How much hate will the National Broadband Plan get?


What kind of response can the Federal Communications Commission expect to the National Broadband Plan?

Well, we already know that television station owners are opposed to any plan that reallocates spectrum from broadcasting to wireless broadband services.

Line sharing or "unbundling" -- allowing smaller broadband providers to access the networks of the big cable companies and telcos at wholesale rates -- was suggested by a Harvard study commissioned for the plan, but there's no clear indication that that idea will make it into the final report.

Also, in early February, the FCC announced new rules that would give Native American communities "Tribal Priority" when it came to applying for new radio station licenses. The debate leading up to this decision was somewhat contentious, with various groups, including the Catholic Radio Association, contending that Tribal Priority would represent an unfair or even race/identity based form of preference. But Indian country advocate Native Public Media responded that the policy would not run afoul of various affirmative action standards, because Native Americans are classified "not as a discrete racial group, but, rather, as members of quasi-sovereign tribal entities whose lives and activities are governed by the [Bureau of Indian Affairs] in a unique fashion." Native groups insist that their negotiations with the FCC should take place on a "nation-to-nation" basis. What does this have to do with broadband? Well, on Tuesday Genachowski told the Native American Congress that the FCC may extend that "Tribal Priority" concept not only to radio stations but to wireless licenses as well. "The National Broadband Plan will recommend that the Commission look at expanding any Tribal priority policy to include the process for licensing fixed and mobile wireless licenses covering Tribal lands," he told the Congress. If you think that this is a small change question, keep in mind that something close to a third of the state of Arizona is on Indian reservation land. Ditto for Oklahoma. And about a quarter of South Dakota belongs to reservations. Radio's one thing; wireless and broadband's another.

How much hate will the National Broadband Plan get?