Google’s brand of net neutrality

Posted February 25th, 2011 in Google, net neutrality, search neutrality and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

The New York Times is reporting that Google, Inc., has modified its algorithms so that lower quality sites do not show up high during a consumer’s online search.

Interesting. On the surface, it sounds like Google, probably the world’s most prolific content provider of content it never originally produced, is practicing their own kind of net neutrality. Yeah. Let’s call it search neutrality. Access providers must provide consumers with access to Google while Google reduces the consumer’s access to other content.

Jesse Jackson, FCC, diversity, the same old tune

The Hill reported in its blog a couple days ago that Rev. Jesse Jackson is taking issue (again) with the Federal Communications Commission’s lackluster performance on diversity issues. Personally, I think complaining about and to the FCC is a waste of time.

First, the place is crawling with dispassionate liberals. Just because they are crawling with Democrats doesn’t mean they are automatically the first to go singing “We shall overcome.”

Second, why are we focusing on diversity at the FCC? I could care less if 80% of their staff was black. The real focus, the real approach to the analysis should be market driven. In short, our mindset is so focused on dominating the consumer side of the market that we are paying no attention to being on the producer side of media.

Rev. Jackson may find it a bit more cost effective to persuade minority college students to pursue media studies and software engineering so that we can get in front of the changes in media while learning how to write and market new apps for cell phones, lap tops, and iPads. Then after you persuade students to enter this field, match them up with the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council for mentoring and guidance on how to access capital to start their own businesses.

Expecting wonders from the FCC, an agency who shows no respect for the overall freedom of the markets, is a waste of time. The only things close to media diversity you’ll get from the FCC is some canned speech on what little they are doing for minorities and a couple quotes in Jet magazine

Broadband, Rattlers, and Seminoles

Posted February 24th, 2011 in Broadband, Internet and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

An article was posted on Tallahassee.com discussing the success of two nonprofits that were successful in getting federal funding for broadband projects in North Florida. Having lived in Tallahassee for 16 years, I bleed FSU garnet and gold and have a soft spot for that FAMU orange and green.

Seriously, though, the benefits to the area should be huge, especially in the area of distance learning. I would expect the colleges and universities that occupy that I-10/US 90 stretch will take advantage of the new broadband capacity to recruit students who otherwise could not matriculate to the schools for work and family reasons.

In terms of the economy, the strategic partnerships that grow out of this increased capacity, especially in the rural areas, should lead to increases in the exchange of research information between the schools sitting in that corridor. This is what the area needs.

Chop, chop and strike and strike again ….

So what is D-block spectrum

When I hear the term, “D-block spectrum”, I think back to my old life as a criminal defense attorney and having to visit clients behind bars. Since policy makers and legislators want to conduct a prison break on this particular portion of the spectrum, I figure we may as well explore a few basics.

Way back in 2005, Congress passed the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act. Section 3006 of the Act required the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security to implement a $1 billion grant program to assist public safety agencies in acquiring, deploying, or training in the use of interoperable communications systems that use reallocated public safety spectrum.

Reallocated public safety spectrum is defined under the Act as bands of spectrum located at 764MHz -776 MHz and 794MHz – 806MHz.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission would auction portions of the spectrum reallocated under the Act (758-763MHz and 788-793MHz bands) to private entities so that they in turn could enter into partnerships with public safety agencies to use, operate, and deploy interoperable networks.

The FCC‘s auctioning plan has not been successful so now, so we are back to square one. Meanwhile, Congress is trying to determine whether it should continue with the FCC’s version of a halfway house or simply release spectrum directly into the custody of public safety agencies.

John Thune: Internet rule repeal co-sponsor drops out of presidential contention

Posted February 22nd, 2011 in FCC, Government Regulation, Internet, net neutrality and tagged , , by Alton Drew

Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, will not run for the presidency in 2012. More importantly, Mr. Thune is one of 38 co-sponsors of a bill to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rule.

“The FCC’s intrusion in the broadband industry will discourage investment and innovation in rural states like South Dakota, ultimately stifling job creation and economic growth“, said Mr. Thune. Mr. Thune added that, “Our resolution of disapproval would stop the FCC’s overreaching and unwarranted control of the Internet.”