Saturday, April 23, 2011

FCC might play "eminent domain" with traditional broadcasters, for wireless growth

Edward Wyatt has an important story in the Friday, April 22 New York Times Business Day, “A Clash Over the Airwaves: Broadcast Spectrum Is Coveted for New Wireless Use”, link here.

There’s a quasi-eminent-domain exercise going on, as the FCC approaches broadcasters to sell or auction off parts of their spectrums, unused or designed to keep interfering frequencies apart, to wireless companies to help more rural areas get effective broadband.

There are still 11 million households that use only conventional antennae for broadcast reception.  There was a time when universal UHF was actually an issue, and became available earlier in some less urban communities  (like Huntsville AL in the 1950s) than in major cities. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ordinary people ditch land lines

Mike Snider, of USA Today, reports that over one in four US homes, 26.6%, have only wireless or cell phones now, in a story, “More people ditching home phone for mobile”, link here.   

Lower income households are more likely to do this.

This may present a problem for people who want “work from home” or telecommuting jobs, many of which require a landline.

The other trend is to use digital voice landline, with a cordless phone (from Verizon or Xfinity) with many cell-like capabilities.

But older analog phone service may gradually go away. 

As the story indicates, this trend could complicate access to 911 services. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are there good reasons to use dial-up? Is it still around?

Someone sent me a link to a piece “10 Good Reasons to Use Dial-Up Internet”.

Back around the time of Y2K, I used AOL dialup at 56K and for most business surfing and Web1.0 it worked fine. I used it until about 2005.

But I wonder how you would handle automated Microsoft operating system updates or big anti-virus updates. McAfee updates back in 2001 could take about 8 hours in dialup, which required a second land line.

What happens when people convert to digital voice land service? Will dial-up work with Comcast XFinity or Verizon FIOS?  (Actually, Comcast says that XFINITY should work; here is the link.)

I still think that people without reasonable broadband, at least as good as MiFi or cellular wireless, are at serious disadvantage.

Here’s the link.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

GOP tries to vote away FCC net neutrality rules on red herrings

At the “Public Knowledge” website, Art Brodsky has an article about a GOP-controlled House vote recently to repeal FCC “network neutrality” rules, link here. The vote was 240-179.

Apparently the GOP tried to make hay out of a red herring, claiming that faith-based sites like Koshernet wouldn’t be allowed to exist (they provide filters for religiously objectionable content).  Actually, that would be like saying that the FCC rules would prohibit parental controls for child filtering (the alternative to COPA), which is ridiculous.

The article also reviews the wireless issue, saying that the telecommunications companies agreed with the FCC because the FCC agreed to leave them alone, essentially, with wireless.