makes me want to doody. Some may say I am doodyfixated or perhaps a bit overly involved
with the brown brown- well if you ever hear anyone speaking such blasphemy you point em
out and I?ll make sure they learn proper.

Re:another battle (1)

alen (225700) | about 13 years ago | (#2257359)

I hope you're still employed.

Re:another battle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257468)

ROOFLES!

Shocked and Appalled (0, Flamebait)

boinger (4618) | about 13 years ago | (#2257277)

My government is doing something that impedes progress in a given field? I don't believe it. They certainly haven't done anything to impede the progress of prescription drugs, cellular phones or HDTV. And never to the detriment of other countries.
</sarcasm>

When has the US been the fore-runners of technology that didn't involve killing people somewhere else?

Re:Shocked and Appalled (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 13 years ago | (#2257515)

OK. I'll bite.

Aircraft
Ro/Ro Cargo ships
Computers
Internet
Automobiles
6 and 8 cylinder engines
Radial aircraft engines
Tires
Reusable space vehicles
Medical Imaging
Chemotherapy

There are a few things the US has been a fore-runner of that didn't involve killing people somewhere else.

Re:Shocked and Appalled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257691)

> Aircraft

Lots of people die each year in aricraft crashes. Plus look how many people get killed by missiles shot from millitary aircraft.

> Ro/Ro Cargo ships

Yup, people get killed when those beasts sink.
Plus look at all the deaths from millitary equipment carried on these!

> Computers

No comment!

> Internet

Spawn of Satan, enabling terrorists, paedophiles and the like to target their prey more easily.

> Automobiles

Like no-one has ever been killed by a car? Right!

> Tires

I suppose you will tell us tire blowouts never killed anyone, eh?

> Reusable space vehicles

7 dead in one go...

> Medical Imaging

All well and good but look at the people killed by incorrect use.

> Chemotherapy

See above.

Nope, looks like you`ll have to try harder!

Re:Shocked and Appalled (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257745)

They should take people like you and ship you to Afghanistan or some such place. Maybe we can trade you for those missionaries they're trying to burn at the stake or whatever over there. We need less armchair critic pissants who hate their own country and wipe their ass with the flag, and more people who are proud and glad to be living in THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH!!

WE ARE NUMBER ONE!

U-S-A!!! NUM-BER ONE!!!
U-S-A!!! NUM-BER ONE!!!
U-S-A!!! NUM-BER ONE!!!
U-S-A!!! NUM-BER ONE!!!
U-S-A!!! NUM-BER ONE!!!
U-S-A!!! NUM-BER ONE!!!

Maybe I'm missing something, but... (1)

almightyjustin (518967) | about 13 years ago | (#2257289)

How is it that the "rest of the world" will be able to have 3G wireless, but the US is running out of spectrum space? Are we really using that many more frequencies? Or are they just inefficiently allocated or something?

It seems to me like the way things should work is that if a company doesn't use a frequency (or is only duplicating things available on other frequencies) for a certain amount of time, it should revert to the government for reassignment. After all, they don't "own" the frequencies like they do physical property - they're on loan from the government. Just my $.02...

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (3, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | about 13 years ago | (#2257313)

Or are they just inefficiently allocated or something?

You think?

The rest of the world waits until the U.S. is finished making the mistakes that often come when a new technology is introduced. The problem is that once we realize we've made mistakes, our "solution" is to patch things up, not throw the whole thing out and start over. In the meantime, the rest of the world says, "Ok, the U.S. has invented this technology and discovered some of the problems. Now how can we implement it correctly?"

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (1)

alen (225700) | about 13 years ago | (#2257366)

From what I heard frequency auctions in other countries cover the whole country. In the US a frequency is only for a small area. I'm not 100% sure about this.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (1)

mellifluous (249700) | about 13 years ago | (#2257403)

Yes, frequency auctions (at least for cellular communications) have been regional in the US. The expense of taking on a whole frequency block over the entire US would have been a huge barrier to entry in the cellular market.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257480)

that's because most of those other "countries" like France, Germany, are approximately the size of my cubicle.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257606)

Yes, cubicle sized. That also makes it much easier to implement a nationwide standard, or change them. In the U.S., changing communications infrastructure is much more daunting.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (2, Interesting)

mellifluous (249700) | about 13 years ago | (#2257372)

Actually the amount of spectrum currently allocated to cellular is similar in the US to many other countries. One of the main reasons we do not see 3G yet is the expensive of overhauling infrastructure on a massive scale compared to many other countries, combined with an economic slowdown in the communications sector. US users have also been historically slower to adopt new features, so carriers are more cautious. Its the classic chicken and egg problem of new technology - industry needs users to spur revenue for 3G development, but users want widespread 3G technology before adopting.

It's TV (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257379)

The US gives a lot of spectrum to TV (and the military, but that's another story). So, Americans are behind in cell phone technology, but get to watch more TV channels (even without cable).Network Magazine [networkmagazine.com] has an interesting article about this.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257483)

What are you talking about false shortages are the american way, we have them with gas, food hell even water in some parts of this country now (this one always killed me, a water shortage on a planet that is 80% water). They are just exercising their inaliable right to maximize profits at the expense of people -- sarcasm

Well.... (1)

EGSonikku (519478) | about 13 years ago | (#2257292)

Nothing a high altitude nuclear explosion won't fix :) Enough argument already ;) God knows 50 years from now we'll discover all the waves passing through our bodies gives us colon cancer or somthing.

Airwaves are protected by International treaty (2)

jd (1658) | about 13 years ago | (#2257297)

Unfortunately, International treaties seem to have remarkably short lives, around a certain GWB. It wouldn't surprise me, if his "resolution" to the problem was to deregulate radio transmissions entirely.

Re:Airwaves are protected by International treaty (1, Troll)

ka9dgx (72702) | about 13 years ago | (#2257463)

"deregulate radio transmissions entirely"

Ok, so it was meant as a sarcastic commment, but within lies the solution to this problem. If we totally deregulate the airwaves except, we'd have problems for a while, but eventually it would FORCE efficient allocation of the spectrum, ala CDMA or other means, as the only way to reliably get a signal through the newly created mass of noise. It would be like throwing the creative force of the universe at the problem, and there would be many novel, and useful answers to fall out.

Let's do it!

--Mike--

How to transmit reliably on an unregulated band (1)

haruharaharu (443975) | about 13 years ago | (#2257580)

If we totally deregulate the airwaves except, we'd have problems for a while, but eventually it would FORCE efficient allocation of the spectrum, ala CDMA or other means, as the only way to reliably get a signal through the newly created mass of noise

  • Select a frequency
  • Discharge a massive (multi GW) pulse on this frequency, burning out all receivers and causing massive feedback on transmitters.
  • turn on transmitter, receiver

Free in, free out... no? (2)

tcc (140386) | about 13 years ago | (#2257298)


If they would have payed for the new spectrum, My guess is they would have had an argument for auctionning the rest, but since they've got it for free, they've "saved" that extra investment (or tax), plus, knowing that in the end, it won't be a reason to lower the cost of the products they will sell using that spectrum, I'd say, leave the lower almost unused spectrum a bit more open for developpement for projects or org. that couldn't afford to pay a tax/license right for it (i.e. local or + wireless community internet access, school research projects).

It's a bit like computers, it's not because a workstation is old and not useful for rendering in your graphics/video editing company, that it cannot do a nice web server (or anything else requiring less power) in an non-profit organisation.

They want their cake AND eat it? (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | about 13 years ago | (#2257302)

The audacity of this idea is breathtaking. After Congress gave broadcasters public airwaves worth $70 billion -- or far more -- on the condition that they would return their analog spectrum to the public in a timely fashion, they now want to keep both, auction one off and pocket the proceeds!


What were the conditions of returning "their analog spectrum to the public"? Did they forbid broadcasters from making a profit when they returned them to the public? Did they limit how the broadcasters could return them to the public?

After my knee-jerk "how dare those bastards" reaction, I took time to think about it and I'm not so sure this is a problem.

-jhon

Re:They want their cake AND eat it? (2, Insightful)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2257355)

The impression I got from the story is that in 2006 the broadcasters would have to quit broadcasting on the analog spectrum and return their licenses to the FCC. This would then allow the FCC to issue new licenses for broadcasting in the analog spectrum. I don't think it in any way meant they could hold a little public auction in front of their buildings saying "The bid for Channel 4 is up to $250,000, the bid for channel 5 is up to $270,000, and the bid for channel 61 is up to $73,000"

the clear implications (1)

prisoner (133137) | about 13 years ago | (#2257385)

of the article (and others I've read) are that the broadcasters return the analog spectrum at no charge. They *did* recieve the digital spectrum for free after all. It seems quite clear that the government didn't intend to have to bid to get the spectrum back.

Re:They want their cake AND eat it? (5, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | about 13 years ago | (#2257401)

It isn't "their spectrum" in the first place. They hold licenses to broadcast in the public interest and convenience. The licenses are not a property right, they are a privilege that can be modified or terminated at any time. Sometimes they forget that.

Re:They want their cake AND eat it? (1)

Maigus (118056) | about 13 years ago | (#2257582)

Interesting, If you change references to Spectrum in the comment to Music we have the same essential argument that the RIAA is making about MP3s.

I'm not saying they're right, but it is interesting.

Re:They want their cake AND eat it? (2)

NMerriam (15122) | about 13 years ago | (#2257675)

Interesting, If you change references to Spectrum in the comment to Music we have the same essential argument that the RIAA is making about MP3s.

Not really -- the radio spectrum is finite. There are only so many broadcasts that can happen at once.

Music is infinitely reproducable. There is no limit to how many times it can be copied without degrading the original.

No one is claiming intellectual property rights on the airwaves -- we're claiming physical property rights. We own the airwaves, and the government leases them out for fixed periods on our behalf.

Re:They want their cake AND eat it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257432)

After my knee-jerk "how dare those bastards" reaction, I took time to think about it and I'm not so sure this is a problem.

It is a problem. Sometimes it's best to go with your knee-jerk reaction.

Re:They want their cake AND eat it? (2, Informative)

Kefabi (178403) | about 13 years ago | (#2257437)

What were the conditions of returning "their analog spectrum to the public"? Did they forbid broadcasters from making a profit when they returned them to the public? Did they limit how the broadcasters could return them to the public?

After my knee-jerk "how dare those bastards" reaction, I took time to think about it and I'm not so sure this is a problem.


This is a problem. Think about it a little more. If they are auctioning off the old airwaves and make some cash off it, that means somebody (or some corporation) would be willing to pay for control of the old airwaves. That isn't quite "public" in my book. Public parks are for anyone who wants to stay there and enjoy themselves, owned lots of land that only certain people are allowed to use.

Where are the Politicians? (3, Funny)

eander315 (448340) | about 13 years ago | (#2257308)

Maybe some reporter, somewhere, now will decide to focus his or her attention on a potential $200-billion rape of the American taxpayer.

Aren't our elected officials supposed to at least TRY to protect their electorate from this kind of thing? $200 BILLION is a lot of money! I don't think we should have to rely on one or two reporters to stop a $200 BILLION theft. It would be nice if our elected officials would stop counting their kickbacks, bribes and lobbyist money and start doing their jobs.

Re:Where are the Politicians? (1)

Jburkholder (28127) | about 13 years ago | (#2257374)

Where are the politicians?

Oh, they're off burying interns in shallow graves most of the time, apparently.

Re:Where are the Politicians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257538)

Well at least the dems learned something from Clinton -- dead interns tell no tales.

That's the great thing about necrophilia.

Oh shit, did I just imply a US Senator is a necrophiliac?!!!
OH SHIT! did I type that out, not just think it?!!!

Re:Where are the Politicians? (1)

haruharaharu (443975) | about 13 years ago | (#2257590)

Oh shit, did I just imply a US Senator is a necrophiliac?!!! OH

For most of Congress, that's a step up.

Re:Where are the Politicians? (1)

ethereal (13958) | about 13 years ago | (#2257583)

Quimby: "Can't we have one meeting that doesn't end with us digging up a corpse?"

OT: don't be surprised (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | about 13 years ago | (#2257598)

Aren't our elected officials supposed to at least TRY to protect their electorate from this kind of thing? $200 BILLION is a lot of money!

$1.4 trillion is even more money [fdic.gov] , and some politicians were involved in aiding and abetting that theft.

It would be nice if our elected officials would stop counting their kickbacks, bribes and lobbyist money and start doing their jobs.

What? Be actual representatives of the people in their districts? Stand up for justice? Do the right thing? Not when there's an electoral war chest to build!

And now you begin to understand just how close to death democracy in North America truly is. Money isn't just a unit of trade; it's a measure of power. The more you have, the more powerful you are, the more influence you have over lawmakers (what? citizens? screw 'em; they don't buy me campaign ads and dinners). As for "campaign finance reform," only a complete and total overhaul of how elections are run could even begin to attack the root of the problem with government in the US, Canada, and other Western "democracies"; the position of lawmaker has become one of authority without responsibility, instead of servant with great responsibility.

I wonder if the distance, real and political, between representatives and citizens has become so great as to make accountability meaningless, simply because the politician lives in a completely different world than the people who voted them into their positions. I wonder if politicians would make different decisions if they had to live with their effects on a daily basis, alongside the people who gave them that power and corresponding responsibility, instead of acting like first-graders and covering up their messes with spin and flat-out lies.

--end rant--

Re:Where are the Politicians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257613)

Maybe some reporter, somewhere, now will decide to focus his or her attention on a potential $200-billion rape of the American taxpayer.

Interesting to compare and contrast. The Slashdot party line is that MP3 and software piracy is not theft, because a lost sale is != lost money. In other words, if I have a pirated copy of Win2k, Microsoft is not poorer by the cost of that software license, because even if there were prohibitive copy protection, I would not be coerced to buy that copy. Likewise with an mp3 of a popular song; since I downloaded and/or burned it, the record label has not lost money, since I did not steal a physically produced CD. Not saying I agree with it, it's just the party line.

Now, how can you say that taxpayers are poorer by $200 billion if the frequencies remain in the same hands? If the frequencies were returned to the FCC, are the government and the taxpayer now $200 billion dollars richer? Does this mean we get another tax rebate? The answer: No. If the broadcasters were to auction the frequencies themselves, and use the proceeds to progress to digital transmissions, this would allow new blood to enter the industry by purchasing the frequencies at auction, and promote progress. This is as opposed to disallowing the self-auctioning, and allowing the big broadcasters to keep their entrenched position, all while dissueding progress. And what if, theoretically, the government were to snatch the analog frequencies away from the broadcasters and hold a public auction, forcing the big broadcasters to choose digital or nothing? Well, on the extremely unlikely chance of that happening, the big broadcasters would probably collude to drive down the auction prices, buy back the frequencies, NOBODY in Washington would get their campaign contributions, and we would be much further away from HDTV as a standard. The proposed Pentagon alternative, snatching the spectrum in 2006, giving it to the military, and leaving big broadcasters with their allocated HDTV spectrum, would never happen.

3G (slightly OT) (2, Interesting)

Sawbones (176430) | about 13 years ago | (#2257312)

While the whole process is working out less than ideal, I'm pleased to see the government taking an active stance on bringing 3G to the states. I know there are a couple of GSM cel carriers here in the states now but they don't really have the same coverage as the old CDM and TDMA (I think those are the acronymns) systems that AT&T and such have. I'd love to have some of the whiz-bang new phones (or one of the more stylish [nokia-asia.com] australian models) but because the rest of the world operates on a different system I'm out of luck.

Chalk it up to good intentions but (potentially) poor implementation I suppose.

Re:3G (slightly OT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257561)

Nokia makes US versions of most/all their phones. The US equivalent for that 8250 you linked to is the 8260. I have been using the 8860 (its older more expensive brother) for about 18 months now, with AT&T service. Though I bought it for the size not the style (fits neatly in my pocket, so I don't have to look like a dork with a cell holster on my belt, plus I don't have to start wearing a belt to fit it on) But even though it wasn't why I bought it, I do have to say chicks dig the 8860. If it weren't so expensive I'd want to find out what kind of interesting things I could use it for when set to vibrate :)

Re:3G (slightly OT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257640)

Maybe someone could explain what 3G does for the average cellphone customer that just wants to talk on the phone.

I rather like my 2G phone myself, esp because it falls back to 1G Analog in outlying areas.

nice summary (3, Insightful)

S. Allen (5756) | about 13 years ago | (#2257316)

The public knows little about this; even some experts are unaware of the machinations. Not surprisingly, television has not covered it. But the consequences, for all of us, are staggering. Given the stakes, and the power of the players, it will get attention eventually ? but if past experience is any guide, only after the critical decisions have been made. Maybe some reporter, somewhere, now will decide to focus his or her attention on a potential $200-billion rape of the American taxpayer.

The machinations on Capitol Hill are increasingly out of control. Of course the broadcasters will get their cake and eat it too (selling spectrum they were given for free) since they only have to funnel a small % of the proceeds to suddenly supportive senators.
Let's dispense with the formalities and just post a large for-sale sign outside the capitol:

laws and regulations starting in the low 500's. modern and convenient. spaciously appointed. no need to wait.

US problems (5, Insightful)

jahjeremy (323931) | about 13 years ago | (#2257320)

The most damning quote:
After Congress gave broadcasters public airwaves worth $70 billion -- or far more -- on the condition that they would return their analog spectrum to the public in a timely fashion, they now want to keep both, auction one off and pocket the proceeds!
Reeks of typical American corporate machinations.
1) Get something for the government for free / dirt cheap.
2) Go back on the contract / agreement.
3) Make bucketloads of cash.
4) Government (and taxpayers) suck it up
With analog TV, digital TV, satellite TV, cellphones, emergency services, police and fire communications, etc., we have a serious shortage of spectrum.
Rather than a a shortage of bandwidth, I think the true problem in the States is a lack of decent, informed, relatively unbiased regulation headed by the Fed and too many interested parties such as corporations with a lot of money and lawyers.

HDTV is a disaster (4, Insightful)

YIAAL (129110) | about 13 years ago | (#2257321)

The whole HDTV plan is a disaster. No one is buying HDTV (and, reports to the contrary, I don't think it looks significantly better, so I don't think anyone will). You can't force people to buy it, and you can't deploy it when no one has it.

It's a spectrum-hungry technology that no one really wants. Plus, it's a big selloff to companies that don't deserve the help.

Re:HDTV is a disaster (2, Informative)

S. Allen (5756) | about 13 years ago | (#2257396)

True. HDTV is a complete disaster. But you're wrong about the quality. It is significantly better. You just have to lay down the bucks for decent hardware.

Having said that, I just cancelled my DirecTV subscription. I originally got it because they promised HDTV programming. After 1 year, this turned out to be 1 channel (HBO) and an infernal demo loop of the same old shit every day. Solution: go down to Radio Shack and buy the biggest honking roof aerial antenna you can find.

DirecTV -- you're a bunch of dicks. When I called about getting the SuperBowl in HDTV, they responded that they weren't carrying it due to lack of customer demand. What a crock! I stated that I was a customer and I demanded it. Oh, well. That's why they're in the toilet and bleeding customers and money.

DTV != HDTV (3, Informative)

dragons_flight (515217) | about 13 years ago | (#2257460)

Digital Television != High Definition Television.

Of course HDTV typically has a digital signal (some countries actually have tried analog high-def signals), but digital television just means using a digital signal instead of analog and that can include the contemporary TV format.

Afterall digital cable companies and satelite providers already commonly transmit digital signals of contemporary sized and formatted television programs.

The plan was to transmit over air TV signals digitally because it is a more efficient use of spectrum than analog and then retire the analog transmissions once there was sufficient penetration of TVs that could read and decode digital signals.

Of course the companies would like to get everyone behind the higher res, wider, bandwidth hungry HDTV format and spew that all over the air waves as well or exclusively, but personally that seems more like a marketing gimmick than an especially useful technology. Even if digital broadcasting takes off, don't expect all the shows on the air to be HDTV formatted, at least not any time soon.

Real Privatization (5, Insightful)

Arandir (19206) | about 13 years ago | (#2257341)

This quasi-privatization of the airwaves combines the worst of both worlds, with few, if any, of the best. All the worst of government regulation, and all the worst of business since they control a product which someone else owns.

Let's have real privatization of the airwaves. Yes, their is a fixed amount of frequencies available, but the market works for other fixed resources, like real estate. Will there be some large players that will grab up large chunks of frequencies? Of course! But I would rather have half a dozen mega conglomerates competing with each other, than a single government agency accountable to no one at all. (and of course, government regulation has done nothing to hinder the current crop of megacorps, but plenty to keep the small independent off the market)

How would it work in practice? Just take a look at the internet. Next to zero regulation, backbones that in many areas are fixed resources, heavy commercialization, yet there are unlimited opportunities for individuals, non-profits, and other noncommercial organizations.

Re:Real Privatization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257481)

As long as the military has a use for the air waves, the government will have a hand in it.

Re:Real Privatization (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257577)

As long as the military has a use for the airwaves, they will have priority on any frequency they require.

It hasn't happened since 1945, but if a declared war breaks out (WW2 was the last one officially declared by Congress), all non-essential civilian use of radio frequencies will end. Basically, that means broadcasting and public safety services would remain, while all other uses (ham, cellular, wireless services, CB, etc.) would have to quit operating. No danger of that happening anytime soon.

Re:Real Privatization (2, Insightful)

Geckoman (44653) | about 13 years ago | (#2257626)

How would it work in practice? Just take a look at the internet. Next to zero regulation, backbones that in many areas are fixed resources, heavy commercialization, yet there are unlimited opportunities for individuals, non-profits, and other noncommercial organizations.

The difference here is that the Internet can grow. Anybody with enough capital can lay down another backbone. The simple act of dialing up with a modem essentially expands the network. Somebody with a CB talking to his buddy doesn't add an additional frequency, and now matter how much money a company has, they can't expand the electromagnetic spectrum.

The real estate analogy is more apt, but it should be pointed out that the federal government owns massive amounts of land, especially in western states.

Re:Real Privatization (1)

Carmody (128723) | about 13 years ago | (#2257651)

"How would it work in practice? Just take a look at the internet. Next to zero regulation, backbones that in many areas are fixed resources, heavy commercialization, yet there are unlimited opportunities for individuals, non-profits, and other noncommercial organizations."

This is a tempting, but ultimately deceptive and bad analogy. When I put up a website, I am not interefering with the ability of other people to view yours.

If the airwaves were NOT regulated, then what is to stop me from broadcasting at the same frequency you are? If you start talking about protocols or laws, then you are sliding down the path to regulation.

The analogy may be between domain-names and airwaves, in that you can't have two people having the same domain name, nor have two neighbors on the same frequency. But domain names are highly regulated, with more rules coming down all the time. (In the old days, if you were the first person to think of registering captainkirk.com, you would be able to have it without being sued.)

Truly privatized airwaves would be a nightmare. Show me how there would be "unlimited opportunities for individuals and non-profits" without resorting to a dubious analogy. In a country where all the available frequencies are locked up by the half-dozen mega-conglomerates you grant would exist, how would I get my TV-show out there for people to see? And how do you know they would compete? No regulation means no anti-trust laws. Wouldn't they be better off cooperating with each other to screw the consumer?

I have less faith in conglomerates than you do, I suppose. I tend to be more objective about things like that. Right now, if the situation with monopolies and the airwaves get intolerable, I have the ability to take them back - I still get a vote. If you advocate "privatizing" them, you are, in effect, advocating taking my vote away from me, leaving their fate to people that are not elected. The airwaves belong just as much to me as they do to anybody else; don't be so eager about taking away my property.

The auction of spectrum (2, Interesting)

prisoner (133137) | about 13 years ago | (#2257346)

while it brings in alot of $$$ has always seemed somewhat shady to me. While this article isn't well balanced, it has always seemed like the users of that spectrum have been well-funded businesses and I get nervous when they get in too tight with the regulating agency. A breath-taking example of this coziness is that the NAB would have the balls to propose auctioning their old analog spectrum and keeping the money. And yes, I read the article and if you don't think they won't manage to stuff most of that money in their own pockets, you're crazy. I thought that by giving the networks free spectrum for HDTV (or whatever it may be called by now) the Gov't and, by extension, the people *were* speeding up the process and cutting broadcasters costs.....sheesh.

Re:The auction of spectrum (2, Interesting)

mfarver (43681) | about 13 years ago | (#2257477)

We're faced with a problem of a scarce but valuable resource. As usual the government and the corporations that control it are loudly contemplating how much money its worth, but everyone forgets that the government holds this spectrum in the public trust. The government remembers this occasionally, which is why there were minority clauses in the last spectrum auctions, allowing disadvantaged organizations to buy spectrum at a reduced price.. a dismal failure since it turned out small organizations didn't have enough money to build giant centralized systems using that spectrum.

It turns out the idea that spectrum must be parcelled out to monopolies in order to avoid interferce is largely a lie. New technologies like spread spectrum make it possible to cram far more signals into the same spectrum and do so in a decentralized way. Take the unlicensed 2.4GHz band for example, this bit of free for all spectrum suffers from some interference, but at the same time wireless devices utilizing it (cordless phones, 802.11) are dirt cheap, and widely available.

The best (for the public) way to parcel out 3G spectrum is to make it unlicensed, and force everyone one to the same playing field.

You're all fucking next (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257362)

All you motherfuckers are gonna pay, You are the ones who are the ball-lickers. We're gonna fuck your mothers while you watch and cry like little bitches. Once we get to Hollywood and find those Miramax fucks who are making that movie, we're gonna make 'em at our shit, then shit out our shit, then eat their shit which is made up of our shit that we made 'em eat. Then you're all fucking next.

Love, Jay and Silent Bob

Re:You're all fucking next (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257454)

Fifteen bucks, little man
Put that shit in my hand
If that money doesn't show
Then you owe me owe me oh.

Interference? (2)

dragons_flight (515217) | about 13 years ago | (#2257365)

I don't have a lot of experience with wireless communications. Thus far all I've used is radio, a wireless phone handset, and an emergency cell phone. In my daily life then interference has never caused any critical problems. Sure there is the occasional static on radio or what not, but the signal to noise ratio is generally quite good and a little corruption isn't that bad.

My question to you then is how bad is interference now and has it been getting worse? When you are running wireless networks and systems where single bit errors can be serious, how well do the failsafes work? Can you give examples where interference was/is a persistent serious problem?

Obviously if we keep expanding the spectrum and pumping more things into the air, there will be more interference. So right now are we doing pretty good that we can tolerate more interference, or are in the position of making a real problem much worse?

PS While I respect radio astronomers, your problems are not typical. We may simply have to accept that what's useful to us is harmful to you and the overall utility might trump some methods of research.

Re:Interference? (1)

jnik (1733) | about 13 years ago | (#2257573)

PS While I respect radio astronomers, your problems are not typical. We may simply have to accept that what's useful to us is harmful to you and the overall utility might trump some methods of research.

Take a look sometime. Radio astronomy allocations are miniscule. Last time I was at the VLA the problem was the Iridium was radiating out of band into the radio astronomy allocation, illegal practice and not neighbourly no matter whose spectrum you're smashing.

I would be worried if... (0)

Demonix (140379) | about 13 years ago | (#2257373)

TV was actually worth anything...

I mean, come on...I'm at my girl friends appt in west BY GOD Virginia, she's got 500 channels and there isn't a DAMN THING WORTH WATCHING for about 23 hours out of any given day.

and HDTV? do you really think joe sixpack is gonna notice the difference? That's like joe sixpack being able to pick out conversion artifacts on a 128m MP3. It doesn't happen.

Tech is a great thing...I love it to death, love watching it grow and spread. But there's a time when the new tech just isn't significantly better, or is looking for a different problem to solve than the one it gets crammed into. I mean, I could see getting a HDTV for console gaming, maybe...if they were less expensive.

I dunno, maybe thats just me :)

Re:I would be worried if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257444)

Wow, they have television in West Virginia?

Re:I would be worried if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257490)

Wow, they have electricity to power the televisions in West Virginia?

I hear they're getting indoor toilets next year.

HDTV encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257388)

And don't forget the seriously abusive plan to encrypt all HDTV broadcasts with this 4C (or was it 5C?) encryption system so that all HDTV sets sold to date will be relegated to merely displaying 480i even though they are prefectly capable of going up to 1080i.

Thank the MPAA (Motion Picture Ass of America) for that one - they say they won't let any stations broadcast their precious movies unless the channel is fully encrypted end-to-end.

At least there are rumblings that 4C has already been cracked, but the cracker is afraid to publish for fear of being skylaroved. Sweet irony that.

Re:HDTV encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257653)

Screwing the early adopters down to 480i and making the system functionally useless to people who timeshift is all part of the masterplan to make sure that nobody adopts HDTV. Then the broadcasters get multiple SD DTV channels AND get to keep their analog spectrum. $$$!

For those of you who didn't read the article... (3, Informative)

trcooper (18794) | about 13 years ago | (#2257393)

Which seems to be quite a few knee-jerk posters...

The point of the article was that the broadcast industry wants to profit from the sale of the analog spectrum they agreed to return to the public in 2006. They were given the new spectrum, valued at over 70 billion, for free. So, they want to take our property, and sell it.

In addition the current military spectrum is very much desired. The military would either like to keep it, or obtain the anaolog spectrum from broadcasters. Some folks in congress want to auction off the military spectrum, and the debate is whether the money goes to the military to help convert to another spectrum, or to other programs.

Fundamental problem with Campaign Contributions (2, Interesting)

Tattva (53901) | about 13 years ago | (#2257409)

Well, of course the broadcasters are going to try to do this. Do the math, they only need to contribute 20 million or so of soft money to reap a 200 billion windfall. That's a 1000000% return on investment.

Eben Moglen talked about this 4 years ago (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257416)

Eben Moglen (Prof. at Columbia Univ. and General Counsel for the FSF) was talking about the spectrum giveaway to TV broadcasters 4 years ago. See here [columbia.edu] . Interesting historical perspective.

Spectrum Wars (1)

Looge is GOD (454287) | about 13 years ago | (#2257418)

My friend recorded over my copy of Rampage for the 48k, so I got into a fight with him. That was the best spectrum war I've ever had.

OT: What's up with this? (1)

fatboy (6851) | about 13 years ago | (#2257424)

Why should broadcasters or other services be forced to pay more for spectrum allocation than it costs to administrate it?

Just asking, this is not flamebait, but is offtopic.

Re:OT: What's up with this? (3, Informative)

Fat Casper (260409) | about 13 years ago | (#2257456)

Because it is valuable public property, it gets auctioned off- if it's being used for commercial (private profits) interests, the people deserve to be paid fairly for it.

Information on spectrum giveaway and renewal (5, Insightful)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | about 13 years ago | (#2257516)

The digital spectrum, estimated to be worth $70 billion, was given away [issues2000.org] in 1996, to existing broadcasters. Prior to that, the spectrum was public property due to be auctioned off to broadcasters; after all, who but the public as a whole could be justified in having defacto ownership of something so widespread and intangible? Auctions like these created a balance of public interests, and offered opportunities to American businesses. By 'renting' this public property, business could flourish while operating under guidelines that ensured the public's airwaves would serve the public good. A plutocratic minority would love to tell you about how the evil government is censoring their broadcasts, but the truth is that airwaves that are won through these auctions are regulated by a 'public good' that is defined by public commentary to the FCC. These auctions are the ultimate example of free-market in a democracy, because the buck stops at the people.

But with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 [issues2000.org] , it was Trent Lott who prohibited the auctions, and forced the FCC to give licenses away. The act also prohibited consideration of anyone but the renewal applicant for the license, assuring that only the owners of the ill-gotten licenses would be keeping them, and I quote:
`(4) COMPETITOR CONSIDERATION PROHIBITED- In making the
determinations specified in paragraph (1) or (2), the
Commission shall not consider whether the public interest,
convenience, and necessity might be served by the grant of a
license to a person other than the renewal applicant.'.


You do the math.

Deciding whether to side with the FCC or with Corporate America in this matter is easy. I live in a democracy; if I don't like the government I can run for office and change it. I don't like Carnivore, Echelon, the DMCA, and I would like to play a significant role in having the NSA and the CIA dissolved and opened to the scrutiny of the world. Why does it work this way when 90% of the country, left and right, libertarian and conservative, doesn't like it? Why can't I change the way this government works? It's because no one takes office without large corporate donors behind them, and no one campaigns without the millions of dollars needed to get themselves on corporate airwaves. The public would never know your name, and that would gaurantee you a sideline seat for the election debates that, by the way, happen to be corporate-sponsored as well. It's one big joke.

It's more how long it is than what you do with it. (0)

Looge Over All! (454290) | about 13 years ago | (#2257530)

In any Spectrum war it is esential to be the one armed with the +2 or the +3 as they can be wielded like a cricket bat and thereby cause far more damage than your opponent can if he gets stuck with a 48k.

What're you gonna do rubber key boy, throw your tape recorder at me?

this is old news/sticking up for Howard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257586)

I believe Wired had an article about this. It came out maybe winter 1997. It was called "The Great HDTV Swindle" or something. It harped on the points that:
1.) all these companies get something for free
2.) on account of the existing TV standard being an official HDTV format, companies don't have to do anything
Given points 1.) and 2.), we come up with
3.) we get shafted, and
4.) the FCC rules

First they fine the hell out of Howard Stern, then this. Bastards.

A. Nonymouscoward

What about UWB? (2)

PopeAlien (164869) | about 13 years ago | (#2257629)

Ultra WideBand [key3media.com] looks promising for PDA/ Wireless data transfer, and with that kind of bandwidth you could shove quite alot of stuff including video.. Lets just do away with 'traditional' broadcasters - Its the future already.

Blind Jingoism? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2257667)

From the article: "We risk losing our leadership role."

We can't loose something we don't have, Finland had the first commercial mobile networks, the first digital GSM networks and soon will be amongst the first UMTS networks, a few months after the same can be said for the rest of Europe.

Let's not kid ourselves, they were ahead to start with and continue to be, American is great for many things but our mobile networks have always sucked. I'm not sure if it's even a matter of leapfrogging, the Europeans were installing digital GSM networks in the late 80's and early 90's whilst at the same time we were still deploying analog technology, of varying standards.

This mess needs to be sorted out, this is a critical infrastructure like the highways (or slashdot), when you have former Eastern Block [nortelnetworks.com] countries with better cellular services than NY it's a disgrace. I'm a libertarian, but the free market has really failed us here.

I'm sincerely disappointed with the state of things, and it only gets worse, the providers are too busy cramming yet more subscribers onto the overburdened networks instead of solving the core problems with the infrastructure. And the market isn't solving a thing, because the competition is doing exactly the same thing.

In defense of the broadcasters... (1)

acoustix (123925) | about 13 years ago | (#2257737)

...who were NOT given a choice of whether or not they wanted to switch to the new digital spectrum.

How else are they supposed to raise money to switch from analog to digital equipment? We are talking millions and billions of dollars of equipment that ALL broadcasters (large and small) have to switch to because the government said so.

Since the government mandated that all stations must change from analog to digital before 2006 do you think that equipment manufacturers are gonna drop their prices before then? Very unlikely.

So where does the money come from?

Maybe the FCC could auction them off and give a cut of the sales to the broadcasters.

Consider the lower costs later on (0)

Bobuhabu (468270) | about 13 years ago | (#2257753)

The irony here is that all you people complaining about how the corporations are attempting to rip you (the public) off by auctioning off the analog spectrum when they were given additional spectrum for free. You will be posting complaing about the high costs and evil corporations ripping you off for your HDTV, 3G cell phones and PDA's and higher speed wireless internet access.

As popular of a notion of blaming everything on Corporate America is in this country. You might want to consider this, more money for corporations means lower prices and faster rollout of our beloved 3G technology.

Now, I realize that companies with the likes of Microsoft are inherently evil (.NET) but I still believe in the values of Capitalism and the free market. Lower costs means lower prices in the long run.

Did anyone actually to expect the corporations just to happily hand over 70 billion dollars? Of course they will fight and probably win, but just consider although the downside will be the continuance of rape of the public by corporations there will be will be added benefits to you the consumer in the form of lower overall costs for everyone.

Besides, if the gov't took over the old airwaves they would squander it or sell it off and use it for some unecessery pork bill or yet another raise for our poor senators.



Can't have it both ways, but since "We the People" will lose anyways might as well look to the upside.
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