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Allow Verizon to Get More AWS Spectrum

Posted May 30th, 2012 in spectrum and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

I’m sitting here in the West End thinking about how many more voice channels the city could get if the Federal Communications Commission would allow Verizon to purchase Advanced Wireless Services spectrum from SpectrumCo. Verizon would like to add the 20 MHz of SpectrumCo.’s AWS spectrum to Verizon’s existing portion.

Without sounding to nerdy, AWS offers the advantages of better support for 3G and 4G networks. AWS allows a carrier to differentiate its services based on network speed and availability of broadband services.

So far the argument proffered by advocacy groups such as Free Press has been that Verizon should not be allowed to have this spectrum because they either have too much or they have been sitting on what they have. Imagine explaining that one to their shareholders. “Yes, we’ve been passing up the opportunity to maximize shareholder wealth by not offering services because it would mean using spectrum we spent billions of your capital buying.” Wow. That type of logic would make JP Morgan’s $2 billion trading loss look totally insignificant.

The argument simply makes no sense. Verizon did not become the number one wireless carrier in the U.S. by making irrational capital allocation decisions. Besides, if they were really that interested in hoarding spectrum, they would petition to buy the AWS spectrum while keeping the B and C blocks of the 700 MHz spectrum they already have.

Consumers and the FCC need to stay focused on the reality. There are a bunch of cable companies sitting on spectrum they are not using. They are letting fertile ground lay fallow and farmer Verizon sees an opportunity to seed more crops. Let Verizon go ahead and seed.

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Getting Spectrum into Hands of Carriers that Actually Have Customers

Posted May 25th, 2012 in economy, FCC, Government Regulation, spectrum and tagged , , by Alton Drew

In an insightful piece by the Wireless Communications Association International CEO Fred Campbell, Mr. Campbell summarizes earlier statements made by Larry Irving prior to a New America Foundation panel discussion on spectrum and broadband.

Mr. Irving emphasized the importance of the federal government enlisting the aid of the private sector in unleashing spectrum. Why should spectrum not go into the hands of the wireless carriers that actually have the subscribers that are actually driving up the demand for wireless devices and services, which in turn drive up the demand for spectrum?

Makes sense to me.

The only public interest standard that should matter is whether access to the air waves is being put in the hands of the carriers that will use it best, and that these carriers do indeed put spectrum to use.

Spectrum should be transferred into the hands of wireless carriers that have the customers. The FCC’s attempt to create a competitive market structure by promoting its transfer to smaller carriers with a smaller number of subscribers makes no sense. It is inefficient because air time, for a lack of a better phrase would be wasted. Why have all that resource with no subscribers to use it.

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The Public Interest Raises its Head … Again

The New America Foundation today held a two panel discussion on the public interest standard as it applies to broadband and spectrum. Larry Irving defined the public interest as including universal service, diversity, and localism. From what I gathered, the premise was transitioning these broadcast public interest components to broadband.

In other words, society has as a social policy goal ensuring universal access to broadband services; making sure a diverse array of voices can receive and send messages via broadband; and ensuring content sent and received via broadband includes homegrown content about things going on next door, including news about Mrs. Wilson’s cat being caught in a tree …

Okay, I digressed a little on the cat in the tree.

Is this really in the public’s interest in broadband services or the use of spectrum for that matter? The problem with the public interest standard at the Federal Communications Commission is that it looks at the airwaves as something primarily for consumer consumption. Big mistake. As guardian and gatekeeper of a public resource, it should look at the airwaves as a national resource that we use to produce output. As a creature of the Congress, the FCC should analyze the public interest in terms as a regulator of commerce.

Spectrum is a conduit in the flow of commercial activity; the movement of goods and services. The primary good or service carried through this conduit is information. The conduit is indifferent to the information. It’s indifferent to whoever is selling and buying it. This is why burdening access to and use of spectrum with consumer concerns is pointless.

The only public interest standard that should matter is whether access to the air waves is being put in the hands of the carriers that will use it best, and that these carriers do indeed put spectrum to use.

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Youtube: Consumers Uploading 72 Hours of Video Per Minute

According to Gigaom.com, Consumers are uploading 72 hours of video to YouTube per minute. That’s a lot of content.

YouTube is owned by Google, Inc.

With all the smart phones equipped with cameras, uploading video is easier to do. This increases demand for access to the airwaves or spectrum. Will technology, and more importantly, regulation be able to keep up?

What this also tells me is that Google is a much bigger threat to Facebook as we know it. Google has a much more lucrative advertising business. They are able to get more eyes to their content because of YouTube. All that is missing is the social networking piece. They will either keep plodding along with Google+ or go after Facebook.

Now that would be fun to watch on YouTube or anywhere else.