The power of radio

Posted July 29th, 2011 in first responders, radio, spectrum and tagged , by Alton Drew

Communications is in the blood in my family. My brother served in the Signal Corp in the U.S. Army. My sister worked in broadcast television. I volunteered at a small radio station in the Virgin Islands while in high school. Today I still volunteer, this time with the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, having manned radios on the ground and in the air.

Growing up in the Caribbean, you knew two things: First, the first week of school meant a hurricane was coming your way. Second, you better have a radio station in your community that you can rely on.

The video I’ve included in this blog post drives home that point. Radio stations serve a purpose greater than listening to Rhianna or Lady Gaga. They are the lifeblood of the community, ready to provide you with life saving information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The rains from Camille almost took my father’s life in 1969. I lived through hurricanes David and Frederick in 1979, and drove through the gusty winds of Hurricane Kate. Through all those events there was radio, keeping me and my family informed.

For these reasons, I believe policy makers should acknowledge the power of radio by ensuring that its channels are unencumbered by unnecessary interference.

I like a good joke, but not at expense of the economy and the markets

Posted July 28th, 2011 in AT&T, T-Mobile USA and tagged , by Alton Drew

Read a post in The Huffington Post by Eddie Geller, founder of the Open Source Democracy Foundation. Mr. Geller described his reasoning for creating a bunch of Saturday Night Live-type videos that crack on the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

Yeah. Like we say, round-the-way; the boy got jokes.

This is a problem with the opposition’s arguments to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. There is not much serious about it. The discussion will boil down to law and economics, not comedy and histrionics. No one wants to see anyone lose their job, especially in this economy, but if there is anything the current economy has shown us is that we have to rethink how we view change and how we react to it. In addition, we have to rethink how jobs are created.

In the technology, where companies are subjected to destructive technology as well as mergers and acquisitions, workers particularly have to remain flexible and keep their skills fungible. Companies come and go in a competitive marketplace. Insinuating that employment and labor should remain fixed in a technology sector that remains in flux is unreasonable, and shows a poor sense of humor.

Submitting economic information in an antitrust filing is a distraction? Really?

Posted July 28th, 2011 in AT&T, FCC, Government Regulation, T-Mobile USA and tagged , , by Alton Drew

Sprint-Nextel’s Vonya McCann, senior vice president for government affairs, recently referred to AT&T’s filing of additional economic information a way to distract policymakers and regulators from AT&T’s failure to provide evidence that merger would not hurt consumers.

According to Bloomberg, the filing submitted last week by AT&T is meant to demonstrate that AT&T and T-Mobile USA’s customers would not be harmed.

The irony here is that why would anyone be upset by a party to an antitrust matter be upset by economic information. Maybe the information is more telling on the complainer than the filing.

AT&T/T-Mobile USA is about efficiency

Posted July 28th, 2011 in AT&T, T-Mobile USA and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

According to telecom consultant Keith Mallinson, the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile is about efficiency in the wireless market versus the congestion that can be generated in the distribution of wireless services by too many carriers.

Kind of reminds me of some old pictures from the late 1800s when America had multiple local providers in its cities. The real estate can only host so many carriers and spectrum is more finite than we think.

What I also found interesting in Mr. Mallinson’s piece was how he interwove competition in the application, content, and operations systems market into the imperfect competitive model of wireless services.

Bottom-line, the wireless market becomes more efficient with T-Mobile merging with AT&T or dropping out of the U.S. market altogether.

Wall Street increases demand for social media companies

Posted July 27th, 2011 in social media, social network by Alton Drew

As the debt ceiling talks suck the air out of political news and the financial markets, Global X announced that they have created an exchange traded fund (ETF) for social media.

An ETF is a securities certificate that gives the owner a legal right over a portion of a basket of individual stock certificates.

According to, the ETF will invest in securities from companies involved with social networking, file sharing, and other Web-based media applications.