David Kirkpatrick

October 25, 2010

Mobile broadband spectrum about to become scarce

Good thing the FCC is already down the road toward using satellite spectrum for land-based broadband. Right now looks like major spectrum shortages may be close as four years away.

From the second link:

Mobile data traffic in the U.S. will be 35 times higher in 2014 than it was in 2009, leading to a massive wireless spectrum shortage if the government fails to make more available, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said in a paper released Thursday.

While the paper may not get the projections exactly right, the U.S. government needs to act fast to free up more spectrum for mobile broadband, John Leibovitz, deputy chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, said during a spectrum summit at the FCC.

“From where we sit, the numbers that we’re putting out are a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if,'” Leibovitz said. “The demand trends are so strong, the growth is so incredible, that just overrides most of the other considerations in the analysis in the near term.”

The FCC and Congress need to move forward with plans to release more spectrum for mobile broadband, including incentives for television stations to give up their unused spectrum, added FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “The explosive growth in mobile communications is outpacing our ability to keep up,” he said. “If we don’t act to update our spectrum policies for the 21st century, we’re going to run into a wall — a spectrum crunch — that will stifle American innovation and economic growth and cost us the opportunity to lead the world in mobile communications.”

 

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September 7, 2010

Net neutrality and the FCC …

… a lot of talk (a whole lot of talk) and no action.

July 16, 2010

Did the FCC actually do something good here?

I’m pretty suspicious of government activity by default because all too often something that sounds both reasonable and sensible turns out to have a dank underbelly that undermines anything good in the action. Keeping that in mind this move by the Federal Communications Commission actually sounds like a good idea. Hard to believe I just typed that line.

From the link:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously today to initiate a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment on easing restrictions and paving the way for satellite spectrum to be used for land-based mobile broadband service. The move would be a significant step toward freeing up the 500 MHz of spectrum bandwidth by 2020 to meet growing wireless broadband needs.

The FCC proposes to change the rules for how satellite companies are allowed to use the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) airwaves they control to spur more innovation in delivering mobile broadband spectrum. A second proposal from the FCC would allow satellite companies to relinquish MSS spectrum in exchange for a return of the profit when those airwaves are auctioned off.

FCC commissioner Michael Copps explains in a statement “As demands for speed and mobility increase, so does the demand for spectrum upon which mobile wireless broadband rides. Unfortunately, we can’t make any more spectrum, so we need to find ways to optimize our supply by expanding flexibility of use for licensees and improving efficiency through new and innovative technologies.

July 13, 2010

First Amendment-one, FCC-nil

Good Bill of Rights news out of a US appellate court today.

From the link:

A United States appeals court tossed out the indecency policy of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, calling it a violation of the First Amendment.

An appeals panel said the F.C.C. policy was “unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.”

The ruling was immediately characterized as a victory for big broadcasters like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, which have been fighting the indecency policy for years.

Tuesday’s ruling vacates a 2004 decision by the Bush administration F.C.C. to step up enforcement of the indecency policy on the broadcast airwaves. Earlier that year, the singer Janet Jackson’s breast was bared during the Super Bowl halftime show on CBS, reigniting a decades-old debate about broadcast standards.

April 6, 2010

The internet is a bit less free …

… and a bit more corporate (at least for now) after this appeals court ruling.

From the link:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt a sharp blow to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to set the rules of the road for the Internet, ruling that the agency lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

The decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, specifically concerned the efforts of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, to slow down customers’ access to a service called BitTorrent, which is used to exchange large video files, most often pirated copies of movies.

March 4, 2010

National Broadband Plan seeks $25B

The United States lags in broadband access, plus infrastructure investment of this nature is an investment in the future of the nation. An example of good government spending.

From the link:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski’s coming National Broadband Plan will propose up to $25 billion in new federal spending for high-speed Internet lines and a wireless network for police and firefighters as part of a broader plan that appears to be a win for wireless companies.

November 5, 2009

Selectable Output Control — Hollywood v. the consumer

These battles are growing very, very old. You’d think Hollywood would’ve gotten the message from the RIAA’s brainless battles against the digital world that this is going to solve very little to nothing, but the blowback can and will be significant. Just another entertainment dinosaur howling and thrashing at the changing world of smaller, nimbler and smarter competitors.

From the boing boing link:

Alex sez,

The battle over your home entertainment equipment is heating up again and the time to make your voice heard is now. Hollywood wants the FCC to grant the studios permission to engage in so-called “”Selectable Output Control.” SOC is a tech mandate that would allow movie studios to shut off video outputs on the back of your cable box and DVR during the screening of certain movies over cable.

Also from the link:

Yes, you read that right. The studios want the right to randomly switch off parts of your home theater depending on which program you’re watching. And the FCC is taking this batshit proposal seriously.

So do something.

Tell the FCC to Say “No” to the Cable Kill Switch (Thanks, Alex!)

October 23, 2009

John McCain v. net neutrality

Disappointing news from the Arizona senator.

I’ve never felt McCain was in the pocket of corporate America, but unless he signed off on a bill he doesn’t understand that’s the only conclusion for this move. And the name — the Internet Freedom Act?  That’s some Orwellian obfuscation worthy of well, standard GOP talking points which is exactly where it probably came from.

It is interesting to see the various sides lining up for and against net neutrality now that the FCC has brought the regulation argument to the actual table.

From the first link:

U.S. Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would block the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from creating new net neutrality rules, on the same day that the FCC took the first step toward doing so.

McCain on Thursday introduced the Internet Freedom Act, which would keep the FCC from enacting rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet content and applications. Net neutrality rules would create “onerous federal regulation,” McCain said in a written statement.

The FCC on Thursday voted to begin a rulemaking process to formalize net neutrality rules. The rules, as proposed, would allow Web users to run the legal applications and access the legal Web sites of their choice. Providers could use “reasonable” network management to reduce congestion and maintain quality of service, but the rules would require them to be transparent with consumers about their efforts.

Click here to find out more!

The new rules would formalize a set of net neutrality principles in place at the FCC since 2005.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, called the proposed net neutrality rules a “government takeover” of the Internet that will stifle innovation and depress an “already anemic” job market in the U.S. McCain was the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and Obama has said net neutrality rules are among his top tech priorities.

October 22, 2009

FCC releases proposed net neutrality rules

I’m putting the FCC’s net neutrality press release from today in this post and you can hit this link (go to the entries from 10/22/09 to find the links) to find more statements. Here’s a link to the PDF of the “official notice of proposed rulemaking.”

Here’s the FCC’s net neutrality press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 22, 2009

COMMISSION SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON DRAFT RULES

TO PRESERVE THE FREE AND OPEN INTERNET

Washington, D.C. — In the next chapter of a longstanding effort to preserve the free and open Internet, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking public input on draft rules that would codify and supplement existing Internet openness principles.

In addition to providing greater predictability for all stakeholders, the Notice is aimed at securing the many economic and social benefits that an open Internet has historically provided. It seeks to do so in a manner that will promote and protect the legitimate needs of consumers, broadband Internet access service providers, entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses of all sizes that make use of the Internet.

The Commission has addressed openness issues in a variety of contexts and proceedings, including: a unanimous policy statement in 2005, a notice of inquiry on broadband industry practices in 2007, public comment on several petitions for rulemaking, conditions associated with significant communications industry mergers, the rules for the 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2007, specific enforcement actions, and public en banc hearings. During this time period, opportunities for public participation have generated over 100,000 pages of input in approximately 40,000 filings from interested parties and members of the public.

The process today’s Notice initiates will build upon the existing record at the Commission to identify the best means to achieve the goal of preserving and promoting the open Internet.

Recognizing that the proposed framework needs to balance potentially competing interests while helping to ensure an open, safe, and secure Internet, the draft rules would permit broadband Internet access service providers to engage in reasonable network management, including but not limited to reasonable practices to reduce or mitigate the effects of network congestion.

Under the draft proposed rules, subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service:

1.   would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from sending or receiving the lawful content of the user’s choice over the Internet;

2.   would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from running the lawful applications or using the lawful services of the user’s choice;

3.   would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from connecting to and using on its network the user’s choice of lawful devices that do not harm the network;

4.   would not be allowed to deprive any of its users of the user’s entitlement to competition among network providers, application providers, service providers, and content providers;

5.   would be required to treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner; and

6.   would be required to disclose such information concerning network management and other practices as is reasonably required for users and content, application, and service providers to enjoy the protections specified in this rulemaking.

The draft rules make clear that providers would also be permitted to address harmful traffic and traffic unwanted by users, such as spam, and prevent both the transfer of unlawful content, such as child pornography, and the unlawful transfer of content, such as a transfer that would infringe copyright. Further, nothing in the draft rules supersedes any obligation a broadband Internet access service provider may have — or limits its ability — to deliver emergency communications, or to address the needs of law enforcement, public safety, or national or homeland security authorities, consistent with applicable law.

The Commission is also seeking comment on how it should address “managed” or “specialized” services, which are Internet-Protocol-based offerings provided over the same networks used for broadband Internet access services. While the proceeding will seek input on how best to define and treat such services, managed services could include voice, video, and enterprise business services, or specialized applications like telemedicine, smart grid, or eLearning offerings. These services may provide consumer benefits and lead to increased deployment of broadband networks.

The Notice asks how the Commission should define the category of managed or specialized services, what policies should apply to them, and how to ensure that broadband providers’ ability to innovate, develop valuable new services, and experiment with new technologies and business models can co-exist with the preservation of the free and open Internet on which consumers and businesses of all sizes depend.

The Notice affirms that the six principles it proposes to codify would apply to all platforms for broadband Internet access, including mobile wireless broadband, while recognizing that different access platforms involve significantly different technologies, market structures, patterns of consumer usage, and regulatory history. To that end, the Notice seeks comment on how, in what time frames or phases, and to what extent the principles should apply to non-wireline forms of broadband Internet access, including mobile wireless.

Recognizing that the Commission’s decisions in this rulemaking must reflect a thorough understanding of current technology and future technological trends, the Chief of the Commission’s Office of Engineering & Technology will create an inclusive, open, and transparent process for obtaining the best technical advice and information from a broad range of engineers.

The adoption of this Notice will open a window for submitting comments to the FCC. Comments can be filed through the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System, and are due on Thursday, January 14. Reply comments are due on Friday, March 5.  In addition, the rulemaking process will include many other avenues for public input, including open workshops on key issues;  providing feedback through openinternet.gov, which will include regular blog posts by Commission staff; and other new media tools, including IdeaScale, an online platform for brainstorming and rating solutions to policy challenges.

Action by the Commission, October 22, 2009, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 09-93).  Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps and Clyburn; Commissioner McDowell and Commissioner Baker concurring in part, dissenting in part.  Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker.

GN Docket No.: 09-191

WC Docket No.: 07-52

-FCC-

News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found

on the Commission’s web site www.fcc.gov.

September 21, 2009

New America Foundation supports the latest in net neutrality

Hot from the inbox and this blog:

Chief Technologist, Robb Topolski, Applauds FCC Net Neutrality Announcement

Washington, DC, September 21, 2009 – Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his intention to pursue concrete Network Neutrality policies and rules governing American’s Connections to the Internet.
“We applaud that the FCC will be taking the necessary steps to continue freedom and openness for all Internet users,” said Robb Topolski, Chief Technologist at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative. In 2007, Topolski, then a network products developer, discovered Comcast Corporation secretly blocking his peer-to-peer transfers of public domain barbershop quartet music and memorabilia. His testing and results were independently reproduced by the Associated Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reigniting the Net Neutrality debate.  Following an investigation, the FCC ordered Comcast to disclose all of its network management techniques and to stop blocking peer-to-peer file transfers of lawful content.
To preserve and encourage freedom, openness, and investment, the Chairman proposed:
1) Adopting the four principles defined in the 2005 Internet Policy Statement into rules
2) Adding two new principles including:  A fifth principle stating that broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications and a sixth principle requiring that providers of broadband Internet access be transparent about their network management practices
3) A determination that these principles apply to the Internet however accessed (wired or wireless).
The FCC’s move is expected to encourage investment in both Internet infrastructures and applications.  For example, Venture Capitalists will not have to wonder if they’ll need the permission of the nation’s ISPs to develop applications on the Internet.  “ISPs won’t be able to cut costs by blocking traffic, nor will they be able to generate revenues by degrading everything else,” explained Topolski, referring to the capabilities now available to ISPs such as Deep-Packet Inspection (DPI) devices to monetize traffic on last-mile Internet connections.  “This means that investment dollars will return to real infrastructure upgrades that produce actual bandwidth improvements.”
The Open Technology Initiative of the New America Foundation formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open source innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks. OTI is a founder of measurementlab.net, a platform that helps users test their broadband connections and helps researchers analyze trends from the data.  Consumers and researchers are invited to use www.measurementlab.net.


About the New America Foundation
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

The latest on net neutrality

Net neutrality is a good thing, and here’s the latest on the topic from D.C.

From the second link:

The top U.S. communications regulator plans to unveil proposals Monday for ensuring Web traffic is not slowed or blocked based on its content, sources familiar with the contents of the speech said on Friday.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce plans to ask his fellow commissioners to adopt as a rule net neutrality and four existing principles on Internet access issued by the agency in 2005, one of the sources said.

Net neutrality pits open Internet companies like Google Inc against broadband service providers like AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp, which oppose new rules governing network management.

Advocates of net neutrality say Internet service providers must be barred from blocking or slowing traffic based on its content.

But service providers say the increasing volume of bandwidth-hogging services, like video sharing, requires active management of their networks and some argue that net neutrality could stifle innovation.

“He is going to announce rulemaking,” said one source familiar with the speech due to be delivered at the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank.

The rule proposal will also try to seek greater clarity into what constitutes “reasonable” network management by Internet providers.

The FCC could formally propose the rule aimed at both wireless and landline Internet platforms at an open meeting in October.

August 26, 2009

Wireless industry under the gun

Filed under: Business, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:13 pm

I won’t go all the way out to say the wireless sector regularly engages in bad business practices, but it’s pretty hard to argue the industry has been best serving the customer for, let’s say, the last 15 years.

Good luck in staring down a government with rolled-up sleeves and the political will to impose heavy regulation on offending businesses.

More regulation may not be the answer, but a bit more electronics liberation would be nice.

Check out the disingenuous quote from the CTIA veep below — wireless offerings are cheaper than 15 (fifteen!) years ago? Really? And there are services you can get today that weren’t available in 1994? Wow that progress thing is just so cool! Thanks for setting this story straight Mr. Spokesman.

From the link:

Facing an unprecedented onslaught of criticism of its pricing practices, exclusive handset deals and other moves, the wireless industry is gearing up to defend itself in hearings before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other government groups.”The wireless industry in the U.S. has the coolest handsets, the applications are more robust, and the networks have the highest speeds with the lowest pricing,” said Christopher Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulatory affairs at the CTIA in an interview today. “Can things get better? Yes. But things will get better.”

The CTIA, an association of carriers, handset makers and a growing number of wireless ecosystem players like Google Inc., says it is a bit confused by the level of criticism heaped upon the industry in recent weeks. Critics have leveled a variety of complaints ranging from what they contend is a lack of wireless innovation to overcharging for monthly services, Guttman-McCabe said.

Click here to find out more!“I think it’s extremely hard to understand the criticism we’re hearing,” Guttman-McCabe said. “People pay … a hell of a lot less than they paid [for wireless services] 15 years ago, and think of what you get now that you couldn’t get then.”The CTIA is planning to carefully watch the FCC’s meeting on Thursday to consider whether to conduct three probes, or “inquiries,” into the wireless industry. The FCC will decide whether it will work to find ways to encourage wireless vendors to be more innovative, competitive and open in providing information to consumers looking to buy wireless services.

July 16, 2009

Google, New America Foundation and public opinion on the National Broadband Plan

A release from today’s inbox:

For Immediate Release

July 16, 2009 

 
As part of the economic stimulus legislation (ARRA), Congress charged the FCC with creating a National Broadband Plan by next February.
 
The Commission has called for “maximum civic engagement” in developing a broadband strategy, reflecting input from all stakeholders.  Initial comments have been filed and now it’s the public’s turn to contribute their views and ideas.
 
To encourage public input, the New America Foundation is joining forces with Google to launch a Google Moderator page to aggregate public opinion on this critical policy issue. Google Moderator provides the general public with a forum to submit and vote on ideas you think the Commission should include in its National Broadband Plan.
 
After two weeks, Google and NAF will take the most popular and most innovative ideas and submit them to the official record at the FCC on your behalf.
 
We hope you will post your views on Google Moderator – and also forward this to your contacts and constituents. 
 
We can all help answer the FCC’s call for input from stakeholders ‘outside the beltway,’ including “industry, American consumers; large and small businesses; federal, state, local, and tribal governments; and disabled communities.”  
 
Among the key elements of a national broadband plan under consideration:
 

  • The most effective and efficient ways to ensure ubiquitous broadband access for all Americans;
  • Strategies for achieving affordability and maximum utilization of broadband infrastructure and services;
  • Evaluation of the status of broadband deployment, including the progress of related grant programs;
  • How to use broadband to advance consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy efficiency, education, worker training, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and other national purposes.

As Commissioner Michael Copps noted, “Broadband can be the great enabler that . . . opens doors of opportunity for all Americans to pass through, no matter who they are, where they live, or the particular circumstances of their individual lives.”  A national broadband plan promises far-reaching consequences for economic growth and equal opportunity across all sectors for decades to come.
 
You can join the discussion at: http://moderator.appspot.com/#16/e=a4977 

New America’s Wireless Future Program develops and advocates policy proposals aimed at achieving universal and affordable wireless broadband access, expanding public access to the airwaves and updating our nation’s communications infrastructure in the digital era. For more information, visit http://www.newamerica.net/programs/wireless_future.
About the New America Foundation
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

June 26, 2009

Broadband access news from New America Foundation

Hot from the inbox, here’s a set of links from the New America Foundation on spectrum scarcity (or lack thereof) and broadband access. Lots to ponder from a very useful think tank.

As the FCC begins its year-long process to recommend a National Broadband Plan, one starting point is to unlock publicly-owned spectrum assets that can facilitate ubiquitous, affordable broadband access.  Public policy seems stymied by the myth that spectrum is scarce. In reality, only government permission to access the airwaves (licenses) is scarce – spectrum capacity itself is barely used in most locations and at most times. This underutilized spectrum represents enormous, untapped,capacity for pervasive broadband connectivity.  

  

On Thursday, June 25th, New America’s Wireless Future Program released four new papers outlining several technology and policy reforms to enable dynamic, opportunistic access to these underutilized spectrum resources:

 

The End of Spectrum Scarcity: Building on the TV Bands Database to Access Unused Public Airwaves

By Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Program

 

This paper recommends that the Obama administration and the FCC make mapping and actively facilitating opportunistic access to unused and underutilized frequency bands a priority as part of any national broadband policy through: 1) A White House-led initiative to conduction an Inventory of the Airwaves that maps how our public spectrum resource is being utilized or underutilized in various bands, by both commercial and government users; 2) build on the TV Bands Database to include frequency bands not being used at particular locations or times;  and, 3) commence a set of inquiries into the technologies, incentives, institutional arrangements and “rules of the road” that can best facilitate a future of more open, intensive and opportunistic sharing of the nation’s spectrum resource.

  

You can read the paper here.

 

Revitalizing the Public Airwaves: Opportunistic Unlicensed Reuse of Government Spectrum

By Victor Pickard and Sascha D. Meinrath, Director, Open Technology Initiative  

 

The paper proposes a “third way” for the airwaves: opportunistic reuse of government spectrum on an open and unlicensed basis.  One-time auctions are no longer the best way to ensure the advancement of new technologies and expanded broadband access for underserved areas. The paper concludes with a series of policy recommendations for implementing opportunistic reuse of government spectrum. By exploring models for spectrum management that take advantage of technological innovations, the paper aims to initiate a policy debate on spectrum reforms with profound implications for the future of communications.  


You can read the paper here.

 

New Approaches to Private Sector Sharing of Federal Government Spectrum  

By Michael J. Marcus, Principal, Marcus Spectrum Solutions LLC 

 

Although the military currently shares radar bands with users of low-power, unlicensed devices, it does so in a overly limited and entirely passive way. Advances in spectrum sharing technologies allow more intensive and efficient sharing of underutilized federal bands with the private sector — and among federal agencies — if only the government would adopt a more affirmative policy and upgrade its technologies and protocols.  Unfortunately, the current federal spectrum management system provides little incentive to allow sharing of existing federal spectrum.    


You can read the paper here.

 

A Potential Alliance for World-Wide Dynamic Spectrum Access: DSA as an Enabler of National Dynamic Spectrum Management

By Preston F. Marshall, Director, Information Sciences Institute, Viterbi School of Engineering, USC and Former Program Manager, DARPA‘s NeXt Generation Communications 

 

The paper describes how Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) technologies can greatly benefit incumbent federal and non-federal spectrum users – and are a win-win for the military in particular. Marshall highlights four erroneous preconceptions about DSA that create unnecessary resistance among spectrum incumbents who could benefit from moving to a more dynamic and networked approach to spectrum access. In particular, while there is tension between the advocates and military authorities in considering sharing spectrum within the United States, there may be mutual interest in obtaining access for DSA devices internationally.  Marshall also urges advocates of dynamic spectrum access to  adopt a more nuanced approach that does not seek to supplant spectrum management nor incumbents.

 

You can read the paper here.

 

The Wireless Future Program also hosted a companion event, with a panel of experts including the above authors, along with Wharton School Professor Kevin Werbach, who co-led the Obama Administration’s FCC Transition review,  and Tom Stroup, CEO of Shared Spectrum Company.

 

You can download audio and video from the event here.

 

 

###


New America’s Wireless Future Program develops and advocates policy proposals aimed at achieving universal and affordable wireless broadband access, expanding public access to the airwaves and updating our nation’s communications infrastructure in the digital era. For more information, visit http://www.newamerica.net/programs/wireless_future.

About the New America Foundation
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

October 16, 2008

Selling the “white space” for broadband — pro and con

On the pro side of the argument is the Federal government. Here’s a Technology Review article on the subject.

From the link:

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday proposed opening up unused portions of the television airwaves known as “white spaces” to deliver wireless broadband service.

The proposal by FCC chief Kevin Martin appeals to public interest groups and many of the nation’s biggest technology companies, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which hope it will bring affordable high-speed Internet connections to more Americans.

“No one should ever underestimate the potential that new technologies and innovations may bring to society,” Martin said in a statement.

That article contains a few contrarian views, such as these two:

His plan could run into opposition from the nation’s big television broadcasters, which have argued that the use of the fallow spectrum to deliver wireless Internet services could disrupt their over-the-air signals. The National Association of Broadcasters had no immediate comment.

Shure Inc., a manufacturer of wireless microphones, has also raised concerns about interference with audio systems at concerts and sporting events.

For even more detail on the con side of this issue, check out this New America Foundation paper. This link goes to the summary with a link to the full report in PDF format at the bottom of the page.