Under the Paperweight – Anticipating the
FCC’s Broadband Plan

Editor’s favorite: the last link below**

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan, originally set for release in February 2010 until the FCC requested an extension to mid-March, could be the next big business battleground. It could also increase the number of local battlegrounds, as residents fight carriers at city halls over attempts to install more cell sites for FCC-backed wireless broadband.

Generic issues from the banking crisis and the health care financing crisis are pertinent to the debate over the future of broadband:

How can decades of complicated regulations be efficient and consistent with new technologies and delivery methods?

What is government’s appropriate role in pricing and guaranteeing access?

Who will pick up the tab for nationwide provision of services?

How can control over systems and services be balanced with citizens’ freedom, choice and privacy? (In this vein, how can top-down imposition of rules favoring wireless infrastructure expansion be deemed consistent with property rights, local determination, and protection of public health?)

Will a new framework for this huge business sector benefit the country, or a small group of players lobbying for favorable rules and treatment?

FCC’s Broadband Plan Called Infeasible, posted today on PCWorld.com, predicts no immediate action will be taken on the plan.

Going Mobile – CommLawblog, February 24, 2010 spotlighted the issue of wireless providers’ need for more spectrum to serve smartphone applications. Quoting FCC Chair Julius Genachowski:

“the Mobile Future Auction is a win-win proposal: for broadcasters, who win more flexibility to pursue business models to serve their local communities; and for the public, which wins more innovation in mobile broadband services, continued free, over-the-air television, and the benefits of the proceeds of new and substantial auction revenues.”

TV broadcasters, and many members of the public, don’t see it quite that way, as the article goes on to point out.

Other links under the Sunroom Desk paperweight on the FCC Broadband Plan:

FCC misses deadine for broadband plan: They’ll do great with more power – Big Government, February 10, 2010. The comment by Randyl2 is a brilliant analogy:

Government is the worst virus of all, now trying to worm it’s way into the internet. We need a firewall to keep the government out of our lives. Actually our Constitution was enacted to act as a firewall, we just haven’t had the sense to use it regularly to scan all government actions. It’s time we do before the country crashes.

FCC Net Neutrality Workshop Examines Importance of Transparency – BroadbandBreakfast.com, January 21, 2010

McDowell Warns Against Regulation of Broadband As Telecommunications Service – BroadbandBreakfast.com, January 29, 2010, an argument over industry classification (who is subject to what rules).

**”Open Internet Proposals” and Internet Activities by Ordinary Americans, an FCC-invited presentation by Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds, covers citizen journalism, the First Amendment, the temptation of government to control communications channels, and the dangers of rules set up to prevent problems that haven’t yet occurred.