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United States

White House Wants 3G Bandwidth 74

MikeD--NULL writes "President Clinton urges the departments of commerce and defense to identify spectrum suitable for upcoming 3rd generation wireless technology. The 700MHz freed from TV's transition to digital appears to be insufficient. This along with the any new found spectrum will be auctioned off on March 6, 2001. Better start saving now."
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White House Wants 3G Bandwidth

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  • Actually, the title is really not confusing at all, assuming you follow wireless at all. :) I work with advanced wireless stuff, and these terms (1G, 2G, 3G, etc) are tossed around all the time. They're really marketting terms, BUT... eh. :) IIRC, 1G was based on AMPS, the initial wireless architecture, 2G, which fragmented the wireless market in the states, is what we have now, using CDMA, TDMA, and GSM, and 3G involves CDMA2000 (WCDMA). Basically, 3G involves an evolution from circuit switched technologies to packet-based transport, and a switch of focus from voice to voice and data transport, and a large increase in available bandwidth for wireless devices.

    Besides, 3 gigs would be written 3 Gb... or 3 Gbps. :)

  • Correction well noted.


    By DOD Lobbiests, I mean the military-industrial companies that want to sell very expensive equipement with very high margins to the DOD instead of low margin (relatively) commercial/industrial goods.


    Any way this works, we still don't win. Has anyone a URL on 'lease' lengths?

  • rofl. I was thinking the same thing! (as I'm sure many people were). "What the hell does the Whitehouse need that much bandwidth for?? Streaming porn? Videoconferences with interns?"
  • It might be a good idea to adopt the new UMTS standard from the GSM group, and while they're at it, the DAB digital radio standard, also the DVB digital tv standard, but these are royalty free technologies from Europe, which means no royalties for US companies and a shed load of jingoism/politics. Oh well.

    These are not royalty free technologies. They all require the licensing of patents.

    GSM is obsolete and inferior to CDMA. DAB is a failure. DVB-T is the only technology listed that would be good for the USA. Unfortunately, the FCC still believes that ATSC (8-VSB) can be made to work, even though everyone else has jumped ship.

  • According to the Radio Act of 1934, which created the FCC, frequency allocations are not property and neither the FCC or licensees own them. Therefore, these auctions are illegal.

    Except that the Congress passed some laws in the '90s explicitly authorizing auctions of spectrum by the FCC. So unless the Radio Act became a part of the Constitution while nobody was looking, they are absolutely legal.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • UMTS is an evolution of GSM, but the radio link technology may be either Time Division Duplex or Frequency Division Duplex. Most systems in planning, including NTT DoCoMo's version (which is scheduled to go online spring next year), use Wideband Code Division Mutiplexing Access or W-CDMA for the radio link. Obviously, W-CDMA is a CDMA technology. However, most implemntations currently strive to avoid Qualcomm's intellectual property.

    Furthermore, GSM is much further ahead in implementing so called 2.5 Generation technologies, examples being EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution) and GPRS(General Packet Radio Service).

    The actual standards and specifications can be found at the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project)website (http://www.3gpp.org). 3GPP, a consortion of several large telecommunications bodies has also been given stewardship of GSM.

    In any case, most of the major American equipment manufacturers are involved in UMTS- Lucent, Nortel (yes, I know they're Canadian), Motorola, etc.

  • In an auction, those who have the most money can gain control of precious spectrum, but not necessarily put it to the best use. Arraycomm (www.arraycomm.com) claims it can deliver 40 times as much bandwidth for a given band of spectrum as 3rd generation products.

    Assuming arraycomm is willing to sell their technology for something under about 40 times the cost of the bandwidth, I don't see why the winners of the bandwidth auction wouldn't also buy arraycomm's technology. Unless of corse arraycomm's technology turns out to be a sham. Or works, but is extreamly costly to deply. Or works in the lab, but is screwed by some real life effects (multipath reflection, flying birds, tastyness of equiptment to crawly things). Or someone else doesn't come up with something better.

    If the ability to serve 20 milion households is worth $2b, the ability to serve 400 million is surely worth much more.

  • I see your point here, there's a lot of room for corrupt or some under the table deal. My point was though, the licenses shouldn't purely go the basis of money, if a hybrid approach was adopted then the government would get its money and also ensure the company is making good investment in the local economy and uni's, then it would be a much fairer system.
  • This is old, so no one will likely read this, and not to be redundant, but...

    The spectrum is referring to the Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum of the electromagnetic spectrum, by which we propagate our transmissions. The FCC sells certain sections of the EM spectrum to certain utilizations: for instance, the 10m wavelength of radio frequency transmission is used by amateur radio operators.

  • Amateaur Radio Bands will be hit first

    Don't worry. All those amateaur bands in the radio can just post their music on Napster...

    Oh wait! I get it now... :)


    --
    Neafevoc

  • lim (2^-x seconds)
    x->[infinity]
  • The 'beauty contest' concept of allotting licenses is actually much better than buying your way in, the Nordic nations go for the beauty contest approach, where each company is asked how many jobs their company will generate, what investment the company will put into local universities, the cost of the end product, etc.

    When you have cellular companies throwing ridiculous amounts of cash to the government for licenses, who you think ends up paying the bill? The consumer of course, so the auctions are just an indirect form of tax.

    The cellular companies over here spend $35 Billion to get their licenses, this means they've gotta charge the consumer extortionate amounts of money to get a return on investment, the companies themselves have just thrown themselves into huge amounts of debt without really knowing the uptake of 3G services, while the government is sitting pretty with its huge wad of cash.
  • For a while, I thought that Slashdot was going over a makeover, where all the body text of the front page would be italicized. It could be worse, they could've forgotten to close an A HREF tag; then the entire page would've been one big hyperlink!
  • How about the FCC mandating that we abandon all of these different incompatible systems and adopt a single standard cellular phone system like Europe has (maybe even using the same technology.. I know regular travelers to Europe would love to have just one phone). Get rid of the mish-mash of competing standards and you'll probably free up tons of bandwidth.
  • by bokane ( 36382 ) on Saturday October 14, 2000 @06:24AM (#706150) Homepage Journal
    Hell, I want 3 gigs of bandwidth, too. Who doesn't?

  • Umm.. the FCC is not breaking the law. The Supreme Court ruled that the air waves are a natural resource, and therefore the government has an interest in protecting them from complete exploitation. To accomplish this, and to prevent people from just stealing and hijacking frequencies, the FCC distributes rights to certain bands.

    Now I am sorry about HAM, i used to love it, I grew up watching my Dad and older brothers tinker. But you said it yourself.. the main goal is that it has outlived its usefullness. So should a very small portion of the public have exclusive access to the bandwidth (ala Ham) or shoud the larger public at least have a chance to enjoy that bandwidth from commerical use (ala Sprint, AT&T, MCI, etc)?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Spectrum should be allocated on the basis of technical merit, not auctions. In an auction, those who have the most money can gain control of precious spectrum, but not necessarily put it to the best use. Arraycomm (www.arraycomm.com) claims it can deliver 40 times as much bandwidth for a given band of spectrum as 3rd generation products. Perhaps the Time Domain technology mentioned in a previous post deserves its share of spectrum. If the spectrum is already controlled by some entity that uses less efficient technology, the government should buy it back, and _give_ it to the entity that can put it to the most efficient use. A qualification could be imposed so the spectrum would only be re-allocated if an entity has a technology yielding a tenfold improvement in bandwidth compared to existing technologies. The entity given the spectrum also has to contract to develop it in a timely fashion, and to sell it at a reasonable cost.
  • Spectrum = the RF spectrum, so when part of the specrum is released from old 1G phone networks or old anologue tv or fm stations, it will be auctioned off by the government for huge amounts of cash.

    defense to identify spectrum suitable, this probably just means the celluar companies are probably looking for a suitable high frequency allotment of the specrum since they'd be able to carry more data.
  • You claim the supreme court ruled the airwaves were a natural resource? using the law search engine at caselaw.findlaw.com, I can find no case that says this. DO you have the case number, or any information about it, that may help in this search?

    In any case, you have completely misunderstood what I have said. Licenses in the past have not been franchises or concessions. The purpose of the FCC was not to enrich the government, it is to facilitate communications for the common good. The application of fees is designed to put some of the financial burden of the FCC's investigation of the claims of the public good served by a license applicant upon the applicant themselves. This had a secondary purpose of helping to prevent frivolous applications, and frequency hoarding. The natural progress of bureacracy, it seems, is towards greater complexity but decreasing efficiency, and license fees and processes created a significant burden for legitimate users. Several attempts at reform have been variously successful.

    Evidently some person who thought themselves really clever in inventing a capitalist (note: NOT free market) scheme for frequency allocation that would enrich the goverenment instead of costing it money in bureacratic costs. This is how the spectrum auctions were born. The precedent set with these auctions is very harmful to private and public good for all but a few of the very largest corporations.

    I wonder if anyone has heard of a man named Ivar Kreuger, who was known in the 1920's as 'The Swedish Match King'. Kreuger would lend money to unethical or desperate rulers or many counries, on the condition that he be given a complete monopoly on the production and sale of matches. This made Krueger an economic wunderkind of that naieve era. However, his empire later crashed and burned, possibly as a consequence of the great 1929 crash but also possibly because a country with such a tax, devistating to the poor, impoverished the country to the point where loans could no be repaid.

    This is an example of a Concession, or franchise. That is, the government deprives its citizens/vassals of a right, in exchange for some benefit that it gains. Another example is the British East India Company, who was given an exclusive right for trade with the East Indies in exchange for a large sum paid to the Crown. The crown, and the Company, were enriched to the detriment of the English people and to the near complete destruction of the East Indies.

    A student of history should come to the conclusion that a government must be very careful when giving concessions/franchises to companies. An ethical government will not sell out its citizens rights for simple 30 pieces of silver. When Vail's AT&T was given certain rights of monopoly in the US, it was a carefully considered bargain that served to expand and rationalize the telephone system. However, this concession was greedily defended long after it had outlived its usefulness, and its influences are still being felt today, 17 years after the Bell System breakup.

    Another example of a concession that has been successful in some ways but is becoming completely out of control is the patent system. In exchange for complete description of an invention, the government grants the rights of exclusive rights to profit from that invention for a limited period of time. The inventor is enriched to a reasonable degree based upon the market value of the invention, while the public is let in on the secret of how it works. It is, in theory, a fair trade, though one can say that the devil is in the details.

    What will happen to these frequency sales? I don't see how they serve the public good in any way besides lining the pockets of the government which is selling things that are not its to sell.

  • The costs of putting a network in place to support wireless is way too high for anybody to jump in knowing they could have the license janked out from underneath them! This is an interesting idea, and I wouldn't be surprised if some FCC folks have suggested it. But I'm sure the telecom folks started throwing lobbying money at it quicker than I can.....shoot off a Score 1 post on /.!
  • ...and only averages 80K/sec. What else is new?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hey March 6th is my Mom's birthday! Maybe I'll get her a frequency spectrum for her birthday! OH YEAH!

    "Mom, can I borrow the frequency spectrum tonight? I've got a hot date."
  • Okay, so you use discrete pulses of signal to transmit the information. At first, there's not that much traffic so you can send pulses once every second. Then your traffic doubles so you start sending packets once ever half second. Then you send ever 0.25 seconds. Then 0.125 seconds, 0.0625, 0.03125, 0.015625, etc. etc. etc.

    At what point do you begin sending pulses so frequently that you are effectively transmitting continuously?
  • There are two groups of standards being set up for 3rd Generation wireless. The first standard-type is UMTS/WCDMA, which is based primarily on GSM technology. The second standard- type is cdma2000, which is based on CDMA (Qualcomm, IS95) technology.

    Japan's DoCoMo (I wish we had their I-Mode technology in the US) is set to deploy their WCDMA technology next spring, with a full rollout a few months later. In fact, NEC and Fujitsu have delivered equipment, and are already scheduled to go into production.

    European trials of UMTS/WCDMA are scheduled for a year later.

  • In this case, Denmark is dropping the 'beauty contest' criteria, and opts for an auctioning of the bandwith. And as a danish citizen, I think this is a very good idea, since the spectrum, after all, belongs to the public, and since the buyers of the spectrum slices are going to make _a lot of money_.

    It really makes me laugh, when the telco's starts telling sob stories, on how cruel and unfair, such an auctioning system is, and how they only wants the spectrum to serve the public good, etc. I really understand them, when try to get the spectrum for free, but why should they?

    Of course are they going to pass the bill to the consumers. But competition ensures, that the price of service, stays within the limits of what the consumers want's to pay. And only those citizens, who actually uses and benefits of the spectrum, will pay, whether _all_ citizens gain the benefit from the auction, which I think is a fair deal.

    There is one other thing, that I like with the auctioning system; and that is, that it is a transparant system for everybody; The public gets to know exactly what they got, for their commen property, instead of a murky kludge of semi political deals, and overhead of controlling those deals. And the companies are free to do their investments and R&D, where they think they get the best deals, instead of where forced to do it, because of political deals.
    There is a fortune to be made in the wireless marked, and thats why the telcos pay so comparativly much money.

  • How about the FCC mandating that we abandon all of these different incompatible systems and adopt a single standard cellular phone system like Europe has

    I don't think that this is a good idea. It's kinda analogous to saying "We should all abandon all Operating Systems except Windows, so that software will run on all machines." I personally think that competition is good for *most* industries, and the cell phone industry is no exception. When two standards are competing, they will try & provide us with the services *we* want the most.

    Get rid of the mish-mash of competing standards and you'll probably free up tons of bandwidth.

    This is *totally* true. When you have two types of cells (such as CDMA->GSM) in a close frequency range, you need about 270KHz to seperate them (on both sides, for a total of just over .5MHz) That can really kill the bandwidth of a system. (FYI, CDMA->CDMA or GSM->GSM doesn't neccessarly need those barriers, except some service providers use them anyways)
  • That'll never happen for a lot of reasons, probably the most obvious of which should be that not every household in the US is served by a cable operator. So, in addition to free cable for everyone who is within an area served by cable, free DBS to all the farmers (well, and others in rural areas not served by cable)?
  • A useless comment: 3 karma points.
    A redundant post like this one: -1 karma point.
    A couple of hits from the old crack pipe: 0 karma points.
    An AC that actually has a point: priceless.

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

  • Bill Clinton want's more bandwith?
    We all know he's just going to use it to download more porn...
    Rock 'n Roll, Not Pop 'n Soul
  • Good. The Economist [economist.com] had a piece recently discussing bandwidth auctions - provided they don't turn into beauty contests, they are the best method for allocating resources.

    Let the free market decide!

  • by DFX ( 135473 )
    victim of my own stupidity.. i mean
    echo "</i>" >> story
  • Maybe he wants to switch to online interns?

    Sorry, cheap shot, couldn't resist.

  • You appear to be operating under the delusion that the government (at least the current one....)
    has any interest in 'ensuring the public good', as opposed to, oh say lining the pockets of
    companies that they hope will pay them big fat speakers fees as soon as they leave office

  • With all the government largesse when it comes to selling off the public airwaves, why not lease the frequencies to those businesses that want to use them? Then hold the companies accountable for ensuring the public good is served. Sort of like the theory that TV and radio stations can have their licences revoked for not serving the public good.

    Wouldn't the government then have a consistent source of income rather than a once off payment?
  • Have you guys seen what Time Domain [time-domain.com] is up to?

    They've got a technology to use the spectrum differently. Right now, information is transmitted by sending out continuous waves while modulating their frequency, and we've pretty much reached the limit of how much information we can send in one chunk of the spectrum.
    These guys have a totally different idea [time-domain.com] -- instead of a continuous wave, they use wave pulses, millions pers second or more, I think, to transmit the information.

    Any physics folks here have any idea about the potential? They claim it has a lot.
  • When I first saw this post, I thought it was suggesting that the actual White House itself needed 3 Gigs of Bandwidth...I was wondering why that would be so important?

    If all those OC-3s can be installed before Jan 20th, Bill Clinton can enjoy some streaming mp3s together with "www.rolypolygirls.com"...

    But it turns out this is just some boring article about the future of our nations infrastructure, blah blah blah.

  • He wants to make sure that Al Gore when he becomes president has all the bandwidth Clinton had and then some so he can enjoy all the porn sites at real time speed instead of a 3 second delay like Clinton had to deal with.
  • Okay.. normally I would say yes.. but:

    What the fuck are you going to do with your very own spectrum? Hmm? Have you developed a technology that uses, say, 2.95 MHz - 3.3 MHz? Have you?

    Really now, who but a big corporation (ie AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc) could ever bring this technology to market? Could you? Could you afford the towers, the research, the roll-out?

    So what I guess you think we should do nothing - and not use or look for more bandwidth?

  • Sounds like it is time to get AL Gore back in the inventing room again.

    That or Bill Clinton really wants to reach out and feel the Bunnies on the Playboy channel.



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • The Supreme Court ruled that the air waves are a natural resource, and therefore the government has an interest in protecting them from complete exploitation.

    Handing the airwaves over to commercial entities is protecting them from exploitation?...like pimps protect prostitutes!

  • by Smitty825 ( 114634 ) on Saturday October 14, 2000 @05:48AM (#706176) Homepage Journal
    I think that it is really cool that more bandwidth is being opened up for the 3G technologies. This will be good because it increases the total amount of users on a system (according to Shannon's equation, if you want more capacity, bandwidth has a linear relationship to capacity, while signal to noise has a log relationship to capacity)

    It still leads us to one problem, though. When the FCC designed the first Cell-phone networks in the 800MHz area (The A & B channels), they allotted 10MHz to each carrier (local phone company + one competitor). As useage was increasing, the government allotted 2.5MHz more to each carrier. Except that they didn't give 2.5MHz "chunks" but they split it up how it was distributed. Now here's what the bandwith looks like:

    -------------------------------------------
    |A''(1MHz) | A (10)| B (10) | A' (1.5)| B'(2.5) |
    -------------------------------------------

    Because of the location of A', the US wireless system is relagated to using technologies that fit in that 1.5MHz chunk. With CDMA 2000 coming out soon, it is close to the theoritical capacity of the airwaves. Hopefully the government will give some of the 700MHz range to the carriers in the 800MHz zone and require that they no longer update the technology on the 800MHz frequency. Maybe that way we can have even more bandwith!
  • Who determines what the public good is in that case? Could a radio station be evicted if they chose to air howard stern, or music with "anti-government" lyrics? That could turn into a scary situation.
  • Hey... how do you change your MAC address, in Linux, MacOS 8.5 or 9, and Windows 98? Inquiring minds want to know... mainly because my cable modem only allows two mac addresses of mine at the same time, and i've got 3 computers that would really like to have access to the internet, though not necessarily simultaneously...

    Email me if you've got an answer... :) [dioxidized.com]
  • Seriously. Mandate that basic cable be free - it's not like the cable companies can't afford to give six or seven measely channels to anyone who doesn't want to pay for expanded basic, premium, or whatever (I'm ignoring HDTV, of course, but you get the idea).

    How much bandwidth will that give us? If it's enough so that I can have a 1Mbps wireless data link wherever I go, it's worth it.

    Axel

  • At the start of the 90's the EU mandated that Nokia & Ericsson should stop working on incompatible proprietary standards and form a joint working group to establish a common multi-featured standard, hence we have GSM which is used most places in the world, and in the US to a limited degree.

    Since they can just make a phone that will work in numerous countries, the manufacturer knows the phone will sell lots of units and generate lots of profits, also the technology advances further so you get smaller/lighter phones. What incentive does a manufacturer have to spend $$ million developing a product which it knows will only sell to a limited/incompatible market?

    In the US the FCC didn't mandate any sort of standard though, apart from controlling the frequency allotments. They went for the model where companies would just compete with incompatible standards until a winner was found. Nice idea and very free market orientated, however it never worked out and as you say it just left a mix of incompatible networks, and created a lot of politics and arrogance on the part of the competing companies.

    Say company A has invested xx billion on developing a standard and installing networks nationwide, why would they decide to concede to company B's standard then have to replace their entire network and also pay royalties to company B for their technology? As you can see, you just end up with a deadlock, where each company is intransigent.

    So, when the FCC is counting its numerous coffers generated from the auctions, it would be wise of them to make sure a common, royalty free standard is adopted by the providers. This may sound like I want the FCC to dictate standards to private industry (bad government?), however the companies should take a lesson from history and form a joint working group and develop some form of synergy. It might be a good idea to adopt the new UMTS standard from the GSM group, and while they're at it, the DAB digital radio standard, also the DVB digital tv standard, but these are royalty free technologies from Europe, which means no royalties for US companies and a shed load of jingoism/politics. Oh well.

    Az.
  • If this was something more than an executive memorandum, it'd be awesome, but AFAIK executive memorandums are kind of like laws that last until the president gets put out of office, and the next president can do whatever he wants to them, and Clinton is only in office until Janruary.

  • heh, I knew I shouldn't of left an open question like that! sheesh, you people ;)
  • the entire article instead of the page, since there are other hyperlinks to offset that. I see now.
  • Far be it for me to determine what is the public good, but here are some things I would find against the public good:
    1. unjustified excessively high prices to consumers
    2. barriers to entry from individual companies or cartels (similar to the baby Bells now)
    3. failure to adhere to industry standards while operating at the 3G spectrum

    It's not content that is for or against the public good, but rather behaviors that violate the licences to use the spectrum. For example, using a device that interferes with competing technology.

    Anyway, it does make to much sense for the gov't to lease. I know its money that calls the shots, but if the idea is floated, maybe the mainstream will get a clue.
  • If you read what can and can not be talked about on the air via HAM RADIO, it limits you to talking about the radio, weather and little else. 3rd party traffic is illegal as well as anything that could be considered commercial use. (no spam!, no chain e'mail) Public safety only gets called on in rare instances.
  • It's not Morse code. Morse code is actually a form of entropy coding (like Huffman coding, if you've heard of it). Entropy coding is a way of coding symbols (like letters of a alphabet) so that the most common symbols get the shortest code.

    This 'Ultra Wide Band' pulse coding technique actually a spread sprectrum technique. Pulses have interesting spectral characteristics. They don't occupy any particular part of the spectrum, and a particular sequence of pulses is easy to pick out among noise and interference.

  • Except that these standards are open and anyone can implement them. Window's isn't like that. You don't have mutiple vendors of Window's out there. You have mutiple vendors of GSM equipment- including base stations and hand sets.

    For example, the GSM standard is currently under the stewardship of a hodge-podge of international organizations and standards groups, with some kind of relationship to the ITU (United Nation's Internation Telecommunications Unioin).

  • I don't know what you're talking about. 3rd party chat is allowed except with certain countries (any country we don't have a 3rd-party aggreement with; most 1st-world countries have one IIRC). Other than no commercial activities (use the commercial bands!) and no music (use the radio bands!), anything is permitted. Public safety is used surprisingly often, in everything from natural disasters to severe thunderstorms. Saying the public safety elements are used rarely is like saying that smoke detectors are unnecessary because so few people ever need them.
  • That is only so Mr.Bill can get faster access to www.slutty_interns.com

  • Gold Star Question:

    I recently issued a purchase order for some translation services to get one of our products translated into Danish. The Purchasing Department made a mistake and accidentally purchased Denmark. What am I to do now?

    -- puzzled@microsoft.com From Redmond, WA

  • 86.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  • Okay, I don't follow, anyone want to clarify? (I'm more interested in the meanings of the words than the grammar) defense to identify spectrum suitable Guessing that's a "spectrums" - and if so, I have an ignorant question to follow-up. Could someone explain what spectrums mean in this context? I suppose I'm a tad ignorant in regards to the engineering side of bandwidth. This along with the any new found spectrum will be auctioned off Again, same thing. What's this mean?
  • The identified spectrum would be available in addition to the 700 megahertz of spectrum to be auctioned on March 6, 2001. The 700 MHz band comes from television stations switching from analog to digital signals.

    Who exactly is selling this bandwidth, and to who? Since this is public bandwidth, I imagine that the government will sell it off. But what is their requirments for being able to buy it? And will the buyer have to pay any rent on it? How de we know that Ted Turner won't buy the whole junk of bandwidth? And why is the government putting so much energy into finding ways for yuppies to have as many toys as they want?

    So many questions...

  • The problem with any "new technology" is the infastructure to support it. It is usualy hard to have a new standard
    replace and old one. Look at the case of fuel everyone talk about how we should change over from fossil fuels to
    natural gas. But is there no sysytem in place to take care of the demand. It is expensive to do so. In the case of HDTV
    the FCC does not want to play along because they know that there is alot of work involed. Thier major concern is the
    fact that they will create a standard that conflicts with others have a big mess on thier hand. So much for progress
  • by Aztech ( 240868 )
    The British 3G bandwidth auction netted a total of $35 Billion for the government, that's for a 20 yr licence, the German licenses went for even more than that since the have a lower cellular penetration rate (UK = 53% penetration) and therefore there's more opportunity for growth.

    The US license will go for a pretty penny, however what are the penetration rates over there?
  • by drwho ( 4190 ) on Saturday October 14, 2000 @05:59AM (#706196) Homepage Journal
    According to the Radio Act of 1934, which created the FCC, frequency allocations are not property and neither the FCC or licensees own them. Therefore, these auctions are illegal.

    I think its great for huge companies to bid themselves into bankruptcy over these new allocations. TV is a vast wasteland, and its 60 year old technology doesn't make efficient use of the bandwidth it has been allocated. But this latest revelation on the size of 3G wireless systems for bandwidth frightens me. I see ham radio being among the first victims, as it doesn't generate any revenue for the government and its lobby (the ARRL) is orders of magnitude less funded than the commercial wireless industry. Time and time again, hams have been pushed off of bands that have 'commercial value', even though hams made a lot of the technical breakthroughs that allowed those bands to be practically used. Ham Radio itself is somewhat to blame. THe numbers of licensed hams has (supposedly) been declining over the past several years. The hobby has a reputation as a haven for a bunch of crotchety old men who talk about nothing but ham radio, and collect postcards from people in small countries that they have done nothing more than exchange callsigns and reception reports from. Ham radio needs to have new blood. Many of the current ham population have pointed out that the thing that attracted them to radio was the ability to contact strange and distant lands, and that these days that role is fulfiled by the Internet. But I am one of those who believe that the community of hams and the community of Internet hobbyists (hobbyists=people who don't use the Internet solely to make or spend money) have great possibilities to merge the two worlds, to a greater extent than has been done.

    Enough rambling. You should already know about GuerrillaNet [guerrilla.net].

    Take the amateur radio exam and get licensed (its really not hard, and you don't have to know morse code any more)...then you can add to the ranks of licensed Amatuer Radio operators and make the FCC think twice about selling off the spectrum so we can all have sprint wristwatch TVs (that will still work like shit)

  • What the fuck are you going to do with your very own spectrum? Hmm? Have you developed a technology that uses, say, 2.95 MHz - 3.3 MHz? Have you?

    Yep. [qsl.net]

    Unfortunately, the other posters are probably right -- this allocation will end up being carved from the Amateur spectrum. It's hard to justify giving us so much space that most of us don't use. I'm very surprised we still have 1296 MHz, for instance.
  • They sold a huge part of the military's telemetry bandwidth to the cell phone people "by accident".

    They have classified nearly every low value area in the country as "earthquake" or "flood" zones, based on geography alone, rather than historical data.

    Then, they sell the homes through government programs to the poor at low interest rates/no down payment. How can they afford to do that? They force you to buy earthquake or flood insurance as part of the loan.

    Who provides such insurance? Guess! The Government. They decide your property is at risk, they make the loan requiring the insurance, and they provide the insurance. This type of insurance is $50 dollars or more a month, for a moderately priced home.

    Bend over, America. Clintonian Democracy is about to "reinvent" government again. Not that the Shrub would be any better, or Algore.

    This election sucks. Tweedle Dumb, and Tweedle Dumber. Tastes great/Less filling. An embarrassment to the planet.
  • Any physics folks here have any idea about the potential? They claim it has a lot.

    Yeah, it's called Morse Code. Frankly I don't see how turning it into pulses serves any advantage, unless they use some sort of TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) system where people can use the same frequency as long as they send at different times. No matter how small the pulse time, though, a certain amount of actual information has to be sent, and that can increase the number of users on a single frequency by maybe 5 or 10 at most.

  • The hobby has a reputation as a haven for a bunch of crotchety old men who talk about nothing but ham radio, and collect postcards from people in small countries that they have done nothing more than exchange callsigns and reception reports from. Ham radio needs to have new blood. Many of the current ham population have pointed out that the thing that attracted them to radio was the ability to contact strange and distant lands, and that these days that role is fulfiled by the Internet.

    Well, speaking as a relatively new ham (got it in 1998) I would have to say I sort of agree with the "crotchety old men" remark. Ever go to a ham radio convention like at Dayton, OH? Jesus... it's a ton of old buggers selling every piece of shit they have in their basement they could lug.
    I only got involved in it for the emergency communications aspect of the service. In the event of a real catastrophe there isn't going to be any phones or Internet connections. ;-) It's also cool to help out at events by helping with medical communications (for emergencies, etc). IMHO that aspect of the amateur radio service is far more important than a bunch of old farts sitting on a repeater bullshitting about yet-another-useless topic or talking about their equipment. The license requirement also seems to tend to keep the signal to noise ratio down a bit and keep the idiots off of it.
  • There is NOTHING stopping ANYONE from getting a ham license. Go take the relatively simple test and you can start using the bandwidth. I am sick and tired of the god damned commercial interests taking precedence over everything. Yes, they are a natural resource, and just like we don't let loggers cut down all of our protected state parks so that people can enjoy them, we shouldn't throw away the amateur bands.
  • The 700Mhz freed is an amount of BANDWITH not a FREQUENCY band! Read and try to comprehent before you post :-)
  • Clinton needs to feed the pr0n monkey.

    Our good buddy Bill Clinton was assigned a new intern named Sally. Being the polite gentleman he is, Bill went to visit Sally and ask her if she needed any questions answered. She said no, so Bill asked, "Have you seen the presidential clock yet?"

    Sally replied, "I haven't even heard of the presidential clock." Bill then replied, "Well let's go to my office, so I can show it to you."

    Sally was a little taken aback, and she stated, "With all the problems you've had lately, I don't think we should."

    Then Bill said, "Ahh, it's just a clock, and I promise I won't try anything." Sally then agrees to go with him. Bill leads her to the Oval Orifice, shuts and locks the door behind them and then drops his pants to the floor.

    Sally is flabbergasted and says, "Mr. President, that is the presidential cock, not the presidential clock."

    Bill looks at her and says, "Sally, by my definition, if you put two hands and a face on it, it's a clock."
  • That's awesome. Personally I think we should just divy up and license all our natural resources to big businesses. Alaskan wilderness? Who is EVER going to use that shit? Let the oil companies drill it dry and trample it all. Yellowstone.. There's gotta be something cool there. Maybe build a series of Yellowstone stripmalls. Need to cut down those pesky trees though and cap off that dangerous waterspout.. wouldn't want a lawsuit. Giving in to corporations is just the next step to being ruled by corporations. Eventually they'll just disolve the government and our laws will come from a series of legal contracts with Omnicorp.. the last remaining corporation which produces everything we consume. How about these companies reallocate the bandwidth that they ALREADY HAVE? Do we really need 4 or 5 different competing cell phone "standards" wasting our airwaves in the united states?
  • The big losers are apt to be DOD and the Amateur Radio community. DOD lobbiests will not have enough clout to protect the relatively vast amount of bandwidth that they have compaired with the communications lobbiests. Too bad, who needs militiary communications anyway right?

    The DOD doesn't have lobbyists. Lobbyists are hired by political action commitees. DOD staff don't have to make campaign contributions to talk to the president.

    Finally a question. When these 'bandwidth' are auctioned, how long is the 'ownership' period? If it isn't time-limited, then the bandwidth is essentially infinitely valuable and we've been screwed once again by lobbiests and the technical morons in Washington.

    The purpose of the auction isn't actually a sale, its a lease. I think the duration is something like twenty years.

  • by icqqm ( 132707 ) on Saturday October 14, 2000 @06:06AM (#706206) Homepage Journal
    Of course if the government needs to take frequencies from someone, the first source will be the Amateur microwave bands followed by Radio Astronomy bands. The amateur bands are underused for the spectrum they're taking up, and the government can easily turn them over to a business if they want to.
  • by Multics ( 45254 ) on Saturday October 14, 2000 @06:07AM (#706207) Journal

    Presuming many of you have been hiding under a rock, some background information is needed to consider this thing.

    The big losers are apt to be DOD and the Amateur Radio community. DOD lobbiests will not have enough clout to protect the relatively vast amount of bandwidth that they have compaired with the communications lobbiests. Too bad, who needs militiary communications anyway right?

    The Amateurs respond to attempts to take bandwidth on nearly a weekly basis. Usually they're successful, but in cases like the 220MHz band, the United Parcel Service [ups.com] had better lobbiests than the amateur community and 2ish MHz of bandwidth was lost. Ironically, UPS ultimately didn't use the spectrum it acquired.

    So now Bill (or Hillary) gets lobbiest money to 'assist' the telecommunications industry in doing yet another land grab that makes the US treasury a little more money. If they think that March 2001 is realistic for the auction date for non-DOD bandwidth they're going to be very very wrong. It will be held up in court for years.

    In the end, we've not got a telecommunications policy any more than we've got an energy policy. Both are important plans for mapping out the future. Whose fault is it? Your choice. I tend to think that fixed location systems shouldn't waste radio bandwidth that should be saved for mobile users. So much of the current initative (radio broadband) is just to get around the increasingly incompetent "last-mile" carriers.

    Finally a question. When these 'bandwidth' are auctioned, how long is the 'ownership' period? If it isn't time-limited, then the bandwidth is essentially infinitely valuable and we've been screwed once again by lobbiests and the technical morons in Washington.


    Multics
  • by Aztech ( 240868 ) on Saturday October 14, 2000 @06:10AM (#706208)
    Who exactly is selling this bandwidth, and to who?

    The government (well FCC) to celluar providers, Sprint, AT&T, Airtouch, Vodaphone etc.

    I imagine that the government will sell it off. But what is their requirments for being able to buy it

    After they auction off the bandwidth, it's no longer a public eternity, to buy it you basically need a shed load of cash (way into the billions of $), they don't have to pay rent since the license usually lasts ~ 20 years.

    How de we know that Ted Turner won't buy the whole junk of bandwidth

    I doubt even he would have enough cash, also I think there are restrictions so one company = one license, some of the licenses have bigger allotments of frequencies though (in the UK at least). The UK licenses went for $35 Billion in total, and the UK only has 1/4 the population of the US, so you can only guess what these auctions will generate.

    And why is the government putting so much energy into finding ways for yuppies to have as many toys as they want?

    The last time I saw a yuppie thinking a mobile phone was flash was in the 80's, they're hardly a status icon anymore, nearly all the kids over here (from about 11 up) have phones thanks to the pay-as-you talk packages. Some kids even have much smarter phones than me or even rich businessmen, smug little shits ;)

    Unless you can't send abusive SMS messages to yer mates mobile in the playground, you're just not hip anymore.
  • It is vitally important that this bandwidth be controlled by big corporations. Time has shown that private citizens need to be guided by the benevolent hand of big money, and this is made easier if big money controls the means of communication. We can thank the Democrats and Republicans for their consistent support of the corporate cause, which is reflected in actions such as this auction.

    I ask my fellow (US) Slashdot readers to please let this continue by supporting these two fine parties in November. For more information, see Billionaires for Bush (or Gore) [billionair...orgore.com].

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

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