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Communications United States Wireless Networking Hardware

Another View of the FCC and Spectrum Scarcity 359

Bob_Robertson writes "Tim Swanson on the Ludwig von Mises Institute site is asking, has the FCC put itself out of a job by allowing the 47-49 MHz, 2.4 GHZ and other "open spectrum" frequencies, thus focusing innovation and development into making fantastic use of limited resources? The basis of the FCC's existence is "scarcity", so what happens when there isn't any scarcity any more? LVMI has looked into the FCC before."
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Another View of the FCC and Spectrum Scarcity

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  • by Musteval ( 817324 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:12PM (#13296615)
    prefer to think of it as "reducing the workload."
  • Isn't that kind of an oxymoron, a governmental agency going out of business?
    • Gov't agencies get downsized and eliminated too.
      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:53PM (#13297087) Homepage Journal
        It ain't easy though.

        Here's a highly recommended book by the way, unfortunately out of print "No Way The Nature of the Impossible" by Philip J. Davis, David Park (ISBN 0716719665). It consists of a series of essays on the concept of "Impossible" in various fields such as physics, mathematics, biology, mountaineering and so forth.

        It's relevant because in the essay on public policy, the writer points out that it is impossible to implement any policy a bureaucracy doesn't like, because the bureaucracy is your only means to implement it. One reason that the government grew so much under FDR (other than the war and the surplus of labor during the Depression) was that in order to make changes, he found it easier to create entire new bureaucracies rather than to try to change the old ones, which he left to slowly wither on the vine. It isn't just a liberal phenomenon either: my wife served (in an extremely lowly capacity) in the Reagan administration for a while, and the period was remarkable for the rate at which government and the various private entities that feed off of it grew. DC was busting at the seams after a couple of years. No surprise that deficits are through the roof these days and that we need a whole new cabinet level agency post 9/11 either.
        • It isn't just a liberal phenomenon either: my wife served (in an extremely lowly capacity) in the Reagan administration for a while, and the period was remarkable for the rate at which government and the various private entities that feed off of it grew.

          Milton Friedman [wikipedia.org] says that during Reagan's reign, government socialist activity dropped. Link here [hooverdigest.org].

          • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @05:07PM (#13298355) Homepage Journal
            Milton Friedman says that during Reagan's reign, government socialist activity dropped. Link here.

            What can I say? I can't argue with an Authority like Friedman. All I can say is what my eyes saw, which was DC experiencing massive, explosive growth. Now depending on your definition of "government socialist activity", it may well have been reduced. But unless there was some other major industry exists in DC other than federal government and toadying to the federal government, I'd have to say in my unscientific mind it seems likely that the sum of the activities in those area increased. They can't all have been selling coke to Marion Barry.

            By the way, I prefer to think of our presidents as "serving terms" rather than reigning. Small-r republican tastes I guess.
      • That would explain why we still have mohair subsidies. You know, vital for the WWI war effort.

        Read somewhere that a year or so before the Civil war the US government had about 50,000 employees. 30,000 of them worked for the Post Office.
  • by bigwavejas ( 678602 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:12PM (#13296622) Journal
    We can only hope those nutcases are putting themselves out of jobs. They've already forced radio talk show host Howard Stern to move to Satellite radio. The FCC are a bunch of spineless pansies who bow down to ultra-paranoid religious whack-jobs, who get their panties all bunched up every time someone say's a bad word (cover your kids ears) or flashes a boob (cover your kids eyes, lord knows they'll never recover). I say good riddance! This country wasn't founded on censorship; it was founded on Freedom of Speech.

    Support your local pirate radio, much like http://www.freakradio.org/ [freakradio.org]

    • Actually, the freedom of speach idea came later than religion. Sadly, the origins of settlers in America was people escaping from religious oppression, only to turn around and be religious oppressors themselves in some cases. A lot of the other freedoms we see were a result of oppression by the crown.
      • Uhh, the first 10 amendments were all written at the same time, by men who were by and large far from the Puritans and Calvinists you're referring to. In fact, the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech are both in the same amendment-the first one. As for when the ideas showed up, I would argue speech came way before religion-the Athenians were fine with saying just about anything, but you were in trouble if you didn't worship the same gods.
        • I am in possession of a copy of Thomas Jefferson's work on redoing into modern (by the times) english of the bible. The US Constitution and etc were written by very strong christians. I know that this will not sit well with some but TJ was on of the guys the other side holds up as evidence of some of the non-christian forces and he wasn't. Get a life if you can't stand the facts.

          The first ten amendments were pushed in the face of extreme efforts by the anti-religious (French Revolutionaries etc) to make

        • Re:Federal-ism (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bob_Robertson ( 454888 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @03:07PM (#13297216) Homepage
          Don't forget that the Bill of Rights was written to stop the new Federal government from infringing on the powers of the existing States.

          The principles of the founding of the United States is one of "federalism". A weak central government of explicitly enumerated powers (article 1 section 8), separate from the several States, with their governments of general powers rather than enumerated.

          That there were States with their own constitutions limiting their general powers is a testament to the fact that government at any level must be restrained or it will abuse its citizens.

          The fact that certain states did indeed regulate speech, recognize religion(s), restrict firearms and all the other things that the Fed.Gov is prohibitted doing in the Bill Of Rights is just part of what the Founders lived with.

          Some states were utterly against restricting the right of free speech, others utterly against having their power to restrict speech infringed upon. The compromise was to simply prohibit the Fed.Gov from interfering with the states one way or another at all.

          Sounds like a great compromise to me. I wish we could all compromise by simply abolishing the power of government to make the decision for us. Whatever that decision is.

          Bob-

      • No, thsts folklaw. I assume tou are talking about Plymouth Rock and the fundamentalist group that landed there. There had been settlement in America long before that - remember that America was England's penal colony until Australia took over. The people you refer to were not escaping religeous persecution so much as intolerance for their insistance that everyone think/behave the same way they did.
    • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:19PM (#13296709)
      An unfortunate truth of human affairs in general and politics in particular is that once power is granted, it is nearly impossible to rescind.

      The FCC will never go away, so long as the United States government exists - our government will never cede any power it has back to the populace it governs. The effect is similar to entropy - our government will grow progressively more and more powerful, more and more intrusive, until the day somebody is inspired by the phrase "When in the course of human events . . ."

      Then again, so many of us want the kind of "cradle-to-grave" care our government has evolved into providing. "Let them continue to regulate radio communications" the people will say, "just keep my television spewing out mountains of mindless pap, keep the radio airwaves full of the musical tripe which the music industry has decreed I should find entertaining."

      I guess we'll get what we desserve.

      • Then again, so many of us want the kind of "cradle-to-grave" care our government has evolved into providing.

        What govt are you talking about? Not the USA govt. In fact the LACK of "cradle to grave" care is one of the major problems in the USA. We have no socialiazed health care. People can only get 7 years of welfare in their entire life. Social Security is not enough to live on. I can go on and on. Maybe you meant "cradle to grave" care for corporations?
        • There is no "problem" with being left alone. The problems only happen when the government interferes with people.

          We have no socialiazed health care.

          Medicare. Medicaid. 50 state governments with all their own programs. Plus city programs. At least.

          People can only get 7 years of welfare in their entire life.

          Move to California. Or New York.

          Social Security is not enough to live on.

          Try Mississippi or Alabama. Or, better yet, go read the law and see where it says SUPPLIMENTAL SECURITY INCOME, it was never intende
      • Then again, so many of us want the kind of "cradle-to-grave" care our government has evolved into providing.

        That phrase alone tells me you're not American. In the US, many millions of people are left without medical coverage, the poor with sub-poverty-level food assistance, if not simply left to starve. In the middle-class sections of US society, most pay private medical insurances. As for the rich and very rich, they're the ones taken care of by the government really well, in the form of huge tax breaks.

        If
        • "if not simply left to starve"

          Do you personally know anyone in the US who is currently starving?
          • Actually yes, (well not currently) my wife grew up in a home where her father drank all their money away, and most of the family starved on a regular basis. Did the government laps in getting these kids help? Yes. Is this a primary fault of our government system and can it happen just about anywhere in the world, even socialist countries? Definatly.
      • mounts of mingless pap ... musical tripe

        (sarcasm)Naturally getting rid of the FCC and letting corporations control the spectrum would be the perfect way to increase content diversity. Major corporations love excellent, obscure content, as opposed to "lowest common denominator"(/sarcasm)
      • An unfortunate truth of human affairs in general and politics in particular is that once power is granted, it is nearly impossible to rescind.

        The US government gave up the power to prohibit the consumption of alcohol by adults. It gave up the power to restrict voting on the basis of sex, race, or age over 18. It gave up the power to raise congressmen's salaries without an intervening election. The Bill of Rights itself is a list of powers the US government gave up (though it did so without ever really tr
    • Freedom of Speech != Freedom to be Vulgar

      Freedom of Speech was meant to protect those who wish to voice their opinion about the government and its policies. It was meant to allow people to worship how they wish religiously and share that openly. It wasn't meant to protect ANY act you desire, no matter how vulgar or cruel. Howard Stern broke the law, and he was punished for it. The law was put in place for a reason.

      You might not be offended by porn, vulgar talk, violence, or whatever else. But some peop
      • "It wasn't meant to protect ANY act you desire, no matter how vulgar or cruel. Howard Stern broke the law, and he was punished for it. The law was put in place for a reason."

        ...and just who defines the law? Who draws the line on what is "ok" and what is considered, "vulgar or cruel"? The problem is Mike this line is getting less and less clear and to a great extent is being controlled by paranoid religious groups.

      • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:44PM (#13296976) Journal
        Freedom of Speech != Freedom to be Vulgar

        Yes, it does. Freedom of Speech means just that. You are free to say anything you want excluding the proverbial 'Fire!' in a crowded theater (or any other place) or if you slander someone (though you can actually slander someone you will probably go to court for saying it).

        You apparently consider the saying of the words 'ass' and 'tit' to be vulgar. I don't. So what's vulgar to you is not the same as what's vulgar to me.

        Do you consider someone from the KKK saying that blacks are nothing but monkeys or that hispanics are nothing but lazy, job-stealing wetbacks?* Too bad. Those comments are protected by the First Amendment.

        No, I don't have kids but protecting kids from what you consider to be unsavory isn't the way to go. Exposing kids to everything allows them to become well-rounded adults who are aware of everything. It is up to you to instill upon them your own values and explain to them why you consider pornography bad. Simply saying 'Don't watch/look at that stuff. It's bad.' isn't a good enough reason for kids.

        Freedom of Speech means anyone can say what they want (minus the exceptions I listed). It means the freedom to say the good, the bad and the ugly.

        * The above comments are not meant to be representative of my views on the aformentioned groups. I was merely using examples to illustrate my point. Any person who was offended by my comments should feel free to find the nearest attractive person and make mad monkey-love to that person in an attempt to vent their frustrations at my comments. I take no responsibility for any unforseen outcomes of such encounters.

        • Freedom of Speech means anyone can say what they want (minus the exceptions I listed).

          Man, I wish those were the only two exceptions! If only we really did have that much freedom!

        • I disagree. Freedom of Speech comes with responsibility. Most people realize that vulgar statements do not appeal to everyone and the Radio and Television airwaves (NOT CABLE) is definitely not the place for this. You may not be offended and I may not be offended but some people are. People who don't like vulgar statements have every right to NOT hear them when they are not expected just like you have every right to not hear me read statements our of the Bible. I would be just as wrong to do that on TV
        • Freedom of Speech means anyone can say what they want (minus the exceptions I listed).

          I can give one more exception: campaigning. I can't air campaign ads close to an election without getting them approved. Is that censorship?
        • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris AT beau DOT org> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @03:38PM (#13297508)
          > Exposing kids to everything allows them to become well-rounded
          > adults who are aware of everything.

          You didn't have to say you weren't actually a parent, that boneheaded remark was enough to tell everyone that you not only aren't one, you have zero experience with them and that you probably had a screwed up childhood yourself, so you have no reference points. Hell, you have probably never even had to teach an adult anything if you can make that statement.

          Yes, children need to be exposed to all sorts of things if they are to become responsible citizens when they grow up. But at the appropriate time. Children AREN'T just small adults. The higher reasoning skills take time to develop. Some concepts need to be taught after others are fully understood.

          Example. C wouln't exactly be the first choice to teach someone to program who had never done any codeing at all, but a teacher doing so would be merely odd who did so. (Might be trying a radical new technique.) But if that teacher then extected said student to figure out the hairier bits of pointers in the first week they would be zarking mad.

          Same with kids. Advanced concepts in love/romance/sexuality/relationships can't be properly understood without a good foundation in both teaching and experience dealing with simpler relationships among family and friends. Not to mention that their hardware isn't properly configured (both the obvious physical changes to the external hardware and the ones you obviously have no concept of in the ol wetware) until fairly close to the modern legal adult line. Most of the readers here on slashdot, hell the whole world, are adults still trying to figure this stuff out, expecting a five year old to understand is just idiocy.
    • You can't regulate how other people choose to protect their kids. You are the spineless pansy who gets his panties in a bunch as soon as someone dares to say that bad words might actually be bad. You are the ignoramus who forces his own brand of freedom of speech on everyone. Howard Stern is perfectly safe on satellite frequencies; it's just that a lot of people don't want him on public radio frequencies. Your comments remind me of Brave New World, where the government-raised children have all the sexual fr
      • Howard Stern is perfectly safe on satellite frequencies; it's just that a lot of people don't want him on public radio frequencies.

        Nope; there are plenty of would-be censors calling for regulation of cable and satellite just like broadcast.

        This country wasn't founded on totalitarianism, it was founded on the rights of the individual. The right not to listen to smut is one of those.

        Quite so. Which is why I oppose the bill requiring all citizens to listen to Howard Stern for 60 minutes every day. Oh wait.
    • The religious freaks have decided his post was a troll because they don't want you to hear the truth. censorship sucks, please UPMOD Parent
    • Amendment I clearly states:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Simply stated, the FCC is unconstitutional!

  • Well... there's always cellphones and other things for which the maximum unregulated transmit power isn't enough.
    • For now. You'd be amazed what can be done with receiver gain these days. You really only need a highly directional antenna on one end. Imagine a beowulf cluster of those up on top of a pole somewhere. WIth such a design, you can significantly reduce the outside interference when communicating with a device in the field that operates at a very low transmitting power level. Not good enough? Increase the antenna array density.

      Mark my words: it is only a matter of time before we have cell phones that op

  • Its not a business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:15PM (#13296650) Homepage
    The article ignores the fact that the FCC is not a business. It is largely a regulatory agency there to ensure that the spectrums don't get abused and misused. As long as people are using the spectrums, the FCC will be there to regulate them.
    • The point of the FA was that by being so stingy with unlicensed spectrum, the pressure to innovate around the limits was high. The result is a class of devices that can happily co-inhabit a chunk of spectrum, thereby destroying the 'bandwidth is like real estate" concept.
      • I really haven't seen many such devices, or any such innovation.
        The problems I see is that Bluetooth, cordless phones and "WiFi" all can and do interfere, degrading each other's effective connection ability.

        From their front page, the topics and concepts that the LvMI chooses is interesting. A defense of bribery? Organized Labor is state controlled? A glut of saving? I thought the problem was that people don't save enough!
        • You didn't read them. The point of the "A Glut Of Saving?" article was to destroy the Keynsian myth that says that people putting money in the bank slows down the economy.

          Also, the defense of bribery article was pointing out the damage that bribery causes, but the greater damage that comes from trying to prohibit bribery.

          The common theme, if there is any, is that prohibition itself causes more problems than it solves.

          Bob-

      • The result is a class of devices that can happily co-inhabit a chunk of spectrum, thereby destroying the 'bandwidth is like real estate" concept.

        Oh yes, positively laid to waste. Thats why my cordless phone makes my Wifi slow down, not to mention the interference issues you get in higher-rent appartment buildings were everyone has a WAP...

    • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:23PM (#13296759)
      It is largely a regulatory agency there to ensure that the spectrums don't get abused and misused.

      It was largely that.

      Now it's the branch of government in charge of enforcing "clean language" by protecting us from hearing any of seven unmentionable words.
      • That's what they used to be for. Now they protect us against nipples.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) * <loverevolutionary@yah o o .com> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:19PM (#13296706) Journal
    Free market, you're my hero! You've rescued pensions and defeated the evil of public water in South America, saved the airlines and the public schools here in the US and done countless acts of good around the world! Now that you have set your sights on the public airwaves, I'm sure we will all have gigabit wireless within a few months.
    • Please. I'm sure the Mises family has made Emperor Franz Joseph I proud for ennobling their ancestor. Of course, Franzie is famous for, when someone suggested his army could use tanks (in WW!, where they sided with Germany), he said, "Absolutely not. The horses will be startled!".

      Mark
      • by Kafir ( 215091 ) <qaffir@hotmail.com> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:29PM (#13298009)
        Wait—you're attempting to discredit an entire line of political and economic analysis by quoting an unrelated statement made by the emperor of Austria early in the last century? And pointing to the abysmal judgement of a political leader (an emperor, at that), as an argument for the virtues of top-down government control?

        If only there were a "non-sequiturial, unintentionally ironic, ad hominem argument" moderation option.
    • It's worse than that... The FCC seems to have no spine with regards to Cable/DSL competition. Currently, it seems like the only practical way to have competition for home broadband service is for new smaller companies to enter the market, and for them to employ communications that don't require large up-front investments (eg. wireless). But I'm sure that big telco will figure out some way to dominate wireless too, lest their monopolies slip through their fingers...
      • DSL provided by a third party over the local phone monopoly's lines, while the local monopoly itself is selling the same service, is not competition. It would be no different for cable. All the monopoly has to do is price competitors out of the market, and provide exceptionally poor service to the competitors' customers, and they will be the only game in town. Competition among broadband providers will only happen when wireless internet is cheap and readily available. Each provider will have their own netw
        • DSL provided by a third party over the local phone monopoly's lines, while the local monopoly itself is selling the same service, is not competition.

          So that whole CLEC [wikipedia.org] thing that allows consumers to choose between various local/long-distance providers will never work?

          The biggest step is for government to realize that a natural monopoly [wikipedia.org] exists, and that they need to mandate the sharing of lines. To take one step further and mandate maximum lease prices isn't really a big step after that.

          Competition a

          • There's a reason why competition worked for long distance: local phone companies were not allowed to sell long distance. If they were, you would still be paying AT&T $0.50 per minute to call into the next county. The baby bells had no real reason to favor one provider over another. Currently in some markets, other phone companies have sprung up to provide bundled local and long distance service. This only works in areas big enough to allow for independent lines for the competing companies. When they tr
            • Ahhhh. Thank you for the clarification. Right, from 1984 to 1996, RBOCs weren't allowed to sell long distance service.

              So is such an arrangement possible with DSL or Cable Internet then? Separate companies into A) ones who invest in physical infrastructure and lease individual lines to other companes, and B) companies who compete for a reasonable lease price, and provide internet services to individual end-users? Or are there practical or political reasons why that won't work?

    • Too bad in each of those examples, government intervention has created most of the problems.

      good job.

      Pensions: Unions wrecked this system, it was a horrible idea to begin with
      South America: Free what? nothing is free there
      Airlines, public schools? All these are institutions the fed HEAVILY regulates
      • Ah, come on. Deregulation of the airlines has lead to MORE problems not less, and every private charter school I have ever heard about has been a total failure.

        As for South America, I was refering to Argentina's water privitization schemes: http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=10088 [corpwatch.org]

        and Chile's pension privitization schemes:
        http://www.nathannewman.org/log/archives/002107.sh tml [nathannewman.org]

        both of which failed miserably.

        Privatization is part of a self fulfilling worldview that rewards the greediest individuals and ac
        • I don't disagree privatization doesn't work, at all. Mainly it benefits the friends of those in power, neglecting those who could do the job better. It has always been that way and will continue to be so as long as the gov't has as much power.

          As far as the pension system, many would argue that they are bunk to begin with. we should be teaching people how to save and how to save wisely. it isn't that hard to retire rich, people don't understand the basics. putting all your eggs in one basket is the worst thi
      • Oh please...

        Please study history for 10 seconds. The reasons that 95% of all regulations exist are:

        1) Lack of rules/loopholes in the rules allowed greedy fucks to exploit the system in such a way that it created an unhealthy economic situation frequently causing wanton ruining of the average peon's life.

        2) A powerful corporation or person used their influence (read: money) to push through regulations to strengthen their own position.

        That's it, pal. They didn't sit there one day and decide, "Hey we need to
    • You'll have your gigabit wireless - and in the best of all free markets you will be able to use your recently-deregulated AK-47 for occasions when your neighbor's gigabit wireless interoperates with your own.

      Come to think of it my Wifi, microwave oven, cordless phone, and all my neighbors cheap-ass Chinese light dimmers and halogen lights all interoperate now - seamlessly!

    • > Free market, you're my hero

      Good comment, and it illustrates how many free-market ideologues succumb to oversimplification.

      I'm afraid the author of the article is missing a huge point. First, I'm not one to defend everything the FCC does, but a few, recent boneheaded ideas of censorship hardly call for the abolition of the agency.

      I guess the author is relishing in the seemingly huge number of new wireless technologies. WiFi! WiMAX! 3G! Furthermore, he seems to be trying to equate these new technologies
  • I can not think of one instance when the increase in bandwidth of various communications technologies lead to the end of the need for more increases in bandwidth.

    Technological innovations to increase bandwidth are always followed by other technological innovations to use that bandwidth.

    As a result periods of plenty will quickly be followed by periods of scarcity - and thus the FCC will need to intervene on behalf of the public.
  • by gorehog ( 534288 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:26PM (#13296776)
    The FCC might seem like it's putting itself out of business by deregulating some bandwidth but the nature of radio is that those frequencies are scarce. No matter how much digital encoding and adaptive technology that is used there will still be legit uses for wireless analog communications at high power. Therefore there will always be a need for some regulation of the wireless spectrum and a need for some governing body to decide what is allowed where and how much.

    Now, the question is, will the FCC become irrelevant. Well, if current governmental trends continue then no. The current feds will NOT give up their current moral valve that the FCC provides. The FCC may become absorbed by the FTC or the Dept of Homeland Defense, or it's responsibilites split between them but be sure that the government will not give up it's eminent domain over the radio spectrum because they want to control availability and content.

    Another thing to consider is all the other nations that have not given up their regulations over wireless communications. The brits still license TV recievers and most nations license their Ham Radio operators. The FCC will not disappear until there is no international need for them.

    So sez KC2MMW.

    73's
    • there will still be legit uses for wireless analog communications at high power

      True--I don't think a "Cook, damn you!" message would be nearly as compelling if my microwave sent it digitally...

      Mike

    • You still need some kind of regulation otherwise you'll get people just stepping on others. Some broadband company will open up and use a huge chunk of the spectrum at a very high power to offer service, stepping on other low power uses. You can have as crafty a digital encoding as you like, at some point it'll still get overwhelmed by interference.
  • No (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxrate ( 886773 )
    I'd say NO to 'putting it self out of business'. Althought amazing things have been done in license free bands - they are still license free bands.

    Odd things can happen, and if the application is mission critical, it will likely fail.

    The only reason we do things via the license free band is because of the fact, that it is, free.

    I bet for most of us, if we had to pay $$$ to use our own private wireless networks (licensing) the popularity would have never been as high as it is.

    For instance, FRS are relat

  • Censorship Police (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scottdunn ( 829552 )
    In the past, scarcity may have been a money maker for the FCC. These days I think they're in the censorship business.
  • by ZPO ( 465615 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:36PM (#13296888)
    I just finished reading the original article. It not only makes a few errors, but also makes connections and leaps that are invalid or unwarranted.

    Example:
    (DSS). These innovations were designed to increase security by eliminating potential eavesdropping (e.g. listening to your neighbors conversations) and to increase the effective range of the phone
    (e.g. spreading the transmission in 360-degrees so there were no dead spots).


    (Emphasis added) While DSS can do many wonderful things for your signal, "spreading the transmission in 360-degrees" isn't one of them.

    The best part (aside from the low service bills and never going over your allocated minutes) is that you have become independent to the State-planned and controlled grid.
    This is primarily due to the encryption algorithm (AES) included in Skype (and others) which are so advanced that it would take years for the numerous supercomputers at State agencies (e.g. FBI) to crack just one conversation you have throughout the day let alone the thousands you have each year.


    (emphasis added) AES voice encryption is a good thing. How will that be the primary factor allowing independence from the regulated terrestrial telco infrastructure?

    The overall message of the article is interesting, but it appears to wander throughout the technical communications landscape. Throwing in multiple buzzwords in close proximity does not mean it makes sense.

    Originally, the FCC was filled with engineers. Currently, the leadership of the FCC is dominated by lawyers. Until that trend reverses itself we shouldn't expect to see fundamental changes in spectrum licensing unless its ordered by congress.

    The FCC isn't going to regulate itself out of a job. Such a thing would be the antithesis of government. There will always be services that fall under the regulation of the FCC, and users who are not willing to expend the required brain-power to make something better work.

    Do some searches for "adapative radio" or "cognizant radio" and you'll find things which really could stand spectrum allocation on its head.

    • > The overall message of the article is interesting, but it appears
      > to wander throughout the technical communications
      > landscape. Throwing in multiple buzzwords in close proximity
      > does not mean it makes sense.

      Agreed. To me, the article felt like the product of a spam-generator fed by Newton's Telecom Dictionary [amazon.com].

      While I was reading the article, I kept being distracted by thoughts of "what do these two topics have to do with each other?" and "what is he talking about?" For example,

      > spreading
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:37PM (#13296895) Homepage
    [IPv6] allows for a dedicated IP address to be assigned to nearly every grain of sand on this planet (and then some).


    Oh, I see... there are fewer IPv6 addresses than grains of sand, except there are more. WTF?

    • Clearly the writer was hired after answering one of those late-night TV ads promising he could "earn up to $1,000 a day, or more!" Which I suppose is truth in advertising: it's safe to assume that if you answer the ad you'll earn some amount of money that's less than, equal to, or greater than $1000.
  • by GlL ( 618007 ) <gil@[ ]-venture.com ['net' in gap]> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:39PM (#13296917)
    So far it looks like the FCC's current regulation of radio frequencies is: 1) Make it impossible for small radio stations to exist on the FM band. 2) Make it easy for Mega-conglomerates to control all broadcasts on the FM band. 3) See above rules and swap FM for whatever band you are talking about. The reality is a pretty grim one. The FCC hasn't opened the small footprint radio station applications in many years, so smaller voices are not being given the opportunity to speak. I do not however think that the FCC should be shut down. The FCC needs to be about seeing that access to means of communication is not monopolized by a few commercial interests. What the FCC, and their "sponsors" don't seem to understand is that competition really is good for everybody.
  • Are you nuts? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Do you really think scarcity is going away by assigning a couple megahertz to unlicensed use? Have you ever tried using Wifi in a densely populated area? 12 access points in one spot? Plus Bluetooth, video bridges and microwave ovens? Scarcity is right then and there. Also, longhaul connections are pretty much unavailable due to power limits, which can't be raised by much for unlicensed bands without risking health problems and interference with mission critical (licensed) applications.

    If there were no shor
  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @02:53PM (#13297074)
    Seriously, it's a bad article that is not well thought out.

    Considering if I pick up my 2.4Ghz telephone to take a call, it completely whacks out my 802.11 wireless internet signal... It doesn't seem at all clear to me that scarcity of the frequency was created by the FCC. Rather it was the FCC which was created to manage the already existing reality.

    Now it's true that the FCC has gone beyond the boundaries of what otherwise rationale people would consider prudent. But that's not the focal point of this article.
    • The ISM bands (Industrial-Scientific-Medical, blocks of frequencies in which the FCC does not require each transmitter to be licensed) were created to allow low-power telemetry-like radio systems for commercial use. The idea was that they would be limited to very low power and would likely be physically seperated by a long distance and so interference would be minimized. The FCC says that in these bands, if there is interference, it's your own problem: you cannot complain to anyone -- we gave up micromanag
      • My point was... without the FCC... If I started using 90Mhz for something... someone else could come along and use 90Mhz for something else. Becuase the devices would interfere, one or the other of us would boost our broadcast power to overwhelm the other one.

        It's the spectrum which is scarce.

        The ISM bands were created to allow innovation for these personal devices, and it's really quite cool and nice. I think the FCC did the right thing here.

        The argument thought that because of these ISM bands, we ought
    • The author seems to have a decent grasp on the effects of technological innovation on the market, but he has no grasp of the structure of the market itself. Without centralized artificial restrictions on spectrum usage, the military, commercial radio, emergency services and hobbyists would all have had to wait until radio's tools caught up to make use of it. At the time of the establishment of the FCC, radio much less useful without artifically defining spectrum usage. The barrier to entry would have been t
  • The long term goal of the FCC (and any branch of government)should be to drive themselves out of business as much as possible, if not avoid getting involved in the first place.

    One purpose of the FCC is to allocate the radio spectrum to ensure effective communication.

    Allowing freedom for the widespread adoption of new technology while ensuring current systems can remain in place is a balancing act.
    They seem to have been doing a pretty good job so far. I doubt it will come, assume the FCC is successful and th
  • haha, a few hundred MHz of the entire regulated radio spectrum (0 to near 1,000,000 MHz) being "open",, hardly means the fcc is going out of business any time soon.
  • by Zackbass ( 457384 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @03:03PM (#13297172)
    You know the sticker about harmful interference on nearly every piece of electronic equipment you own? I doubt that the problems of interference, either purposeful not, are going to go away any time soon.

    What happens when someone starts manufacturing some great device that belches out RFI all over your precious WiFi? How about the neighbor with a high power amplifier that screws up all your phones? When Verizon decides that Nextel's phones should be jammed? The new one mile range AP that just happens to cause burns if you stand near it?
  • I liked the article until the part of incorporating the technology into fricking cellphones. That makes no sense to me.

    We need a public movement to start an cheap,'open' xmax/wimax network for low cost rate($5) portable phones.
  • It's basically low powered wifi over a modulated(fm) type signal.

    http://www.techworld.com/mobility/features/index.c fm?RSS&FeatureID=1570 [techworld.com]

    If I am wrong then tell me why.
  • The claim made by this obscure "institute" (really just a few people with a few dollars and a website) are simply insane. Spectrum is still scarce, and a few mhz of unlicenced (but still regulated) spectrum isn't going to turn into a huge data pipe just because of The Free Market.

    It seems like libertarians have a fanatical belief in the powers of free markets. Free markets will solve all problems! It reminds me of all the marijuana extremists who claim that legalizing marijuana will cure all ills (includ
  • Who wrote this?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @03:35PM (#13297478) Homepage

    I hope Mr. Swanson doesn't consider himself an RF Engineer - quotes like this one are laughable:
    "These innovations [DSS] were designed to ... increase the effective range of the phone (e.g. spreading the transmission in 360-degrees so there were no dead spots)"
    The following quote is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start.
    Not only does it transmit a theoretical 30 Mbps over a distance of 15 miles, but it also uses a sparing 1 watt of power (e.g. 30 watts for WiMax). And because of its unique energy-saving modulation technique its power-footprint is essentially undetectable and therefore the FCC is unable to regulate it (unless of course, they rewrite their own rules).
    1. I'll wait for the actual 30Mbps, theoretical Mbps's are useless to me.
    2. Is that 1 Watt of power transmitting that theoretical 30Mbps EIRP, or the power at the transmitter? What antennas are specified? 1 Watt into a 30 dBi antenna is the same as 1 kW into a 0 dBi antenna.
    3. Excuse me? The FCC can't detect it? Huh? Even with 'normal' DSS, it's detectable. If your 'power-footprint' is so impressive, how can your receivers detect it?
    4. The FCC can't regulate it? Double huh? If it's between 9 kHz and 300 GHz, it's already regulated. It may not require a license, but it is regulated.
    What a joke. Reminds me of the super-efficient modulation method VMSK debunked [ka9q.net] by Uber Nerd Phil Karn [ka9q.net], KA9Q [qrz.com].
  • The main purpose of a bureaucracy is to keep themselves in existance by making the problem they were trying to solve worse.

    For a better example, see the War on Drugs.
  • I was able to read as far as this paragraph:

    1994 the market brought forth the evolution of the digital phone era which was then quickly followed up in 1995 with digital spread spectrum (DSS). These innovations were designed to increase security by eliminating potential eavesdropping (e.g. listening to your neighbors conversations) and to increase the effective range of the phone (e.g. spreading the transmission in 360-degrees so there were no dead spots). And finally, in 1998 the FCC opened up the frequ

  • by dh003i ( 203189 ) <dh003iNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:28PM (#13298005) Homepage Journal

    Although some of the comments here have been intelligent and made with understanding of economics, many of them have been socialist and interventionist nonsense. Hence, I'd like to offer a broad, but brief, response.

    The argument by many here seems to run something like the following: The spectrum is scarce, relative to the demand for it; therefore, the government should regulate it. This is simply nonsense. It is precisely when things are scarce that we most need private property rights in them. How would these rights be acquired? By homesteading the relevant portion of the spectrum. Of course, what constitutes "homesteading" a certain frequency is a continuum problem -- clearly, simply spewing out junk on it doesn't constitute homesteading it. One has to actually be making a real use of it.

    In a For a New Liberty [mises.org] , Murray N. Rothbard [mises.org], argued that we don't need State-intervention in the spectrum. See Personal Liberty: Freedom of Radio and Television [mises.org] . Contrary to the commonly held but mistaken view, there was not chaos in the spectrum before the FCC was created to intervene in it. Instead, things were working quite efficiently as courts recognized private property rights in spectrum homesteaded by different individuals. As Rothbard states, the belief that there was chaos prior to State-regulation of the spectrum is

    historical legend, not fact. The actual history is precisely the opposite. For when interference on the same channel began to occur, the injured party took the airwave aggressors into court, and the courts were beginning to bring order out of the chaos by very successfully applying the common law theory of property rights--in very many ways similar to the libertarian theory--to this new technological area. In short, the courts were beginning to assign property rights in the airwaves to their "homesteading" users. It was after the federal government saw the likelihood of this new extension of private property that it rushed in to nationalize the airwaves, using alleged chaos as the excuse.

    As B.K. Marcus has noted [mises.org], this account is supported by the memoirs of Herbert Hoover, who noted that One of our troubles in getting legislation [to nationalize the airwaves] was the very success of the voluntary system we had created. I would highly recommend reading the historical overview of the spectrum given by Marcus. Marcus argues that, in order to get support for legislation regulating the spectrum, Hoover purposefully created spectrum-socialism, granting licenses to all applications, free of price or restriction. This, of course, creates a tragedy of the commons.

    What we need isn't regulation of the spectrum. Rather, we need deregulation and privatization (via homesteading) of the spectrum. Common law is perfectly capable of applying existing property-rights conventions to the spectrum, including accounting for interference (which would be analagous to building a mineshaft 2 feet under someone elses' house, hence causing it to collapse).

  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:51PM (#13298224)
    I'm a little bit confused by the story leader. It doesn't appear to be a coherent sentence. I presume it means that the FCC should allow those bands to be used by unregulated transmitters.

    It is true that if all players work on a common form of time-division multiplexing that the number of transmitters can scale very widely, but there is nothing magical about these bands (other than them being wide -- much wider than, say, AM or FM broadcast bands). Transmitters will interfere with one another. Poorly designed or built transmitters will radiate out of band. Intermodulation will occur, causing out of band interference.

    The FCC may or may not be the best regulator, but someone has to resolve the disputes, and I guess I'd rather it was through regulation than through lawsuits (which would happen in the absence of regulation, I guarantee it).

"I say we take off; nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." - Corporal Hicks, in "Aliens"

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