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Google et al. Want 700 MHz Auction Opened Up

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the third-helping-of-pipes dept.

Wireless Networking 170

The 700 MHz spectrum could give birth to the much-anticipated third pipe, but phone and cable lobbyists are currently pressuring the FCC to sell companies like AT&T and Verizon our airwaves — in a flawed auction process — so they can hoard this valuable spectrum and stifle competitive alternatives to their networks. Google and other would-be providers are not taking it lying down. They want the FCC to mandate that whoever wins the auction be required to sell access to those airwaves, at wholesale prices, to anyone wanting to provide broadband Internet service. They also want anonymous auctions to prevent the giant incumbents from manipulating the results against small players (as they have done in the past).

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170 comments

Hmm... (1)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375217)

What is this third pipe? What are the other two?

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375287)

What is this third pipe? What are the other two?

Well one's normally referred as a tube.

Re:Hmm... (3, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375423)

How does a tube differ from a pipe? And what's the third one called? Is it a straw? I hope it's a bendy straw! I always loved those as a kid.

Re:Hmm... (1)

GunFodder (208805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377317)

The difference between a pipe and a tube is that pipes are normally used to carry crap OUT of a building.

Re:Hmm... (1, Informative)

kc32 (879357) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375291)

The other two would be the 900MHz and 2300MHz bands.

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

scooter.higher (874622) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375311)

FTFA:

"The 700 MHz auctions will not give birth to the much anticipated third pipe if the licenses are auctioned to the very same vertically integrated telephone and cable incumbents that dominate the wireline market."

Reading that leads me to believe that "telephone and cable incumbents that dominate the wireline market" are the first two pipes.

Pipes of course referring to internet connectivity.

You have to have a pipe to connect to the tubes... (couldn't resist)

Re:Hmm... (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375643)

Good. I cannot believe I am the only one that has heard that bi-sexual men liking to 'take it up both pipes.'

In light of this, your explanation is a relief!

Re:Hmm... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19376735)

Tubes! LOL!!!!! OMG he said TUBES! +5 to you good sir!

Re:Hmm... (0, Redundant)

mgoren (73073) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375321)

What is this third pipe? What are the other two?

Cable & DSL, apparently. At least that's what I get from the article.

Straight face. (-1, Redundant)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375327)

What is this third pipe? What are the other two?

Cable and DSL. Most people have given up on fiber to the home along with DSL, so there is really only one broadband provider in the US and it's intentionally crippled by M$ and the MAFIAA.

I know, you wanted to hear about tubes or something. Jokes about tubes come through the interntet, it's like a clammor of thoughts that bounce back and forth in a public space. Not everyone wants it that way.

Re:Straight face. (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375425)

There is really only one broadband provider in the US and it's intentionally crippled by M$ and the MAFIAA.

O_O

Honestly if you can prove to me that this sentence is making even some limited amount of sense, I'll give ya a hundred bucks immediately.

You can keep your money. (4, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375771)

The FCC has intentionally let the market collapse to a false competition between a local cable company and a local phone company. Very few phone companies have come through with their promisses so Cable is really the only option most people may have. Cable everywhere has blocked ports and intentionally low upload speeds. The US 16th in the network world and falling fast.

Re:You can keep your money. (1)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375919)

so Cable is really the only option most people may have.


Really? Where I live a lot of people's only option is DSL as there is no cable. Slow DSL at that, they just reduced my speed to 320 b/sec download. Still better than dialup.

Re:You can keep your money. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376257)

Depends on where you are.

Personally, I've never had any option but cable -- no DSL, ever. And I've lived in a variety of areas, from fairly rural (Central Maine, Eastern Connecticut) to suburban (Arlington, VA) and never had DSL. In two cases (VA and CT), the phone companies initially told me I had DSL, but later said "oops, our bad" when it never worked, or when they checked more accurate line-feet databases. (In CT, they actually sent me a DSL modem and tried to give me service, but it just never worked, in VA, I got through two or three levels of customer service before they admitted that it just wasn't going to happen.)

But whether it's just DSL, or just Cable, either way you're screwed, particularly since FCC reversed its stance on Local Loop Unbundling, killing off independent DSL providers in most markets. (Even though anyone who was following the price of broadband, particularly DSL, back when LLU went into effect saw the prices drop and customer service increase as a result; you had low-cost plans introduced, and premium providers like Speakeasy with good service, etc.)

And even if you have access to both, it's really just two sides of the same coin. There's no real competition, no progress on either bandwidth or pricing. They have no reason to.

Re:You can keep your money. (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376655)

exactly, the two groups, phone and cable choose to "not compete" while looking like it on paper. Generally you have one or the other and the late company to the game in your area simply won't upgrade the equipment.. even if they advertise nationally or state-wide. Hopefully the FCC will crack open the books on the REAL roll out data so the public can put dots on a map and show just how poor the service really is from these guys. Maybe they'll do this AFTER they sell the "next big thing" to the already existing big players so they can kill it!

Re:Straight face. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19376333)

Eh? Why did you draw a reel to reel recorder?

Re:Straight face. (4, Insightful)

jim_deane (63059) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375439)

People have given up on DSL?

It's been way more reliable for me than my neighbors' cable internet. Sure, their highest burst download speeds are better than my paltry 3 meg connection, but I have that 3 meg connection with very little variation day and night. Their cable connection slows down noticeably after school and in the evenings--when most of us are using the net. Our DSL does not slow in any detectable way.

Cable still has a stronghold here (semi-rural Kansas) due to the number of people out of reach of the DSL service area, but still within cable service.

I just don't see DSL as dead, or even threatened. Not around here, anyway.

Re:Straight face. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375597)

People have given up on DSL?

Yes, the people who can't get it have basically faced the reality that the telcos will simply not upgrade the networks near them to support it. Maybe they're in rural places, maybe they're tucked into some corner of a city just out of reach of all the COs around them, but many of the telcos are refusing to spend any more money to improve their network.

Re:Straight face. (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376603)

I signed up for DSL, they said from my location I could get a 'whopping' 1 Mbit connection with 256k up for $39/mo- after getting hooked up and paying some $60 for the modem, I found the connection was bombing about every 5 minutes due to excessive errors. They dropped my rate to 512k down, 256k up and kept my fee the same, how thoughtful. After my IP phone ate all my bandwidth for work-related calls and brought my work-related SSH connections to a crawl such that I couldn't do both (eg, couldn't do my job) I switched to cable. I'm not outside the city limits, and in fact I'm on a large residential street right next door to a school. Aside from a bunch of 'planned' maintenance that they can never tell me about and a summer of highly intermittant connectivity (SNRs would decrease during the heat of day and drop for hours at a time and come back in the evening) that took 12 trips to resolve with their usual 1-2 weeks between each visit where they'd come and the connection would of course be working when they came and about 12 minutes after they left would shut down... anyway, ever since it has been incredibly reliable and they've even increased my speed for $3 / month. I used to get about 600kbytes/s down and 30kbytes/s up, now closer to 1MB/s down and 60kb/s up. Although I'm reasonably happy with it, the 'planned' outages always get me since I often work through the night. I asked a year ago how to find out about them and they had an email list they were working on setting up... I gave them my address, never heard a peep.. asked the other day and they're working on a website that will list these... i'll believe it when I see it. If I could get reliable / fast dsl for the same price as my cable internet (~$45/mo + tax/fees, own my own modem) I'd switch back because it was rock solid once they knocked me down to a crawl.

Re:Straight face. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19376677)

So what you're saying is most people in your area have cable rather than DSL, and they experience more of a slowdown during peak traffic hours than the underused DSL network? Wow, I would have never expected that. Maybe if everybody switched to DSL, everyone would have a faster connection.

Re:Straight face. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19377041)

yes, they would, idiot. that's the nature of DSL.

Embarq killed it here. (1)

th3rmite (938737) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376697)

Where I live in North Carolina, people flew like droves to DSL due to it being cheaper than Time Warner's cable offering, but after a few months, the service kept dropping, sometimes for days. Every time anyone called in to complain, they would be told that if they had to come into your house (which they almost always tried to do) you would be charged $45 unless you agreed to pay for DSL Insurance.

Whether it was true or not, all my neighbors started thinking scam and switched to Time Warner's cable internet.

Re:Straight face. (3, Interesting)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377027)

Im also in Kansas and have DSL, as my understanding was the cable in this town is lousy. The DSL, through SBC/AT&T has been reliable, though getting it in the first place was a serious hassle.

I have the option of wireless internet, as I work for a WISP who just put up an ap about 6 blocks from my place. They offered me service but....meh, that stuff has lousy bandwidth in the 900mhz range ;)

Re:Straight face. (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377159)

From 1998 through 2002 I had a nice very stable (4 hours of downtime TOTAL in 4 years) DSL connection in Cedar Rapids, IA through a local ISP - about half the downtime was their fault (router went bad once, another time their big pipe went down) other half was qwest outtages (storm once, servicing another time).

Between then and now I had a mixture of college-provided lan, then cable internet (mediacom) which was decent - but i just moved this last few days to a new appartment - came with internet delivered via HPNA, shared bandwidth between multiple buildings (not told of this in advance), filtered (not told of this in advanced), qos-degraded for non http/imap/smtp/pop traffic (not told of this in advance) weee. So anyway.. nasty emails to the new landlords - and a new 1.5mbit Qwest DSL connection ordered [with my own DSL modem/bridge so i can get one that is JUST A BRIDGE since I already have a 10/100 switch/wireless-g ap/NAT router and qwest only lets you rent dsl modem/routers (one w/ wireless, one w/o)].

so... dsl definantly not dead.

Re:Straight face. (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377441)

I just don't see DSL as dead, or even threatened. Not around here, anyway.

Likewise! I've had both cable and DSL off and on since around 2000, and much prefer DSL. It tends to be a lot cheaper and more reliable. None of the DSL connections I've had have ever appeared to just "not work" for more than a minute or two, and that only very rarely (maybe once a month or less). While cable connections seem to flake out for hours at a time, and more frequently.

Plus DSL is a lot cheaper everywhere I've lived. At my parents' home in Michigan, they can get 512 kB DSL for $15/month, and 2 MB for $25, but basic cable access would be like $30/month.

Re:Straight face. (2, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375569)

Don't you guys have MAN [wikipedia.org]s? They're pretty popular here in Beijing, and provide pretty good performance too, certainly good value (99rmb/month). The ones I've used have been 10BaseT ethernet connections.

Re:Hmm... (0, Redundant)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375367)

The other two are basically referring to cable and DSL. The so-called "third-pipe" is a new method/technology for delivering broadband access to consumers, with the theory being that this new method would be cost-effective to deliver broadband to both urban and rural areas.


It's basically a third alternative (after cable and DSL) for giving people quality access to the internets. Ofcourse the problem is that the major players want to grab up huge portions of the market and basically stifle competition and discourage new, smaller players from entering the market. Pretty much makes a third alternative for broadband access pretty useless if the smaller competitors are being cut out/marginalized from the start.

Re:Hmm... (0, Redundant)

megabyte405 (608258) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375435)

It appears that the "third pipe" refers to a third viable option for high-speed broadband access. The other two pipes are cable modem technology and DSL. Source: http://telephonyonline.com/news/telecom_third_pipe s_charm/ [telephonyonline.com]

(It does _not_ refer to creating a third ISM [license-free] band such as 900MHz and 2.4 GHz (especially since 5.8GHz [802.11a] is also license-free), and afaict, that's not what Google is lobbying for - they just want to be able to license it)

Surely..... (1)

PorkNutz (730601) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375225)

Google has enough money to compete in these auctions. Why wouldn't they simply outbid the competitors and sell the space themselves?

Re:Surely..... (3, Interesting)

scooter.higher (874622) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375361)

But they know that if they can get the "telephone and cable incumbents that dominate the wireline market" bumped out of, or at least have them given a reduced presence in, the auction they have a better chance of winning the auction with less up front out of pocket.

Does that mean free, high speed, wireless internet access paid for by Google Ads? Probably not. But it might. There were several companies doing the same with dial-up a few years back.

Re:Surely..... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375391)

The cable/telephone companies will outspend google just to keep them out. Google can only hope to get 'into' the business, while the other two can simply raise prices to cover the cost of keeping google out.

Re:Surely..... (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375409)

This saves money, but there is a more important thing. Let me rephrase the summary (my additions are in brackets):

The 700 MHz spectrum could give birth to the much-anticipated third pipe, but the [nefarious] phone and cable lobbyists are currently pressuring the FCC to sell [evil] companies like AT&T and Verizon our airwaves -- in a flawed auction process -- so they can [greedily] hoard this valuable spectrum and stifle heroic competitive alternatives to their networks. Google[, the hero of the day,] and other [righteous] would-be providers are not taking it lying down. They [justly] want the FCC to mandate that whoever wins the auction be required to sell access to those airwaves, at wholesale prices, to anyone wanting to provide broadband Internet service[ for the common good]. They also want anonymous auctions to prevent the giant[, venomous] incumbents from manipulating the results against [the heroic ]small players (as they have done in the past)[, who are helplessly struggling to protect themselves from this menace].


Google is being the good guys so everyone likes them (and also possibly for other reasons).

Re:Surely..... (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376023)

Google is being the good guys so everyone likes them.

That's basically the reason to be a good guy. I can't think of any other reason right now...

This has yet to happen. (5, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375415)

Why wouldn't [Google] simply outbid the competitors and sell the space themselves?

The "competitors" can collude and form a much larger bidder than anyone else. They drive the price up where real competition advances but leave prices low for themselves elsewhere. If bidding is anonymous, it will be harder for people to collude and everyone will have to pay what they think the airwaves are worth.

There are still problems with the proposals. The first is that the incumbents won't treat their competitors fairly, even if forced by law to share. They will screw them over and pay whatever fees the government levies but then pass the costs back to you and me. The second problem is that the incumbents can overbid because they know there will be no real competition and they can charge whatever they like in the long run. These are not shortcomings of a free market, they are failures in regulations for a scarce resource which some say is not scarce afterall [slashdot.org]. It's ultimately a failure to share equitably.

How much do you really want to pay for your airwaves? I want mine free. The FCC should change it's mission to the above mentioned report and enforcing peaceful co-existence. The only problems with spectrum would be accidental disruption, which can be fixed, and willful disruption, which should be punished.

Re:This has yet to happen. (1)

alen (225700) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375511)

Google can team up with microsoft and Yahoo as well as few other companies as well. not like AT&T and Verizon are friends. they are competitors with each other.

Reason Google is making noise is that they want someone else to spend tens of millions of $$$ and then leech of it like they do with everyone else. Google is good at what it does, but in the end they are masters of making money of other people's creations and investments.

Re:This has yet to happen. (2, Insightful)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376195)

10's of millions? Heh...last I heard this auction is worth over $15 billion. Not even Google can blow that kind of dough unnoticed...

Re:Surely..... (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375417)

Google has enough money to compete in these auctions. Why wouldn't they simply outbid the competitors and sell the space themselves?

Actually, they do have enough money - Google has a market cap roughly equal to Verizon and Time Warner combined

The problem here doesn't (only) involve money, though - Basically, it sounds like these auctions have most of the "fairness" of EBay, where unscrupulous sellers (sadly, our own government in this case) and bidders can drive a price up far beyond its fair value. In this case, the existing broadband companies (the first two pipes referenced in the FP) would presumeably like to keep their regional duopolies and would either use the 700MHz range for their exclusive use, or if they can, buy it cheap just to prevent anyone else from using it.

Thus the requested condition that the winner MUST license it to competitors - That prevents Verizon (for example) from using various tricks to get the spectrum cheap and then do nothing with it.

Not so sure I understand the reason for some of the other mentioned terms of the auction (anonymous? I know our government has some corruption, but so bad that a non-anonymous auction would give the existing players an unfair edge?)

Re:Surely..... (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375763)

When it comes to the bidding process, should the government finally not recognised that it is selling access to the part of the spectrum of behalf of the population. Surely the bidding process should not only be based on how much they are willing to pay for it but on how much they are going to charge for access to it.

The governments lie of just focusing on selling it to the highest bidder, who just it turn feels they will be able to charge us the most for access , means they are no in any way shape or form representing the interests of the people but only establishing yet another part of the public wealth as a closed off private area for profit by corporations at the expense of the general public.

So will this auction be held and this release of spectrum be in the public interest or will it be yet another demonstration of the corruption and inherent ignorance of a typical corporation controlled government administration.

Re:Surely..... (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376783)

sure, if they get invited to the first round.

Lately the FCC is pretty good (with the prez approval) about keeping big deals that benefit mega corps quite (posted in a lavatory in the basement of city hall for us plebs.. but the dept head goes out of his way to meet the big players for lunch about the deal) The FCC is VERY anti-little-guy right now, and even guys like Google are still "new money".. another term for little guys that can momentarily out spend you for a new toy. The effort is making sure the deals are even made in public up front in time for companies that want in to make a strategy.

I like the idea of several national channels as well... That would really help somebody like Google to roll out cool services.

Welcome to the best Government (2, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375297)

that money can buy.

No matter who wins this fight, we all lose.

Everyone could win. (3, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375495)

No matter who wins this fight, we all lose.

No, it's possible to lower the cost of wireless by fixing the bidding process. If ATT and friends know there will be real competition, they will be less able to run the prices up. It won't be impossible but it will be harder.

A real sharing of spectrum is possible [slashdot.org] but politically unlikely. Really, we should claim the air for ourselves and no further regulation is required other than policing intentional disruption.

Politically unlikely being the critical point (2, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375583)

It's politically unlikely because of all the corruption and bribery going on by big business.

Pity, that the truth is modded down as a troll, or flamebait, redundant, whatever. It's still the truth.

I hope google is not too "good"... (0, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375355)

To wallpaper Congress with Benjamins, because that's what it's going to take to put this over, and we really need it.

25th Google story of the week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375489)

This is like the 25th Google story on Slashdot this week.
Give it a break guys.
Or move them to their own shill section like the Intel stories.

News for nerds, stuff that matters. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376953)

It seems like the Goog is actually being more active in adopting smart new technologies and delivering them to the common geek than any other company out there. They build them and they buy them. They give them to us, without strings. Oh, and their search engine rocks.

What you don't read about here is Google entering into obscure secret deals to leverage their IP and jointly market their extortionate plans. Slashdot likes Google. Get over it.

Re:25th Google story of the week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19377717)

go back to your windows live searches and digging...

Generalized Economic Rent Tax (5, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375393)

The way spectrum is currently utilized, it is like land. Although it doesn't have to be this way [slashdot.org], reality dictates that until proper technologies for spectrum utilization are put into place, that spectrum be treated like land:

The users should rent it from the government that is enforcing their property rights over this natural resource.

This is a principle called "economic rent".

Milton Friedman has declared such taxation the "least distorting" kind of tax.

The way to set the rental agreement is to determine the liquidation value of the "land", and then charge a rent on it equal to the interest rate on short term US treasury instruments.

As with any rental agreement there would be other terms but the basic idea is that such resources enjoy liquidation value changes that are primarily a result of the economic environment -- meaning economic externalities drive the liquidation value -- and allocation of externalities is a social function.

Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375465)

Ron Paul. The right wing's answer to Ralph Nader. I sincerely hope he wins the Republican primary, because that'd make the Dems unbeatable in 2008. Even Kucinich would be a shoo-in against that weirdo.

The overprivileged adolescents who buy into libertarianism may fall for Mr. Paul's song and dance, true, but fortunately they can't vote.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (0, Offtopic)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375971)

And who do you want instead? Hillary? If you thought Bush was eroding civil liberties, it would be different but the same under Hillary. "Think of the children" instead of "Think of the terrorists." The end result would be different, to be sure -- a smaller erosion of freedoms, with a direct impact on many more people. The Democratic candidates are not in favor of personal liberties in the slightest (neither are most of the republicans).

Ron Paul is a libertarian, and more than slightly loony; that said, he's not the bat-shit loco of the Libertarian party. At least with him in the White House, it wouldn't be business as usual.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (0, Offtopic)

Tickletaint (1088359) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376015)

Yes, Ron Paul is the kind of "libertarian" who has no problems funding programs he likes, such as those that aim to barricade America against immigration. He's the sort of "libertarian" who hates free trade and who would restrict a woman's right to choose. The sort of "libertarian" who voted to ban gay adoptions in DC.

Honestly, do you Ron Paul me-tooers bother reading up on anyone you support before jumping on the bandwagon?

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (0, Offtopic)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376099)

I don't agree with all of his policies, actually. I do, however, think that he's honest and consistent, and therefore predictable. He claims his right-to-life stance is based on a states rights stance, and that the federal government should stay out of it. In this instance I disagree with him (rather strongly), but I like the general small-federal-government stance. However, I'm not terribly worried about this -- he would have very little power to actually do anything about it. He's also against the income tax, but I'm not worried he'd repeal it -- not for lack of trying, but for lack of effective power to do so. But that comes from a desire to cut the size of the federal government, which I firmly agree with and think he would have the power to do.

He's also the sort of libertarian who actually votes to keep government small, voted against the Patriot Act, is against subsidizing large corporations... plenty of things I support. I'm not in favor of him because I think he'd be perfect, but rather because I think he'd shake things up more than a little bit, and mostly in ways I'd appreciate.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (1)

Tickletaint (1088359) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376141)

I understand, thanks for explaining your support. Shaking things up in government is something we can probably all agree on.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376177)

I recently heard the suggestion that one should evaluate candidate's positions not on what they say they will do, or are likely to try to do, but on what they actually *could* do if elected. Examined in this light, Paul looks a lot more appealing. And I definitely want someone with more respect for the constitution.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (0, Offtopic)

karmatic (776420) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376173)

[Ron Paul is] the sort of "libertarian" who hates free trade and who would restrict a woman's right to choose.
I'll leave the "hates free trade" comment to someone else, but I will take a crack at the "woman's right to choose".

It is a libertarian principle that people should not enforce their will on others through coercion (this is a lot of why Libertarians hate government as much as they do - it is, in fact a system of organized coercion, taking what people have - essentially at gunpoint - to provide services for the "common good").

An extension of this principle is why murder is bad, and as such why society has an interest in preventing it - it is, fundamentally, the ultimate extension of coercion. By murdering someone, you have permanently ended all freedom, all will, all "right to choose" of the individual you murder. Personally, I feel that if I saw someone being unjustly attacked (little old lady getting mugged, for example), I would have an ethical right (and obligation) to intercede if possible, to the maximum amount I could safely do so. I recognize this as a fundamental truth, and consider police intervention in such crime an extension of this principle.

When trying to apply this principle to abortion, people draw different results. It is, in fact, a point of much contention in the Libertarian party.

Ethically speaking, however, we do a disservice by pretending it has anything at all to do with mothers rights. Bear with me, as that statement needs explaining:

Nobody (as far as I have encountered) says that they are in favor of killing children. I have never heard anyone argue such, and would question the mental state of anyone who did. As such, the real question has as little to do with "mothers rights" as "attacker's rights" has to do with murders. Either the unborn fetus is a person worthy of legal protection, or it's an unborn mass of cells that isn't. If it's a person, it's (probably) murder. If it's not a person, then how is it any different from disposing of any other foreign human cells inside your body?

As for me, I was born significantly premature. It would have been perfectly legal, and possible, to have me aborted the day I was born. I've seen pictures which explained some ways abortions were performed, and it sickened me greatly. There are no people more helpless than unborn children, and it's undeniable that an abortion ends the life of someone who potentially would have lived a long, full, productive life. I also worked for an adoption web site, and I know of a good number of families who paid a lot of money to advertise to try to reach birth mothers, hoping to adopt. Mothers have a lot of options for family placement, and the option of severing all ties if desired. I have a hard time seeing most abortion as anything more than a senseless waste of life. Women who sleep around run the risk of pregnancy. It's a natural, biological consequence of sleeping around. The pain ends in 9 months, and you don't have to keep the child. It could be worse - AIDS lasts a lifetime.

I feel that abortion should be treated as the premeditated killing of another human being, or perhaps the "potential" premeditated killing of another human being. Figure out what percentage of non-aborted fetuses die before birth, and base it off that. "There's a 95% chance you killed another person, so here's 95% of a murder conviction."

As for rape, I can certainly see a case for abortion. It's a form of self defense. It's justifiable homicide, but homicide nonetheless.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19377531)

The stuff I shot into a sock last night could have become a person, too. Did I commit murder?

Guess I should go turn myself in to the nearest police station...

But, seriously, the fact of the matter is that it comes down to one's morals. Your morals tell you that abortion is a terrible thing. Someone else may see it differently. What gives you, or anyone else, the right to force your morals upon others? What makes your definition of when a fetus becomes a "person" any more "right" than someone else's?

If you want people to stop getting abortions, take the time to convince them, don't just go stripping them of their freedoms.

Re:Ron Paul for Republican nominee! (0, Offtopic)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377563)

"and who would restrict a woman's right to choose"

Actually, he simply says the federal government has absolutely no authority to cover that, and that it should be up to the states to choose.

Re:LOLWAFFLES ROTFLIPFLOP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19376059)

Ron Paul. The right wing's answer to Ralph Nader.

The only comparison I can think of between Ron Paul and Ralph Nader is that both guys have a very strange quality of thinking truth is more important than perception.

You may be surprised at how many of those "kids" you're writing off will eventually end up registering and voting . Take comfort that he won't make it past the primaries, because people will go for a much slicker, polished candidate.

Re:LOLWAFFLES ROTFLIPFLOP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19376163)

You may be surprised at how many of those "kids" you're writing off will eventually end up registering and voting
Yeah but by then most of them will have outgrown libertarianism.

Re:LOLWAFFLES ROTFLIPFLOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19377741)

OUTGROW liberty? You're kidding me, right?

I grew up an average liberal, I discovered socialism. And yes, I outgrew it. I'm not libertarian, at some point I've endorsed right-wing issues, but generally I'm not slightly left-leaning.

What's there to outgrow with liberty? Liberty is what you begin to understand once you see all the bullshit in mainstream politics, whyever you would consider that mainstream grown-up or anything. It's sandbox games all over.

Monopoly Rents. (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375907)

The users should rent it from the government that is enforcing their property rights over this natural resource.

Others have argued there is no scarcity of the resource you are talking about [slashdot.org], so no regulation is required. Taxing unlimited resources is socially harmful. In this case, the only purpose of the tax is to "protect" incumbents and their revenue stream. The cost to the rest of us for that revenue stream is the majority of your monthly telco bill, and a proportion of all the goods and services you purchase. The cost of that protection is monopolies which maximize your cost and minimize your service. This is why the US is falling behind the rest of the world in network service.

Make the FCC try something new... (4, Interesting)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375413)

Why not just leave the spectrum completely open to the public like 900MHz and 2.4GHz? Although, require that the spectrum must use intelligent radio devices that comply to a single standard (through IEEE for example).

Re:Make the FCC try something new... (2)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376363)

Because the government wants to sell the spectrum for money rather than open it to the public which would get the government zero dollars.

I want 450 MHz instead. (1)

nbritton (823086) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376821)

"Why not just leave the spectrum completely open to the public like 900MHz and 2.4GHz?"
That would be great... But I'd rather have something around 450 MHz. 450 MHz is easier to propagate, compared to 900 and 2400 MHz, and it's also cheaper to make equipment and cabling for it. 450 MHz would be great for longer links and mesh networking.

Save Our Spectrum (?) (5, Interesting)

mgoren (73073) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375513)

Is this related to the Save Our Spectrum [freepress.net] coalition? I believe that group is asking for the following:
  • establish a service rule for broadband services operating in the 700 MHz band that protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider.
  • allow third-party access to spectrum owned by other companies. This "open access" plan to include wholesale access to networks would enable more competitors to offer services
  • institute anonymous bidding in auctions to lessen the possibility of bid signalling and bid rigging that studies found to have taken place in prior auctions.
Also, what about open spectrum [wikipedia.org]? Does it work well in practice? Would that be a better solution? (though I know it's a moot point for the upcoming auction.)

Re:Save Our Spectrum (?) (1)

prator (71051) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376157)

I've also seen Public Knowledge [publicknowledge.org] discussing this quite a bit. I'm sure that I ended up there from reading a /. article at some point.

Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (3, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375631)

The whole premise behind the FCC was that if spectrum was unregulated you would have a tragedy of the commons were everybody would pollute it so much that it would become unusable. However in practice that has turned out to be a complete and absolute lie. In the unregulated spectrum's, the more the spectrum got "polluted", the more people created technologies that could intelligently allocate, detect, shift, and route around. So now all spectrum regulation does is lock in obsolete technologies and wasteful inefficient use of the frequencies in place.

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375889)

I thought that the premise was to allow companies who pay the right people to enjoy monopolies at the expense of the public. It is part of the US federal government, isn't it?

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (3, Interesting)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376419)

a tragedy of the commons were everybody would pollute it so much that it would become unusable.
However in practice that has turned out to be a complete and absolute lie

Is it? I have no metrics to back up what I'm saying, I haven't done any research on the topic, but I live in a gadget soaked suburb, and anything in the 900mhz or 2.4 ghz band is completely unusable, and 5.8 used to be fine, but is worsening. I already had to wire my house to get around the massive interference from my neighbors and all their spurious emissions. My radio even picks up the digital clicks from their cell-phones. I don't know what the answer is, but a bunch of conflicting stuff is a bad answer.

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19377303)

it is because your electronics do not have good filters on them, a few ferrite beads and you are good

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (4, Informative)

NateTech (50881) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377385)

The people touting no control at all, also have no metrics or basis for their claims. Your analysis is as close as it comes when we talk about unlicensed free-for-alls, and if 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz are examples... trying to do real services that people pay for in unlicensed uncontrolled spectrum would be a joke. Whoever had the most money for the most transmitters and amplifiers, would win.

And considering that there are still LICENSED users of those bands who've all but had to abandon them to the noise floor created by the Part 15 unlicenced gadgets also adds more fuel to your comments.

900 MHz, and 2.4 GHz are already overcrowded wastelands, and spread spectrum technology somewhat covers up the mess that's been made there for the end-users. There are now 15 (most open, unsecured) 802.11 access points accessible from my suburban driveway. We're all interfering with each other, most of the end-users just don't know it. They think the performance numbers they get today are normal. Early adopters have seen it go drastically downhill.

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376625)

The whole premise behind the FCC was that if spectrum was unregulated you would have a tragedy of the commons were everybody would pollute it so much that it would become unusable. However in practice that has turned out to be a complete and absolute lie.

So there is no such thing as interference? It doesn't ever happen? Anywhere? Ever? Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (4, Informative)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376637)

In an unregulated scenario, it would be whoever has the most powerful transmitter would win. It really doesn't matter what scheme you come up if someone just decides to blast the airwaves. Things like CDMA and TDMA only work because all the participating radios are working off the same agreed upon protocol. CDMA requires all the transmitters use a chirping code such that the resulting transmissions are orthogonal to each other. TDMA requires a centralized management of time slots. Even Bluetooth requires that everyone on the same PAN subscribe to the same pseudorandom number sequence. If someone just decides to blast radio waves, there's nothing anyone or any scheme can do.

Re:Spectrum Anarchy - kill the FCC (2, Interesting)

CaptainDefragged (939505) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376949)

The whole premise behind the FCC was that if spectrum was unregulated you would have a tragedy of the commons were everybody would pollute it so much that it would become unusable. However in practice that has turned out to be a complete and absolute lie.
I'm afraid that this statement is provably false. Here is but one example. Whilst I am not across how things are in the US, here in Australia, 27mHz CBRS (Citizens Band Radio Service) is unregulated, as is UHF CBRS. When it was regulated in the 80s, you could actually use CBRS to communicate. We even had inspectors that would "look after" people with linear amplifiers and other trouble makers. Since the regulation was abolished, CBRS is virtually unusable, with numerous antisocial persons blocking the channels with music, abuse and whatnot. It took a couple of years, but as people gave up on 27mHz and went to UHF, the deadheads followed. Now both segments of CBRS are useless. Quite a few of the people I used to know migrated to Amateur (HAM) radio and the others just gave it away altogether. HAM and 27mHz marine are still regulated and are more than usable.

AT&T and Verizon... Where Do I Know Those Name (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375695)

Oh yeah - those are the companies that handed over all the information concerning their subscriber's phone calls to the Bush administration without so much as a warrant to legitimize the request.

Slashblogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375733)

"The 700 MHz spectrum could give birth to the much-anticipated third pipe, but phone and cable lobbyists are currently pressuring the FCC to sell companies like AT&T and Verizon our airwaves -- in a flawed auction process -- so they can hoard this valuable spectrum and stifle competitive alternatives to their networks. Google and other would-be providers are not taking it lying down. They want the FCC to mandate that whoever wins the auction be required to sell access to those airwaves, at wholesale prices, to anyone wanting to provide broadband Internet service. They also want anonymous auctions to prevent the giant incumbents from manipulating the results against small players (as they have done in the past)."

Gee, that's what I like about slashdot. Fair and balanced, unlike those biased news media the public depends upon.

We all lose anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19375757)

This and other spectrum are coming from normal broadcast allocations, so we can be forced to buy all new TV and radios, using locked in, proprietary patented codecs that reduce quality and enforce DRM, while giving us lower audio and visual quality. The only question here is who has ALREADY papered congress with bucks to cause us to overload our landfills and make the other countries who make consumer gear (virtually none is made here anymore) rich. The FCC is a bit player doing what congress has ordered them to do. This is total evil. Am I supposed to throw away my collection of vintage audio gear because there will be no analog signals for the radios to pick up anymore? Did anyone consider the financial costs to us all? We're talking serious wasted money yere, and further pirating of our culture by the **AA guys. Yes, they are the pirates. Try to get a recording that's out of print from them, then ask them for permission to make a copy of a friends. I think you know the answer you'll get. One guy who worked here did a computer jukebox (with nice taste and key/timing matching at the segs) and tried to find a way for the AA to let people put their own music on it. Answer? Not at any price unless it's limited to the playlist of things currently in print that we want to sell. Pirates as a word has been going in the wrong direction for far too long. I want my 1953 Berlin philharmonic playing Motzart. Just try that legally.

wireless (2, Insightful)

macbookproaudio (1110959) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375805)

There's also a huge problem that the entertainment industry is having with all of this auctioning of RF. Wireless mics operate on these bands. It's already hard enough to organize hundreds of wireless mics on the spectrum by not running into existing tv channels, other mics, creating intermod and etc... And now with even LESS spectrum don't expect the superbowl, grammys, presidential rallies, fundraisers, churches, plays, concerts and other functions to have wireless mics. We need a spot for comsumer devices, a spot for common commercial use and a spot for industrial use but keep the reigns open besides that.

Third pipe (5, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375883)

...the much-anticipated third pipe...

Yeah, I've been trying to get my wife to go for that for a while, but she's afraid of getting Santorum all over the place.

No anonymous auctions? No problem (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#19375975)

Overheard at the meeting of The InterNet Cabal (TINC [faqs.org]).

Ok, here's the plan:

Comcast, make sure all your bids end in "1" followed by 0's.
ATT, you bid ending in "2" plus 0's.
Time-Warner, you get "3."

If you see a bid ending in 4-9, it's not one of us.

Bwuhahahahaha.

Re:No anonymous auctions? No problem (1)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376133)

Good point. (And if that's too obvious, it's trivial to disguise it further -- say, using the sum of the digits.)

I think a better idea is to make bids non-cancellable. Bid cancellation seems to be an integral part of the game here. It's astounding that such a thing would be permitted in an auction like this.

PIII (1)

sam991 (995040) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376451)

Did anyone else read the title and think Google were buying a load of old P3's?

No, just me? Aw, zing.

Bias? (1)

ffejie (779512) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376459)

I know it's Slashdot, where big companies are always wrong (unless it's Google), but could we please tone down the bias in the article summary? Wow.

Re:Bias? (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377113)

Um... no.... big companies are wrong when they do wrong things... which with certain big companies is every time they do anything (RIAA, MPAA, members of the communications cartel, big oil, big pharma) and others rarely (google) and some not-at-all. The problem is that the high visibility ones (listed first there) think they're the center of the universe and are corporatists instead of capitalists

The myth of the 'public airwaves' (3, Insightful)

Raisey-raison (850922) | more than 6 years ago | (#19376869)

Firstly this just demonstrates that the public airwaves are not 'public' at all. They merely belong to the corporations who are the biggest campaign contributors. I love how people who use airwaves without FCC approval are pirates and criminals - but if give to the right politicians and fix the auction then you are legit. Its amazing that if you bilk the customer because either you can get away with ignoring anti trust laws because your Verizon or AT&T then it's ok. Steal a CD and you go to jail.

Secondly this story is another example of the lack of competition in cell phone service and wireless data service. There is enough spectrum for at least 8 national companies. Yet there really are only 3 or 4 depending on how you count them. This I bet is why service is still absurdly expensive. Thirdly, I dream of the re-division of the airwaves. Its a quite a mess. Of course the changeover period may be difficult - but it would be doable. Finally I don't see why CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC should get them for free when so much of what they do is hardly serving the public. They get to refuse ads they don't like. They dont have to justify what they put on the air much. Why not give them for free for 20 years to others and see if they do better?

Yeah! I want it opened up, too! (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19377083)

*Uh...No...They want it for themselves...They don't mean opened to the public. They want to own it. And rent it out at prices only AT&T can afford.*

Hey!

You geeks don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19377225)

You sound like the people I used to work for...academic admin's

You can't compare the national spectrum needs to the 2.4 Ghz market. All it takes is some idiot down the street with a device/antenna that uses the whole 2.4 Ghz spectrum to ruin your connection (wireless CATV adapter, etc.). Just because it works in your house...doesn't mean it will work on a large scale.

I worked on a college campus and nobody could understand that you couldn't just "throw" up a bunch of AP's from Best Buy and have it work with no problems (enterprise controller needed). I'm not saying the FCC is a well oiled machine, but the spectrum must be treated like land. Here is you piece of the pie...if you don't like it...too bad.
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