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The Federal Communications Commission believes the 700 MHz spectrum could save the U.S. from broadband duopoly, but it's apprehensive about Google's wholesale requirements

In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, three out of the five FCC commissioners told lawmakers that they are supportive of the open-access standards as proposed by FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, according to Reuters. “A network more open to devices and applications can help ensure that the fruits of innovation on the edges of the network swiftly pass into the hands of consumers,” said Martin, speaking to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

Democratic commissioner John Adelstein specifically noted that an open-access approach “could open these key airwaves to badly needed competition in the broadband space.”

Republican commissioners Deborah Tate and Robert McDowell had not decided whether to support or oppose the standards, however McDowell expressed that he is leaning towards opposition.

Martin spoke to the subcommittee of a “third pipe,” expressing the necessity of an alternative to cable and DSL service for high-speed internet access into the home, particularly those who cannot be served with existing services like those living in the rural parts of America. “Depending on how the Commission structures the upcoming auction, we will either enable the emergence of a third broadband pipe -- one that would be available to rural as well as urban American -- or we will miss our biggest opportunity.”

The open-access proposal by Martin has garnered support by No. 1 wireless provider AT&T, which made a sudden reversal from the rest of the wireless industry, and was threatening litigation again open-access provisions in a time period as short as a few weeks ago. However, the plan is still opposed by No. 2 provider Verizon Wireless, and the rest of the wireless industry.

Less clear, however, is the commission’s support for Google’s vision of “open-access”, as outlined by a July 20 letter sent to FCC Chairman Martin by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, asking for “unwavering obligations to provide (1) open applications, (2) open devices, (3) open wholesale services, and (4) open network access.” 

Martin expressed reservations about Google’s proposal, which has been met with fierce criticism from the wireless industry. It’s a “giant scheme to have the 700MHz auction rigged with special conditions in its favor,” says CTIA president Steve Largent. U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich) stated, “the free market works best. And successful auctions work best without encumbrances."

Martin’s plan needs the support of a majority of the commissioners to get approval, and can be dropped off the agenda if it does not gain the necessary support. The FCC announced on Tuesday its intention to hold a commission meeting on July 31 to discuss service rules and determine the plan’s fate.



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RE: I hate the FCC
By Duraz0rz on 7/26/2007 2:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Remember satellite internet? You still were required to have a dial-up modem for upload purposes; satellites were used for download purposes only. Plus, you had to have a clear line of sight to the south (aka no trees or whatever blocking the way).

The 700Mhz frequency is for analog TV, which is going to be unused after digital TV takes over.


RE: I hate the FCC
By HighWing on 7/26/2007 2:25:02 PM , Rating: 1
Speaking as a person who has satellite internet I can say it sucks big time and is a waste of money. About the only thing I can do better on it then dial-up is I can watch YouTube in real-time. But the cons are even worse then dial-up. Because of the high ping I can not game online or even log into secure websites. And loading webpages seems to take about the same speed as dial-up.

quote:
You still were required to have a dial-up modem for upload purposes; satellites were used for download purposes only.

Just as a point of ref, for the last few years the satellite DOES do both uploading and downloading. I have nothing connected to the phone line with my service.


RE: I hate the FCC
By Etsp on 7/26/2007 7:40:13 PM , Rating: 3
I happen to work tech support at a satellite internet company, and it is NEVER going to be meant for everyone to use. Ever.

Think about it like this, all geosynchronous satellites need to be at a specific height above the earth so that it's speed of orbit is the same as the rotation of the earth, as in, it has to stay at the same spot above the earth.

Most internet traffic utilizes acknowledgments, as in, a request for data is made, a part of the data is sent, the recipient sends back an acknowledgment stating that it received the packet in good condition (passed a CRC check to ensure it isn't corrupted) once this acknowledgment is received, it sends the next part of the data. So for each "packet" of data received, an acknowledgment must be sent back.

So, for example, a ping request is sent, the recipient receives this request, and acknowledges that it received it.
to do this on a satellite connection, this data must be sent up to the satellite, the satellite must send it back to earth to the ISP, the ISP transmits the data through a landline to the destination. That was one way, now the destination must send the reply and will usually follow a similar route, but will always go through the satellite connection.

This means that for a ping request, the signal needed to travel the distance from the earth to the satellite 4 times... and at the speed of light the time it takes to do that is a little bit over 1/2 of a second.

Secondly, the equipment is hellishly expensive.


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