Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

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

Thank you!

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

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

FCC's Spectrum Auction Approaches $20B in Bids

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the thats-a-lotta-cash dept.

Communications 95

An anonymous reader writes "After 32 rounds, the FCC has raised more than $18.8 billion in its 700-MHz auction, well surpassing its own early estimates of attracting between $10-15 billion in offers. That's undoubtedly good news for the agency. Since the auction began on Jan. 24, both the FCC and wireless experts have expressed ongoing concerns about meeting those estimates. Once the auction was underway, those worries were compounded by a shaky economic forecast and the possibility of a looming recession."

cancel ×

95 comments

FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321784)

According to their budget sheet [fcc.gov] (133 page PDF warning), their proposed budgetary resources for 2008 is $433 million.

As I haven't been following the news very closely, does anyone know where this $20 billion will go?

I, like many Americans, am ghastly concerned with how my government spends money. I hope that the FCC doesn't pull an M.C. Hammer and put spinners on their pocket protectors or pass out diamond studded platinum iPods to all of its friends. Will this money be put under control of congressional spending? Will this money be put in a fund to supply the FCC with emergency regulation cash?

You're going to suddenly have over 40 times the amount of resources you normally have. Even if they went nuts and ordered yet another all marble Parthenon-dupe building in DC they couldn't burn all this cash. Please don't be stupid.

Mod the truth down, but it's still the truth (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321914)

I, like many Americans, am ghastly concerned with how my government spends money.
Define "many". Most don't seem to give a damn because it's generally someone else's money.

they couldn't burn all this cash.
I'm guessing you are a recent immigrant? Welcome to the USA, where the government can burn through an arbitrarily large amount of money in an arbitrarily small span of time.

spinners on their pocket protectors
I totally want to spread that as a meme.

Re:Mod the truth down, but it's still the truth (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324100)

Yeah... time to slide that bridge in Alaska into next year's appropriations.

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (5, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321920)

As I haven't been following the news very closely, does anyone know where this $20 billion will go?
Just like all other government revenue, it'll be put into the general fund under the jurisdiction of congress. The FCC won't get to keep any of it and will have to go ask congress if they want more money.

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321962)

Then why does the summary say this:

That's undoubtedly good news for the agency.
I figured it was going to congressional allocation but why are there things here that make it sound like the FCC is cashing out big? I mean, reserve prices? Why does the FCC care how many billion it is?

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (3, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322054)

Because the FCC can now approach Congress with: "Look! We made $XX billion last year for you! We need some more money."

Congress, of course, won't realize that these auctions are a very limited-use thing. They can't re-auction them every year.

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326798)

Congress, of course, won't realize that these auctions are a very limited-use thing. They can't re-auction them every year.
You sure about that? Considering the government we have, I'd be sure to read the fine print to make sure its not an annual lease agreement.

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321958)

well, $1.5B is surely going to go toward paying for the digital-tv voucher program. that's probably above and beyond the $433M budget you posted.

that still leaves $18B unaccounted for, but it's a start

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322730)

After that there's the Headquarters made of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, plus appropriate cooling for the structure, and winter garments/spoons for all employees.

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (4, Funny)

Paiev (1233954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322032)

In other news, the Republican presidential campaign received an unexpected boost today from an anonymous donor.

Misses the big story (4, Informative)

barbara_unsimplified (878636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322356)

The current bidding for the C block has NOT stalled at $4.71 billion as the story states. A new bidder [nytimes.com] upped the bid to $4.74 billion a few days ago. This was made possible because there are 2 ways of bidding for the C block: either outright for the whole block, where the bidding reached $4.71 billion, or for 8 pieces of the block individually. If the cumulative price for the bidding of the 8 pieces exceeds the bid for the whole block, then that bid trumps the whole block bid. The cumulative bid for the 8 pieces now stands at $4.74 billion, which means that the C block is still under contention. Today's latest story [nytimes.com] from the NYT gives more info on the auction.

Re:FCC '08 Budgetary Resources are $433 Million (1)

beavioso (853680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322708)

Well some individuals have created a nice chart that you can buy.
The Budget Graph [thebudgetgraph.com]

You might notice the center shows some percentages, and my guess is it will more or less go into the slice accounting for the biggest percentage (i.e. National Security/Defense.

Oh well (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321800)

I figured my $50 bid wouldn't fly, but a man can dream.

Re:Oh well (0)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321942)

If anyone was wondering that anonymous bid for C Block at 4.71 billion dollars was me. I just outbid Google!

Recession overrated. (1, Interesting)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321806)

The economic cycle of boom and bust is based on traditional theories of static job types. It does not take into account productivity. These auctions came out of thin air due to technology--the ability to squeeze far more into digital streams. Likewise, technology will raise the living standard of all. House crisis? Not when you have robotic builders.

Great News! (1)

VorlonFog (948943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321818)

Now we can pay down that TRILLION dollar budget they're proposing.

Re:Great News! (3, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322106)

I think we should be more worried about paying down our debt http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ [brillig.com] than the trillion dollar budget. And even still $20b $1t. Especially considering that the dollar is down in value which makes that number look even worse when we pay out to foreign companies.

Layne

Re:Great News! (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322436)

Especially considering that the dollar is down in value which makes that number look even worse when we pay out to foreign companies.

Except most foreign countries hold US debt in ... American dollars. So foreign countries have every incentive to help out an American in a "recession". The debt they hold is less valuable today as it was 6 months ago.

There's a saying, "When America sneezes the world catches a cold" ... it is becoming less true, but is still valid. Look at the markets over the last two weeks, internationally. Yeah, the US has been in a slide, but many international markets have taken a negative reaction as well because of it.

Re:Great News! (4, Informative)

u38cg (607297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323016)

I don't know if I'm having one of those days where everything is just delightfully funny, but having followed your link there, I came to this page. [treasurydirect.gov]

Hilarious stuff, well, maybe not. Until you get to the bottom of the page, where you come to this little gem:

How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?

Make your check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it is a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:

Attn Dept G
Bureau Of the Public Debt
P. O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

Re:Great News! (1)

mickey knox (460146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348596)

I saw that the other day when I was researching how the debt is held after reading an article about conflicting stories on how much debt the USA actually has... (US Govt estimates are at the $9t mark... while if standard accounting techniques were to be used to include pensions... the number would be more than twice that...).

My curiosity on the "opportunity" to help pay down the "Debt Held by the Public" is whether you get any kind of tax deduction. Anybody here a CPA and want to fill in the details on this?

1T/yr was pre-W, now 2T/yr is the mark (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322270)

Yes, that's right, a federal budget growth of more than 10% per year, with no new revenue to offset spending. Who was it that we were supposed to elect to get fiscal responsibility?

I really wish Mark Warner [wikipedia.org] were running for president.

In a similar vein (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321854)

I'm auctioning the oxygen inside FCCs Washington offices, who'll start me at $1 billion?

Re:In a similar vein (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327374)

I'm auctioning the oxygen inside FCCs Washington offices, who'll start me at $1 billion?

You should auction off the CO2 in the FCC's offices. They need more oxygen in there, not less.

Where have I seen this before? (4, Interesting)

pesho (843750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321898)

Oh yes, the 3G spectrum auctions in Europe [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Where have I seen this before? (4, Insightful)

hughk (248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321960)

Yes, the 3G auctions in the end did neither the operators nor the subscribers much good. The operators find that they are so burdened with debt that they have to press high charges on fragile business models. Mobile data is very, very useful but access is too expensive in many places for applications to be established. In fact although 3G has been around in Europe for several years now using it has been too expensive for most people.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (1)

RemoteSojourner (973910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322434)

Umm.. I am paying 5£/Month for Unlimited 3G access on my N95 in UK.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330900)

Yes, now. Remember 3G has been around for about 4-5 years. Initial uptake was sloooow.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (1)

Iloinen Lohikrme (880747) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322496)

I don't agree, I would argue that 3G auctions have either a very low connection or non at all to current pricing of mobile data. To make case: UK had 3G auctions and there you can get an "unlimited" mobile data from T-Mobile with 10 euros per month, where as in Finland, where there were no auctions and no fees to operators, you can get an "unlimited" mobile data from Saunalahti from 9,80 euros per month. Clearly if there would be connection with having or not having 3G auctions, the price difference between Finland and UK should be much bigger.

I would say that the need and willingness to use mobile data and general competition are bigger factors on determining the pricing of mobile data than on what price the operators got access to frequencies. In some countries there are not enough operators or they have more or less colluded and in some countries like UK competition is hampered because false advertising, like the loose use of the word unlimited is allowed.

On a note about "unlimited". In UK unlimited means plan with "fair" use policy meaning monthly limit of 1GB of send and received data. In Finland with Saunalahti unlimited means unlimited except you are not allowed to use the P2P networks.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324216)

UK had 3G auctions and there you can get an "unlimited" mobile data from T-Mobile with 10 euros per month, where as in Finland, where there were no auctions and no fees to operators, you can get an "unlimited" mobile data from Saunalahti from 9,80 euros per month
This comparison is meaningless without some overview of what 'unlimited' actually means, since no UK operator offers 'unlimited' data means anything even remotely like how the rest of us understand the term (250MB/month is a common figure). Their plan with a 3GB/month cap costs £20/month (EUR26.80) and includes no voice usage.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330966)

I have had 3G data in the UK, DE and NL, all on Vodafone 3G networks. Initial roll-out was slow with poor coverage even in London. The first time I used 3G in the UK was in the city and it was so bad, I was losing calls unless I restricted myself to 2G. I was visiting the vicinity of Angel last year and the 3G service was heavily overloaded and not cheap.

Yes, since last year it was a lot cheaper, but again there is an attempt to segment the market according to protocol, i.e., services like Web 'n Walk from T-mobile which restricts you to web ports. Understandably the vendors were scared of Skype, a service which I successfully used evenings when I was in London last (VF's problems were clearly linked to daytime users).

At the moment my base is Germany. Vodafone charge me 48/mo (+Mwst) for their 4GB plan on a datacard. There are various plans offered for telephone only but my phone doesn't do HDSP or whatever and it is restricted to web type services.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22323476)

That's odd...

Last time i checked the 3g crazies hit the UK hard, and missed Ireland, yet Irish 3g costs are much higher then the UK... go figure.

Re:Where have I seen this before? (1)

hb79 (917595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330870)

In fact although 3G has been around in Europe for several years now using it has been too expensive for most people.

In the European countries I've been to the last years (Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Norway), my phone (Nokia N80) automatically switches to 3G if available, and in most cities it is. There is no extra charge for this.

Since I'd like to download a bit more than e-mail, I've gone for an extra data plan that gives me 50 MB in 3GB or standard mode. At 9 USD / month it doesn't really burn my wallet.

Expensive (1)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321936)

That's one expensive doohickey!

Off-topic: Self-fulfilling recession prophecy? (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321956)

Some analysts say "looming recession", people think "Oh noes" and stop buying stuff/investing => recession.

Re:Off-topic: Self-fulfilling recession prophecy? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322204)

Some analysts say "looming recession", people think "Oh noes" and stop buying stuff/investing => recession.

Yay \o/ that means I'm not the only Slashdotter who watches the Daily Show with Jon Stewart! (For those who don't watch, a guest explained that recession thing to Jon Stewart like last week).

Re:Off-topic: Self-fulfilling recession prophecy? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322212)

The economy is an act of collective faith, all based on promises. Those pieces of green paper in your pocket? They have value only if people believe they have value. If they stop agreeing it all disappears. Can this lead to recession? Sure, but that's a "glass half empty" kind of statement, since boom times are based on the same principle.

Re:Off-topic: Self-fulfilling recession prophecy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322226)

People were already stopping-buying-and-investing in stuff (think housing markets, in particular). While the fear of a recession may indeed contribute to recession, the fear itself is fairly well-founded.

Re:Off-topic: Self-fulfilling recession prophecy? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325084)

Some analysts say "looming recession", people think "Oh noes" and stop buying stuff/investing => recession.


I was just talking to my mom about that the other week. She said financial analysts were predicting a six month recession. I said I highly doubted the accuracy as financial analysts seem to have trouble even getting their recession predictions accurate, let alone being able to tell how long it would be. She said Wal-Mart's stock was up and the stores were seeing more business, which generally happens during an economic downturn. I proposed the whole thing was manifest destiny (I meant self-fulfilling prophecy, of course). People hear there's going to be a recession, so they begin buying up stock in a discount retail chain, which makes the stock price go up, those same people then point to the rising stock price as evidence they were right and there is a recession coming, ignoring they themselves were responsible for the price increase.

It's like that scene in Sneakers [imdb.com] when Cosmo and Martin are talking about making banks fail by spreading rumors of it's instability. People buy into the hype and make it happen.

and yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322170)

this will be only 1-2% of next years budget DEFICIT. IOW, W. spends more money than we can make, even when it is made in major chunks. Time for a new CEO.

Re:and yet (4, Informative)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322352)

It is important to understand what deficit spending is and the rationale behind it. Deficit spending is borrowing money to pay for government activity instead of paying for that activity with tax revenue. The (highly suspect) rationale is that you don't have to raise taxes to get the same results and can thereby dodge the economic problems associated with higher taxation. By borrowing, the liability is passed on to future tax payers where - according to the theory - the economic growth it has fostered will make the debt easier to pay off. It's like starting a business: borrow money so you can build up a company that will eventually grow enough to pay off the initial debt and then some. The problem is that when you're always borrowing this forms a never-ending cycle that causes inflation and thereby reduces real earnings and purchasing power, so the 'growth' that is fostered shoots itself in the foot. It ends up being a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

So why is deficit spending attractive? For several reasons. Politically, it is easy to sell "lower taxes!" For the political Right, it is also a way to shovel money into the pockets of the wealthy: about 1/3 of the debt is loaned to the government by rich people in the form of verystable investments - T-Bills, bonds, etc - at around 9% interest.

Re:and yet (3, Informative)

yanagasawa (120791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322822)

verystable investments - T-Bills, bonds, etc - at around 9% interest.
Yes, except last time I looked t-bills were at 2.2% and t-bonds were at 3.6% - stable but, will it keep up with the inflation you talked about?

Re:and yet (2, Insightful)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323160)

The idea behind tax cuts is that the closer you get to the Laffer curve [wikipedia.org] , the closer you get to maximizing tax revenue while minimizing economic damage. If that means temporarily running deficits, OK. Think about it: who gets a higher return on capital, the small business owners who make up the bulk of the top bracket taxpayers in America, or Congress? Getting tax rates below the curve is assumed to be too unlikely to think about right now. From a moral perspective it would be desirable but I think most of us on the Right would settle for practicality.

The problem is that Congress takes the new tax revenue, spends it, and then spends some more. The President can try to slow it down. Unfortunately this President has shown little to no spending restraint, with the mess caused by a bunch of Saudi trust fund brats who thought they could pick up where the Battle of Vienna [wikipedia.org] left off just adding insult to injury. We had a brief reprieve when Gingrich was Speaker of the House but it's been downhill ever since. I doubt a President McCain or President Hillary combined with a Democrat-dominated Congress is going to make any improvement.

Re:and yet (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323870)

Laffer curve? You're joking, right? :).

The issue I mentioned is only tangentially related with maximizing tax revenue - the Laffer curve is an intuitive and familiar concept thanks to the many parallels that can be found elsewhere in economics, such as maximizing profit through optimal pricing (margin too high, no turnover = no revenue; margin too low = no revenue). It is easier to think of deficit spending as debt-financing versus financing out of revenues. There are some operational advantages to deficit spending, but they are highly debatable and it is terribly, terribly easy for deficit spending to turn into a fiscally irresponsible nightmare, as several recent republican administrations have demonstrated. The place where the Laffer curve becomes relevant is that at some point there must be a source of revenue with which to pay off deficit spending. Perpetual deficit spending is - pardon the pun - a bankrupt policy.

Two other things worth mentioning:

1) Cui bono? Who profits? Corporate lobbyists pushing for deficit spending in the form of massive government contracts, subsidies and tax-credit payouts for their companies whose owners then loan the money the government needs to pay for them is not far from a racket. Here's an analogy: The Mob shows up at your corner store and says you need to buy 'protection'. It costs $100,000. You don't have $100,000. Ah, no problem. The Mob 'loans' you the money - at, say, 9% interest. See what I did there? Out of one pocket and into another, collecting 9 percent along the way. Deficit spending is essentially no different. Fancy theorectical economic crap aside, cui bono from deficit spending? The wealthy.

2) Taxation brackets are upside down anyway. There should be ZERO tax on all who earn under $50,000/year - that's half the adult working population, representing 150 million Americans. Total tax revenue lost? $35 billion - a pittance in scheme of the federal budget. If you want to boost consumer spending, kickstart the economy and rocket into the White House on a landslide victory, that's the beginning and end of your platform right there. The 150 million poorest Americans out there could give a shit about your other policies if it means paying no income tax.

Re:and yet (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326346)

I agree with you on the zero tax for earners under $50k/year. And as to any tax loss there, it would be made up through sales taxes, and further stimulation of the economy. Whatever the cutoff, it *MUST* be indexed to inflation, otherwise the darkside will continue to inflate and the consumers will be back where there are now, barely able to afford gas to get to work.

Re:and yet (1)

adrenalinerush (518023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324058)

So why is deficit spending attractive? For several reasons. Politically, it is easy to sell "lower taxes!" For the political Right, it is also a way to shovel money into the pockets of the wealthy: about 1/3 of the debt is loaned to the government by rich people in the form of verystable investments - T-Bills, bonds, etc - at around 9% interest.

Puh-leez. I'm no supporter of deficit spending, but let's at least get the fact straight. The Right liking deficit spending because they're the ones funding the loans? At 9%?

Let's look at that 9% rate. I have no idea where you get that idea from, but T-bills have a much lower return than that. Yikes, if I could get T-bills at 9%, I'd have a lot of money in them myself. A quick look at this Bloomberg page detailing the current rates for bonds such as T-bills shows that the typical return on them is about 2% for 3- and 6-month T-bills, and 3.6% for 10-year bonds.

Re:and yet (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324180)

I have no idea where you get that idea from

Always look at the bottom line. 9 cents on every tax dollar goes to paying down the debt: 9%. And of course at the end of the day that is the only rate that matters.

Re:and yet (2, Informative)

Wilden2003 (1220744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325432)

Your math is off. Let's make up some numbers. 9% of 3 trillion tax dollars = 270 billion dollars. 270 billion dollars in interest paid divided by the total debt of 10 trillion = 2.7% So based on these numbers, 9% of tax revenue it used to pay the average 2.7% interest rate on the total debt. The interest rate is not 9%, that is just the percent of 'income' (cough) that we are using to pay on the interest on the debt, we've already spent. (By 'we', I mean those idiots in DC.)

Re:and yet (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325556)

You're quite right, sir. I stand corrected.

Re:and yet (1)

bob frost (850405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344332)

Deficit government financing currently follows a simple model. Much of the current deficit comes from the massive tax cuts given to the wealthy when Bush came to power--we were in the black on current accounts when he took office. Now, instead of paying the taxes they would have paid under the previous arrangement, the wealthy beneficiaries of those tax cuts can take the same money and buy T-Bills and get both their money and a boatload of interest back. Great deal for them, lousy for the rest of us (and later generations)who end up financing the deal with our taxes.

Could someone please explain to me ... (5, Interesting)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322198)

what business exactly does a government have selling a unique public resource to some private interest (thus automatically establishing a govenment backed monopoly), rather then presiding over equitable sharing and access to the said resource by all citizens?

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

vonhammer (992352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322572)

Good luck defining "equitable" in this context. Now, imagine our wonderful federal govt attempting to implement their version of "equitable".

The devil is in the details, and having the govt attempt to run a business is, well, like having the govt attempt to run a business. Never a good thing. Instead, they decided to auction off the resource for the maximum amount (sounds pretty smart to me), and with, IIRC, 2 of Google's 4 requests in place. Not perfect, but probably a lot better than the alternative.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (4, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322796)

"Equitable" as in for example estabilishing a publicly-owned access infrastructure along with the rules of accessing it, say like, oh I dunno ... roads? Electrical grid?

This is no different, merely a different set of technical issues has to be addressed. Note that this does not imply government running a "business" but rather a type of civil engineering activity governments were involved in since times immemorial, such as road and bridge building.

The "sounding pretty smart to you" method involves selling what is not theirs to sell, in order to allow some monopolist to gouge the public unopposed, while the government gets to pocket a one time bribe and spend it promptly on some wacko foreign military adventure, thus throwing the money down the drain with no return possible to the taxpayer.

In this way the worst possible outcome is achieved: a unique public resuorce is effectively stolen by private interests in exchange for a bribe and the general public is shafted with no recourse.

This idiotic scenario is a direct equivalent of a government selling all roads and bridges in the country to the highest bidder, thus ensuring that toll-booths pop up right at the end of everybody's drive-way asking for $10 fee to travel every yard or some such, regardless of the direction you take driving, cycling or walking.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327400)

This idiotic scenario is a direct equivalent of a government selling all roads and bridges in the country to the highest bidder, thus ensuring that toll-booths pop up right at the end of everybody's drive-way asking for $10 fee to travel every yard or some such, regardless of the direction you take driving, cycling or walking.

Well, in my State that's already happening, and to a foreign-owned corporation at that.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331854)

Boundless, vicious, insane, sociopathic greed masquarading as "free market ideology" will be the force that unravels the US society (as tenuous as it is already) and consequently the nation itself.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22342568)

What really frosted my petunias was that this was all done with little fanfare, and was presented to the public as a fait accompli.

Actually, it turned out that it was more of a long-term lease than an outright sale, with the company involved receiving the lion's share of tolls, with the State still providing most of the maintenance. At least, that's what it said in the newspaper article I read on the subject.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343280)

How else? All of these "free marketeers" are all about privatized profits and ... socialized expenses.

Which of course requires secrecy because even the most gullible of goofuses who pass for "citizens" these days might catch on and could have possibly made some noises. That is why you will find all of these "libertarian capitalists" so quickly try to change subject as soon as logical questions about their fundamentalist economic religion come to things such as roads, water and even air. That is because their honest answers would frighten even the most apathetic of couch potatos into vigorous political action opposing them.

And so instead they make vague promises of "propserity" and attempt to play on the most base insticts of people by suggesting that they are somehow getting "ripped off" by some nebulous "freeloaders", while they are busy stealing the rug from under the very people they are preaching their dogma at. And on and on and on ...

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343390)

It's happening more and more. Our local water district is now a private company called "American Water" or some such. What the hell? Shouldn't we have been consulted before something as important as our drinking water was privatized? Huh. I guess not. I might add that the quality of said essential bodily fluid has dropped to the point where I can't drink it out of the faucet anymore. I have to use a filter, or buy it in bottles which is just ridiculous. We get these "water quality reports" in the mail every couple of months, listing levels of various contaminants, and isn't it wonderful that we're just barely within Federal guidelines? I suppose, but when I let the stuff evaporate the quantity of white powdery residue keeps increasing, and we're afraid to drink it.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346912)

Welcome to the libertarian paradise of free enterprise running everything. Let "feee markets" decide! Do no not like American Water(TM) least-cost-maximum-profit product? You as a consumer are free to rip your house up by its foundations and walk with it (paying affordable $10/ft toll fees to American Roadways(TM) along the way) to where US Water(TM) is supplying its least-cost-maximum-profit wares, or even the mere 1023 miles to the Consolidated Mega Water Works(TM) territory, where the water poisoning lawsuit rates are the lowest in the country at only 1 per 1000 citizens per month, thanks to the privatization of the Justice Departament operations in that area!

Isn't free market just grand!?

What you do not like?! You mean you are not in awe of the One and True Way of Our Lord Greed?!! You filthy Communist!!! You Che Guevara loving Socialist you!!! Just wait till our privatized re-education corps catches up with you!! Blackwater!! Blackwater officers, we got a live one here!!!

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322972)

Tragedy. Of. The. Commons.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323238)

Ignoring the power of the government to do so, I find an auction to private companies to a good form of equitable sharing. Everyone got a chance to bid on it. But only the people with the most valuable use for that frequency (and the appropriate financial backing) get it.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323654)

Then, as I pointed out previously, you would have found nothing wrong with the government "equitably" selling all roads, bridges and airspace above 100 feet to the highest bidder, following which these local monopolies would be free to charge you $10 (and up) per yard of travel in any direction by any means. You would be free of course to "compete" with them by, for example, inventing a Star Trek style teleporter or using the powers of occult to transport yourself in ways that do not cross their property, out of which they would be getting their "most valuable use (with the financial backing)" with the bill being sent to you.

No?

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325208)

It's called a toll road, while some governments run them by themselves many are sold to private interests.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325894)

Which, as I already poined out, is a travesty in a modern society, and if taken to its logical conclusion it would paralyse the entire economy and all functions of that society. The only reason it does not is because the crooks involved are careful to maintain the levels of their thievery and graft just below the threshold of violent reaction by the populace. In some countries, rightfully, that threshold is zero. In the USA and some others, the crooks have been working steadily to de-sentisize the population to ever expanding levels of theft of communal, societal properties, a trend which if sucessful will eventually result in its inevietable end result: return of the feudal order complete with tithies, taxes and tariffs on goods travelling via the borders of various new fiefdoms and roads and bridges owned by the local lords, barons and petty warlords to whom you will have to swear fealty (in nice conractual terms) before you can set foot on a road leading to "your" house.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334496)

Now that you mention it, there isn't anything wrong with the feudal concept in a free market world since one can shop around. If you were open to reason, I would suggest reading Oath of Fealty [wikipedia.org] which describes a near future feudal-libertarian arcology and its conflict with the local disfunctional socialist society of Los Angeles.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335050)

Aaah, so with stories like that it seems that all these "libertarians" are finally admitting to their true convictions, of which we long have suspected them based on the logic and conclusions of their arguments, and so they are declaring themselves what they always were: feudalists.

And that pretty much ends any discussion. A feudalist like you is a mortal enemy of anyone who holds his or her liberty dear. The only argument that can be had with the likes of a feudalist is via a barrel of a gun. A terminal and final argumemt.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327872)

I don't see that as equivalent. I recognize that society has evolved with the expectation that it at worst pays very little for transportation. One shouldn't privatize such a market overnight. But I expect over say, a couple of decades to give society time to adjust, that you could indeed privatize everything you mention.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331896)

That is a complete lunacy. The society has evolved with the expectation that societal, common things are available to all equitably because that is the fucking definition of a fucking society!!

If you privatize everything then there is no reasomn whatsoever for individuals to band into any socially coherent group because everyone is everybody elses mortal enemy looking only for some way to take a quick advantage of you, to use and to abuse you to make a buck. That is not a society but a band of Hyenas. As a matter of fact a band of Hyenas has some social order and communal activities, this wouldn't.

Or to put it another way, if there is no advantage (as in getting something free, built and paid by others that you can use, with the caveat that you get to build things others will come to use fore free - such as roads, language, science and on and on and on) from gathering into a group, then there is no fucking point to it!!

You "free market" religious freaks will be the end of American (and any other that you manage you get your infinitely greedy paws on) society, collapsing it promptly into a really vicious neo-feudal order where people get to pay per use of each letter of the latin alphabet, for each ray of sunlight and for each gulp of air to some "proprerty holder".

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332184)

That is a complete lunacy. The society has evolved with the expectation that societal, common things are available to all equitably because that is the fucking definition of a fucking society!!

Ok, so we don't have a "society" then by your definition, whatever that means.

If you privatize everything then there is no reasomn whatsoever for individuals to band into any socially coherent group because everyone is everybody elses mortal enemy looking only for some way to take a quick advantage of you, to use and to abuse you to make a buck. That is not a society but a band of Hyenas. As a matter of fact a band of Hyenas has some social order and communal activities, this wouldn't.

Except for obvious things like comparative advantage. It still makes no sense for me to make everything I use.

Or to put it another way, if there is no advantage (as in getting something free, built and paid by others that you can use, with the caveat that you get to build things others will come to use fore free - such as roads, language, science and on and on and on) from gathering into a group, then there is no fucking point to it!!

I'm puzzled by what you are trying to claim. Clearly, there's still huge advantage to groups and trade. That hasn't changed.

You "free market" religious freaks will be the end of American (and any other that you manage you get your infinitely greedy paws on) society, collapsing it promptly into a really vicious neo-feudal order where people get to pay per use of each letter of the latin alphabet, for each ray of sunlight and for each gulp of air to some "proprerty holder".

Whine whine whine. If you can bring up a real problem, then I can discuss it. As I see it, there's no obvious reason why society suddenly becomes more greedy than it has ever been. All I see here is sloppy logical fallacies.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333988)

Except for obvious things like comparative advantage. It still makes no sense for me to make everything I use.

Neither it makes sense for you to buy everything you need to exist, for if taken to its logical, proper conclusion (something you desperately are trying to avoid) then no one would be able to afford to live and would begin to get immediately and irrevokably in debt the momemnt they are born, promplty becoming indentured slaves. That is why some, who wish to be in the position to be the receivers of that debt, argue so incessantly for this kind of insane "society", skipping of course any mention of that key element of your plan.

In a "society" where there is no communal property, there is NO communal property. That means everything is private property, including the Sun and the air you breathe. No exceptions. The moment you make an exception, claiming that something is better left as communal property, then it is easy to point out that great many things are more efficient, more equitable, far more humane and actually sane to be left as such communal, public property ... such as roads and scientific knowledge.

I'm puzzled by what you are trying to claim. Clearly, there's still huge advantage to groups and trade. That hasn't changed.

Not if the cost of the participation in such society far outweighs any possible gains. In a society of 100% private property everyone with the exception of the ruling class gets to be born as a slave and accumulates debt to the lords far faster then he/she can earn income. What allows people today to escape that fate is the fact that many things we desperately need in our lives are communal and available to all irrespective of their income and social status. Such as roads and libraries.

As I see it, there's no obvious reason why society suddenly becomes more greedy than it has ever been.

The very notion of every street being a toll-street is precisely an example of the "society" (or more precisely sociopathic freaks like you within it) getting insanely greedy.

All I see here is sloppy logical fallacies

Such as? So far all that have you shown is your own sociopathic greed.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334360)

I get the impression you have a negative opinion on complete privatization. What I don't know is why. You keep throwing out strawmen that have nothing to do with the argument. You keep dumping irrelevant ad hominems on me. And you keep acting like an idiot. No offense, but "They're gonna take our AIR next!" is a stupid reason for opposing privatization of some resource. It is a non sequitur, a thing that doesn't follow from the original assumptions.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334730)

No offense, but "They're gonna take our AIR next!" is a stupid reason for opposing privatization of some resource.

Air is no different than any other natural resource. If you can make an argument to "privatize" any other communal resource, then you can also make an identical argument to privatize air.

That is the point I am making. I am showing you that your logic, if applied universally and consistently, must lead to privatization of air. Or are you in favour of applying your logic to things arbitrarily, whenever it suits you and not doing so whenever some disastrous consequence looms for you personally?

It is a non sequitur, a thing that doesn't follow from the original assumptions.

It does follow perfectly logically. You are simply refusing to accept it because such a disastrous outcome conflicts with your "free market" religious dogma. In that dogma private always trumps communal and therefore a set of conditions in which privatization leads to a societal disaster cannot exist or the dogma breaks apart and is shown for what it is, yet another effort in one of the longest running pursuits of man: an attempt to justify your own greed.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22327656)

Ignoring the power of the government to do so, I find an auction to private companies to a good form of equitable sharing. Everyone got a chance to bid on it. But only the people with the most valuable use for that frequency (and the appropriate financial backing) get it.
In other words, those who have profited the most by strangling markets can now enlarge there monopolies/oligopolies even further because they can afford it?
Sounds like sharing to me :/

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327926)

In other words, those who have profited the most by strangling markets can now enlarge there monopolies/oligopolies even further because they can afford it? Sounds like sharing to me :/
Yes, government does receive the proceeds from this auction and hence, profits from this auction.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

zontroll (714448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323324)

They're not selling it, they're licensing it for a period of time on behalf of the American public who own it. Actually, this is a very good situation but it should done in such a way as to add extra contractual clauses that benefit democracy and freedom. For example, whoever wins the auction should not be allowed to participate in any merger with the licensees of other bands of spectrum which would result in monopolistic control of the airwaves.

Also, instead of having publicly financed election campaigns, spectrum licensees should be contractually obligated to have a percentage of their bandwidth or airtime be reserved for "free" use by candidates running for office so that we can eliminate private campaign contributions altogether. (So a chunk of TV commercials, internet access or wireless data usage for each campaign that draws a certain amount of public support through petitions or whatever - you could even do the same thing with the postal service to provide subsidized mailing). This would do wonders to clean up our democratic process and the "funding" for it comes from something already owned by the American people.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323858)

All of which still leaves them in a position to gouge the public for access to public's own property. All these arguments are about how "beneficial" it is for you to have your house taken and then rented back to you. It is really that simple and clear-cut.

You are asking "well yea, my house is now being rented back to me, but if we like ask them to not to use my house to host fascist troops or anything, and if I like can go to the bathroom without paying, then its cool!"

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323344)

"presiding over equitable sharing and access to the said resource by all citizens?"

How, exactly, do you propose to do that? Send out 275 million transceivers?

The FCC has ALWAYS allocated various spectrum to private entities and other organizations. Previously, it just gave them away. Yep, that's right - aside from licensing fees, the spectrum was given away.

So, which is more in the public interest - giving away a property worth billions of dollars, or selling a property worth billions of dollars with the proceeds going to the government, which is (at least nominally) representing the people?

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323748)

How, exactly, do you propose to do that? Send out 275 million transceivers?

No, you design and enforce access protocols, which could be as dumb as Carrier Sense Multiple Access and as sophisticated as the scientists can make them. Depending on usage, some bandwidth ranges could be controlled by government run non-profit backbone infrastructure which could be accessible using those protocols. Etc and so on.

So, which is more in the public interest - giving away a property worth billions of dollars, or selling a property worth billions of dollars with the proceeds going to the government, which is (at least nominally) representing the people?

False dichotomy. Neither of these is a good choice, the correct one is to establish access protocols and to manage such access, as it is with many other things owned by the public, such as roads.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324324)

"establish access protocols and to manage such access"

It's that last part that is tough. How do you keep different transmitters on the same frequency from tripping over each other? Yes, there are technologies coming that would allow that, but for now, you can't. So the FCC assigns certain frequency blocks to certain users, so that they don't interfere with each other - hence, the "license".

For the sake of arguement, lets assume that frequency interference is not an technical issue - what makes you think it can still be controlled? You propose a kind of land rush, where the frequencies are opened up to all comers equally. But as we saw in actual land rushes, some "comers" are more equal than others, and grow and quickly conflicts develop. Practically, how is the FCC to regulate that? It is hell to prove intentional interference when the licenses are separated into certain frequencies - how are they to do it when everyone has equal access to all bands?

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324808)

It's that last part that is tough. How do you keep different transmitters on the same frequency from tripping over each other?

I already answered that question: Carrier Sense Multiple Access is an ancient protocol designed specifically for radio communications where multiple trasnceivers are operating on the same frequency without any pre-arranged synchronization. Of course being so old and simple I only listed it as an example, much more modern broad-spectrum frequency-hopping systems are available today.

For the sake of arguement, lets assume that frequency interference is not an technical issue - what makes you think it can still be controlled?

See above. WiFi is an example of such a system in play. Everyone and their dog has a WiFi network and yet due to the reasonably clever design of the thing they can all co-exist with a reasonable result.

All the government has to do upon establishing the protocols and access rules is to certify the devices sold as compliant and to persecute any idiot making modifications to his which result in unacceptable interference. This being radio we are talking about, the government would simply use triangulation to get his ass.

But as we saw in actual land rushes, some "comers" are more equal than others, and grow and quickly conflicts develop. Practically, how is the FCC to regulate that? It is hell to prove intentional interference when the licenses are separated into certain frequencies - how are they to do it when everyone has equal access to all bands?

They would not have to. Some frequencies are more dificult to use, which results in more expensive equiment, which would make them more likely to be inhabited by commercial concerns, some others would be the domain of Joe Public and his radio garage opener and local home game network. As long as the access protocols are followed and all equiment adheres to them, it matters not. If some large scale company wishes to start a telephone service using frequency range x-y, then if some other people are using the thing already what happens is that everyone in x-y range gets slower as the bandwith is allocated to each user by the protocols used, not by money spent. So the telco would be well advised to head into a difficult to access frequency range where there are few takers. Of course as technology advances, others would arrive there to contend with it and so there would be always pressure to find new. higher frequency ranges or come up with better, more efficent sharing algorithms and protocols and get them approved by the government for existing ranges.

Re:Could someone please explain to me ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22360966)

I just read this post. This isn't going to work for a couple of key reasons. The government doesn't have the technology to enforce the protocols. And it's probably a bad idea to allow government to use that sort of technology. To give a simple example, I keep hearing how CB radio has degenerated into a contest of the most powerful signals. That's what will happen with any common good where there's poor to nonexistent regulatory mechanisms. We could get government to enforce such rules, but it'd probably take things like inspecting all vehicles and real estate that had an antenna on it. I don't see any reason to give government an excuse to be that intrusive.

Second, why would we allow government to control an important communication backbone. You may recall how the US government has been able to bug a huge amount of cell phone traffic with the assistance of the phone companies. It seems to me that such snooping would be far less restrained on a public network. At the least, you can still sue phone companies (maybe even in the face of legislative protection) and that company can go bankrupt It provides a level of protection not present in a government run system.

Where it's going (1)

weszz (710261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322382)

I believe I heard a while back that it's all paid in installments, so it's probably going right to their budget over the years to be spent on some random thing, or to hire more people to man the phone lines for the groups that just complain about everything...

Personally I'd like to see it invested in improving the broadband situation here, but i don't think that can be a reality... it would start off with great intentions, and then eventually become some crap about a 10 billion dollar highway bridge to Hawaii that the cables can run under... (and then a 2 billion dollar bonus for each of the 5 execs that were in charge of getting it done)

=wireless tax (3, Interesting)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322492)

This is nothing more than a shameless tax on a free medium -- the wireless spectrum.

Historically the FCC has always accepted bids almost without regard to how the winner will use the spectrum and it's overall benefit to the consumer. This time round they have the requirement that the spectrum will be 'somewhat' open to competition by forcing the winner to allow any compatible device to use the spectrum.

But by allowing bids of +$4 billion they leave the winner no choice but to stick it to the consumer in order to get their money back. And that will come in the tried and true method of nickel and diming us for every trivial service they can think of.

The winners in this auction should be the ones who have the best ideas that will best benefit the consumer, *not* the ones who come up with the most bucks. I mean, did the FCC even consider that the 700Mhz part of the spectrum would probably be best used for a meshed Internet and that MIT already has a working prototype for such a network? Sadly we probably just gonna get another phone network based on the old 20th century model that maximizes profit and stifles innovation.

!=wireless tax (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324304)

To feed a troll - 1...

The spectrum has value to data carriers. They can build transmitters and charge customers money for wireless data access. How much will the carriers charge? As much as the potential customers will pay. And the customers will value the service in comparison to other available sources.

If the carriers got this spectrum for free and had zero competition, then they could charge $1000/minute or whatever customers will pay when the only alternative is no wireless communication. All the profit goes to the carriers, not lower prices for consumers.

If, on the other hand, paying $4 billion for the spectrum makes the carrier's service too expensive to compete in the market, then well they shouldn't bid. If absolutely nobody can justify bidding that much for the spectrum, then the government will run a new auction with fewer restrictions or a lower reserve. If nobody else wants it, then I'm sure the inventors with the world-saving idea can pony up twenty bucks.

Re:!=wireless tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325232)

But the spectrum is finite. Competition is limited.

20 billion is enough to screw the american people? (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322714)

This is the real reason the FCC ordered analog tv scrapped: so they could sell the bandwidth.

Re:20 billion is enough to screw the american peop (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323144)

You say that like it's a bad thing. I suppose you advocate the agency allowing the spectrum to be wasted indefinitely while there is a solution that can free the bandwidth for other uses. It isn't as if the proceeds of this, in part, aren't being used to subsidize the cost of OTA digital to analog converters for those affected. It would appear that you really don't know what you are talking about, perhaps the tinfoil hat is on too tight.

Re:20 billion is enough to screw the american peop (1)

raidfibre (1181749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323168)

20 billion / 50 million = $400 per customer if they have, say, 50 million customers. Say they want to get their money back over 10 years or 120 months, that's $3.33 a month. Not bad. They won't have 50 million customers very quickly or easily though.

Re:20 billion is enough to screw the american peop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22323174)

This is the real reason the FCC ordered analog tv scrapped: so they could sell the bandwidth.

You just figured that out? It's not even a secret.

However, you're thinking about it backwards. Americans were already screwed, because a bunch of TV stations were hogging the best frequencies for free. Worse, analog TV wastes a huge amount of bandwidth. I don't think it's fair that the old TV stations are getting new digital frequencies for free. Those airwaves are worth billions.

Reserve not yet met tag (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322946)

Who tagged this "reserve not yet met," and which reserve were they talking about? There are lots of pieces being auctioned off, and I am not sure about all of them (such as the public safety chunk), but the one that most /. readers are concerned with is the C Block. The reserve for the C Block was met last Thursday.

Wow (1)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22323722)

This is getting ridiculous. Isn't the government to regulate industry, not own and sell it? That sounds more like Communism.

In Soviet America, Wireless spectrum sells YOU!

$208? (2, Funny)

sharopolis (819353) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324110)

Did anyone else read the headline as $208? Maybe it's just my font but for a moment I was planning on bidding myself. I'm not sure what I'd do with a wireless spectrum at the moment, but for that kind of money it'd be worth buying one just to keep around in case of emergency.

Re:$208? (1)

peektwice (726616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327866)

If you have an emergency, just have MacGyver help you build a big ass linear amplifier and a signal generator then use whatever portion of the spectrum you see fit.

I can see: the conglomerate (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325018)

Looking at the authorized bidders profile [fcc.gov] : Larry [bldrdoc.gov] , Richard [netsedgeconsulting.com] and Minnie [mbajungle.com] , they look like a good team for a new venture. This sounds like a new company will be created and made just part of the Google family (cough, empire).

Of course, that's if they win the auction.

Spectrum (and similar auctions) are corrupt (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22328802)

This whole spectrum auction makes me sick to my stomach, because they go about it the whole wrong way. Instead of auctioning off a monopoly on limited spectrum to the highest bidder, can't we come up with a more public-serving 'auction'? I mean, a highest bidder auction for something like this is akin to asking, "Whose willing to charge the american public the most amount of money to use radio frequencies"?

Why don't we turn that around, and have reverse-auctions for something like this. Not a lowest bidder auction, but rather an auction by whoever is willing to contractually agree to the lowest prices charged to consumers, or something like that? Then, they are legally bound to that price point, and if for some reason, they can no longer find it profitable to do business at that price, they can offer the spectrum back to the government to go through another round of auctioning, where maybe they can get it again at a higher price. . . if they aren't outbid by someone undercutting them.

Granted, it'd have to be slightly more complicated than this (the bidding process would need to include some kind of Service Level Agreement whereby the companies are bound to a certain level of customer service, what services are offered for the basic, contracted price (e.g. are they just offering voice at the contracted level, or are they also offering data, etc; what kind of access will other companies have to the customer base, etc).

But, my point is, if my government wants to serve me, as a citizen best, a highest-bidder auction is almost certainly not the way to do that, because it just drives prices up; instead the government should use the auction process to drive prices down while guaranteeing some base level of service, and maybe the auction process could take into account the additional charges for 'premium services'. Try to get the best deal for the citizens of the country, not the worst deal for them.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...