Act now! Congress wants to kill WiFi-like spectrum, sell it off to highest bidder instead

Harold Feld from Public Knowledge sez, "Republicans have proposed forbidding the FCC from allocating any more 'unlicensed' spectrum for WiFi and other uses unless they give wireless companies the opportunity to buy exclusive licenses first. This would effectively mean the end of open spectrum, cutting off investment in the TV white spaces/'Super WiFi.' Public Knowledge has issued an Action Alert, asking those who care about the future of open spectrum and wireless competition to sign up to call their member of Congress on Friday, July 22 and tell them that America needs more unlicensed spectrum that everyone can use -- not just the big wireless companies that can spend billions on licensed spectrum."
Don't think it's worth the trade-off (less unlicensed spectrum and less wireless innovation for very little benefit to either the public or the government's bottom line)? Call your Member of Congress!

We're making this as easy as possible by setting up a day of action this Friday, July 22. To participate, all you need is a mobile phone with the ability to send and receive SMS messages.* If you haven't already signed up for PK Mobile Action Alerts, take a moment to do so now. We'll contact you on Friday with instructions on how to take action.

Don't Let Fox, AT&T and Verizon Buy Their Way Out of Regulation (Thanks, Harold!)


  1. I hope you guys are enjoying your land of the free*

    *Subject to terms, conditions and whoever has the deepest pocket

  2. Where would we be without open spectrum for CB radio, (different slice) for WiFi, baby monitors, Bluetooth, garage door openers, etc.?

    The next big slice, and it’s a sweet slice too, is that which used to be occupied by analog terrestrial television transmission.

    Don’t let that one go to the highest bidder!
    It’s EVERYONE’s spectrum.

    Call! Call! Call!

  3. Republicans… nobody does corporatist lackey better. They truly despise the general public. At least the Democrats can be coerced to work with us on some occasions. Republicans are simply an outright enemy of the people. Disgusting.

    1. Yes, it’s rather ironic that the Repblican leadership, vaulting into power on the backs of the tea party movement, who by and large (for better or for worse) want to hold the GOP to its stated principles…returned the favor by gerrymandering away most of the districts of the more outspoken tea party freshmen.

      There is a word for the Republican party, and that word is fascist. This is a great example of this – the state claiming dominion over something that NO ONE in fact now owns, and them claiming the right to ‘sell’ it to their crooked corporate buddies for a song. It’s awful.

      The democrats have been in the past bumbling socialists, which is dangerous itself because it can open the door for corporate power grabs later on..but due to the latent fascism of America, the Republicans have been so successful, the democrats are forgetting anything like that, and simply embracing ‘fascism lite.’

      It’s a sad state of affairs, and these bastards are firing on 1,000 cannons. A great place to start, to reject laws like this…

  4. As a big spectrum advocate, I refuse to pay the redonksauce rates charged for the tiny blips of airtime that are SMS messages. Any way to help without using them?

  5. And, on a closely related note, our GPS signals (paid for by taxpayers) may be degraded to benefit the investments of hedge fund manager Phil Falcone.

    It seems he wants the FCC to allow his company, LightSquared, to establish a national wireless network right alongside the spectrum used by the GPS system, at a fraction of the cost that would be required for his competitor’s systems (who must put up their own satellite infrastructure, not just the ground based part). There’s apparently only one catch: the FCC research says

    “that all phases of the LightSquared deployment plan will result in widespread harmful interference to GPS signals and service and that mitigation is not possible.”

    The signals would be degraded within range of cell towers- in just the areas, near shore, near ground and in urban centers, where it’s most important for them to be accurate.
    Nonetheless, the FCC has fast tracked this system for approval, pretty much ignoring concerns from aviation, marine, the Coast Guard, scientists, and GPS manufacturers.

    Why? According to the National Legal and Policy Center, there have been

    “a series of odd procedural decisions at an independent regulatory agency — the Federal Communications Commission — that appear to have been undertaken solely for the financial benefit of one individual.”

    This one individual who, after being a long term GOP supporter, is suddenly contributing to the max (along with his wife and associates) to Democratic candidates and orginizations, and who hired a lobbyist who happens to be married to a senior FCC staffer. See for a description of how crony capitalism works. And it apparently works quite well for those who can afford to buy the government decisions they want.

    Public comments open till July 30th. Write your representatives as noted above.

    1. i have been following this. every time i see it, i recall the saying of “a fool and his money are soon departed”. there is no way this is going to happen, especially with the military against it as well as it being a topic of congress. recent testing in nevada showed significant interference.

      i recall the fcc’s reasoning was to allow competition for a true 4g network (not supposedly 4g as we have now). lightsquared was to set up the network and act as wholesaler for any store to sell 4g as their own service. also, this was used as the justification from att for their takeover that there was competition and not a monopoly in play (still being contested).
      he should have purchased dbsd and tstr, now echostar (dish network) has that, which begs one to wonder if dish is entering the 4g arena.

      regardless, i wonder what falcone has as a plan “b”.
      is he still going to go ahead with the filters?
      what if the filters fail at anytime down the road–no gps for that area i suppose.

  6. Perhaps framing this as as a REGULATION ISSUE might work better:
    Licensed spectrum = regulation
    Unlicenced spectrum = deregulation

    All the big boys (big boys = corporations) are always complaining about regulation and agitating for less governance (governance = regulation = law).

  7. Wow. And you LIVE there? wtf guys.
    I’m thinking that maybe some sort of hidden meta-nation might be appropriate at this juncture.

  8. isn’t the problem that companies have already purchased spectrum, but sat on it for years impeding the buildout of an actual 4g network? now the fcc wants to auction more spectrum for companies to tuck away?

  9. Republicans can go to Hell. Airwaves DO NOT belong to any one person; that’s why they’re call PUBLIC AIRWAVES! And I am dead set against giving any industry — especially the cellular industry that gouge us to use it — the right to buy public airwaves before anyone else has a chance to even bid on it.

  10. I believe that these are the same people who can say “free markets” and “exclusive use” with no apparent sense of irony and smiles on their faces. And they can get poor people to vote them into power.
    Does the Guinness book of records have entries for hypocrisy?

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