Tales of the Sausage Factory
For those of us in Telecom land, the annual season of Spectrum Wars holds an attraction like no other. 2022 is shaping up to be a major spectacular, with lots of old plotlines coming back (like 5.9 GHz), sleeper issues (like 12 GHz), and an unexpected new dramatic plotline around the Federal Communications Commission’s overall auction authority — and More!
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)'s new “Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin” on “Risk of Potential Adverse Effects on Radio Altimeters” stated airplane communications and safety features could be affected by the Federal Communications Commission's roll-out of 5G, scheduled for December 2021 but now delayed until January 2022.
The Ohio Attorney General asked an Ohio state court to declare Google a common carrier and/or public utility under the laws of Ohio and Ohio common law. The complaint is novel -- and not obviously stupid. But it has some real obstacles to overcome. As Feld has written at length before, the history of common carrier regulation goes back 500 years in the common law.
Internet service providers (ISPs) and their defenders are repeatedly claiming that the US did better than other network neutrality countries (specifically, the EU27) when it came to handling the crush of Covid-19 induced traffic. Unsurprisingly, they credit the lack of regulation for this amazing response. Once again, this claim does not hold up to real scrutiny. As with the investment nonsense, this is a highly complicated area and therefore subject to a lot of spin and heated arguments over what the data actually show and how to explain it.
It’s a cliche villain scene: “Don’t force me to kill the hostages. Unless you do as I say, their blood is on your hands.” While no one would mistake policy fights for a hostage situation (usually), the same principle applies frequently when challenging industry to stop anticompetitive and anti-consumer practices.
One of the most important developments for connectivity for Native American Tribes, Alaskan Native villages and Native Hawaiian communities is the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window (TPW). This gives federally recognized Tribes on rural Tribal lands the opportunity to apply for free spectrum licenses in one of bands best suited for 5G. Tribes that receive these licenses will have the capability to build out their own 5G networks, bringing real, reliable and affordable broadband to communities that have the worst broadband access in the US.