Category Archives: Public Safety

700Mhz and Competition

markey.jpg Positions on future uses of the 700Mhz spectrum formerly occupied by analog TV aren’t just for presidential candidates anymore. Congress is hearing arguments:
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the subcommittee that handles telecommunications and Internet issues, urged the FCC to “seize this opportunity to create an open-access opportunity for wireless service in this auction.” He added that wireless carriers are “exerting far too much control over the features, functions and applications that wireless gadget makers and content entrepreneurs can offer directly to consumers.”

FCC Auction Should Allow for Open Wireless Network, Say Lawmakers, By Kim Hart, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, July 12, 2007; Page D08

Some search, VoIP, and computer companies say auctioning off some of that spectrum with open access requirements would promote competition, while telcos claim it would hurt their investments, stifle competition, and reduce revenues to the government from the auction. I think it may well reduce direct government auction revenues, but the economic benefits of real competition should be worth it. You’d think the nominally free market supporting telcos would agree with that. Continue reading

e911 vs. Net Neutrality

bob_cringely.jpg I don’t usually blog the same article twice, but Cringely said something else important (the all-caps emphases are his):
Now let’s look at this in the context of net neutrality. For the cable companies, at least, it probably doesn’t matter. That’s because while cable Internet service and cable VoIP service both use the CMTS, it is easy for the cable company to configure its VoIP product as completely separate from its Internet product. IF YOUR CABLE OPERATOR WILL SELL YOU VOIP SERVICE WITHOUT INTERNET SERVICE, THEN NET NEUTRALITY DOES NOT APPLY.

If excess Internet traffic causes problems for the VoIP services of these cable companies, they can prioritize their own VoIP packets with impunity because VoIP isn’t defined as an Internet service. And for that very reason, packet prioritization can — and will — occur even if the broadband ISP has signed an agreement promising net neutrality.

The next level of this ploy is to validate the un-Internetiness of the VoIP system through public service interconnects like 911. “Should calling the police get priority treatment?” will be the question and most courts won’t say “no.”

Beyond Net Neutrality: If at first you don’t succeed, change the game. Robert X. Cringely, I, Cringely, April 6, 2007

The various VoIP companies better be worried about this trick, because it’s all the incumbent duopoly really needs to say their own VoIP is an essential public service and any others are interfering with public safety. Continue reading

Presidential Spectrum

John Edwards A presidential candidate sends a letter to the FCC about reallocating 700Mhz spectrum currently used by analog TV:
In recent years, the Internet has grown to touch everything and transform much of what it touches. It’s not the answer to everything, but it can powerfully accelerate the best of America. It improves our democracy by making quiet voices loud, improves our economy by making small markets big, and improves opportunity by making unlikely dreams possible.

Edwards Calls On FCC To Make Internet More Available And Affordable, John Edwards ’08, 30 May 2007

The letter goes on to propose sensible concrete actions. So not only is this letter remarkable in that a presidential candidate sent it, but also that what he writes makes sense.


PS: Seen on Art Brodsky.

Fire Participation

Now here’s an interesting use of the web:
InciWeb is an interagency wildland fire incident information management system. The system was developed with two primary missions: The first was to provide a standardized reporting tool for the Public Affairs community during the course of wildland fire incidents. The second was to provide the public a single source of information related to active wildland fire information.

A number of supporting systems automate the delivery of incident information to remote sources. This ensures that the information on active wildland fire is consistent, and the delivery is timely.

About InciWeb, Accessed 13 May 2007

The small map is for the Bugaboo fire that started near Waycross Georgia and burned more than 300,000 acres through the Okefenokee swamp into Florida, as of 12 May 2007, with two interstates closed (I-10 and I-75). Sure you can read about it on CNN and other mass media; when they realized much of Florida was closed, they picked up on the story. Continue reading

FCC and Wireless Broadband

As we’ve seen, the FCC is trying to decide what to do with some 700Mhz commercial spectrum. Now we hear that:
The upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 700MHz band presents an opportunity for wireless technology to be a third broadband pipe beyond just DSL and cable Internet, Martin said.

&mdash FCC chairman champions wireless broadband access, Upcoming spectrum auction viewed as opportunity, By Paul Krill, InfoWorld, May 03, 2007

FCC Chair Kevin Martin said this at Microsoft offices in Mountain View, CA. One has to wonder why he’s announcing a purported competition measure at the offices of the world’s most famous monopoly. But nevermind that. Continue reading

Copa, Pew, and Parents

The 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA) has bounced back and forth between lower courts and the Supreme Court ever since it was passed, until a permanent injunction was ruled by Judge Lowell Reed of the U.S. District Court for Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on 22 March. This case had already been through the Supreme Court, in 2004:
The big split in the most recent Supreme Court COPA decision is between Kennedy and Breyer, with Kennedy saying that there are plenty of choices of relatively-effective (and certainly less-restrictive) filtering tools out there for parents to use, and Breyer essentially saying that parents are helpless so mandated shields of various kinds should be put in place to protect kids. It turns out that, in fact, parents are knowledgeable and are giving advice to their children about what to do online.

Pew on teenage online social networking practices, by Susan Crawford, Susan Crawford blog, Thu 19 Apr 2007 06:43 PM EDT

It turns out because the Pew Internet and American Life Project did a study on Teens, Privacy, & Online Social Networks, in which they asked things like whether teens hold back information from their online profiles and how much their parents know about what they’re doing. That, plus what Judge Reed had already determined, which is that there are pretty effective software screening products available that parents can use if they want to.

Yes, even children benefit from open participation through the Internet. Perhaps parents could learn from their children, too.


700Mhz for Public Safety and Wireless Broadband

At Freedom to Connect, Reed Hundt mentioned that his current company, FrontLine Wireless, was making a proposal to the FCC; it was released yesterday:
The plan would enable the FCC to simultaneously advance public safety goals and speed broadband wireless access for all Americans — especially those living in rural areas — all goals to which the FCC has demonstrated a steadfast commitment.
The idea is to license some 700Mhz commercial spectrum for a commercial wireless network, provided that the licensee simultaneously support public safety communications. Continue reading