The FCC has approved DISH Network’s request to adapt its satellite spectrum for wireless use. DISH had asked for an FCC waiver that would allow the company to use 40 MHz of spectrum in the 2 GHz band for a 4G LTE network.
“The FCC has removed outdated regulations and granted territorial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 band,” said DISH senior vice president and deputy general counsel Jeff Blum. “We appreciate the hard work and focus of the FCC and its staff throughout this process. The commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation, and fulfilling the goals of the National Broadband Plan.”
While the commission announced its approval of DISH Network’s request for wireless spectrum use, certain as-yet unspecified restrictions will apply. The commission has previously said that there need to be limits on DISH’s network in order to prevent interference problems. Consequently, DISH seems committed to proceeding with caution. “Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, DISH will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers,” Blum said. Among these options is a potential partnership with a wireless partner, such as Sprint or AT&T. In fact, DISH and Sprint have reportedly already held talks to discuss such a joint venture.
The NTCA policy team has had a real hodge-podge of activity recently, spending time on everything from regression analysis and cost models (everyone’s favorite topics) to IP evolution, from call completion to cybersecurity, and from “scope and scale” discussions to rural health care. Just to give a brief sense of what the team has been doing to juggle all of these topics on behalf of members, this update will be a kind of “lightning round” where I’ll try in five sentences or less to provide an overview of the activity on all of these items. This format, of course, doesn’t do justice to any one of these issues—nor will this update address all of the issues we’re watching for members—so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email. Read more
Speaking October 16 at a Washington, D.C., forum sponsored by the Communications Liberty and Innovation Project, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai called upon the commission to set up a task force to examine the issue of how to best make the transition from a voice to an IP world.
“This task force would study how to hasten the Internet transformation,” Pai said. “It would help us modernize the Commission’s outdated regulations and it would allow us to account for and accelerate the dramatic technological changes in the communications industry.”
Along those lines, Pai suggested the commission could close the 2010 docket which would reclassify broadband Internet access services as common carrier services regulated under Title II. “We should make clear that we have no intention of employing such a back-to-the-future regulatory approach,” he said.
Further, Pai attacked the 1996 Telecommunications Act, calling it “hopelessly outdated.” However, until and unless Congress decides to change the law, he said, it is the FCC’s job is “to administer the act as it stands.”
Georgetown is an upscale neighborhood in Washington, D.C., that features block after block of remarkably preserved 19th century buildings. The ideological contrasts that define politics in the nation’s capital are mirrored in the juxtapositions that occur when the hottest retailers are packed into historically defined spaces; nineteen months defined the period Apple took to gain local design approval for its store, whose façade underwent several iterations before being judged suitably consistent with its neighboring buildings.
And, like other districts packed with trendy shops, tenants arrive and depart as fads blaze and fade. Signs announcing “Coming Soon!” are about as regular as those that post hours or sales. The other day, one caught my eye. Read more
On August 28 FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would begin an inquiry into the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) on commercial aircraft.
The investigation could result in a change to the rules that would allow passengers on airplanes to use connected personal wireless devices in flight. The use of PEDs like tablets and smartphones could provide serious competition to in-flight movie services.
An August 28 article in Broadcasting and Cable reports that the FAA will form a government-industry study group that will begin meeting this fall and will continue for six months. The objective is to determine when and how flight crews ascertain that the devices can be safely used, and how this correlates with use of the devices for data as opposed to voice communications. Read more
The U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has granted a stay to Comcast in the dispute of carriage of the Tennis Channel by the nation’s largest multi-system operator (MSO), according to an August 24 MultiChannel News article.
The court’s ruling overrides the FCC’s decision in the Tennis Channel program carriage complaint. The FCC ruling had said that Comcast had discriminated against the Tennis Channel and must upgrade its carriage level to match that of NBS Sports Net and the Golf Channel. Both NBC Sports Net and the Golf Channel are owned and operated by NBC Universal, a company controlled by Comcast.
The court ruling will allow Comcast to ignore the commission’s order.
“We are pleased the Court of Appeals has recognized the serious issues raised by the FCC’s unprecedented Tennis Channel decision and granted our request to stay the FCC’s action, sparing millions of our customers needless disruption,” said Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice in a statement for MultiChannel News. Read more
A friend once told me that he did not understand environmentalism until he visited Vermont. Photographs, even those “worth a thousand words,” and academic statistics cannot match the experience of witnessing personally the series of natural wonders that grace that state. It would be a few years until I went to Vermont, and when I did, I discarded whatever understanding I thought I had of my friend’s comment, and exchanged that for the perspective born of personal experience.
Several months ago, I was introduced to the phrase “windshield time,” used to describe the hours spent traveling from place to place in sparsely populated rural areas. From a mathematical perspective, I suppose I understood it, and even presumed to appreciate it. Read more