What’s Hot 4/30/2014

Has the FCC Made Its Case to Restrict Certain Bidders in the Broadcast-Spectrum Incentive Auction? (Forbes, 4/28/2014) Hal Singer examines whether the FCC has “made its case to restrict certain bidders in the broadcast-spectrum incentive auction.” According to Singer, “as a result of the [FCC’s] proposed restrictions, between 40 and 50 percent of the spectrum blocks in a given band plan would be off limits for the two mobile broadband companies best positioned to battle cable modem providers.” Singer writes, “The FCC has failed to meet its evidentiary burden for the use of bidding restrictions as currently proposed for the upcoming incentive auctions. There is no compelling evidence of monopoly power in the wireless sector. And there has been no attempt to prove that smaller carriers need access to ‘low-band’ spectrum to compete effectively against their larger competitors.” Singer concludes, “Until those burdens are met, the FCC should let the auction blocks fall where they may.”

Better Together: 4G Small Cells and Carrier Wi-Fi (Telecoms Tech News Blog, 4/28/14) A recent survey revealed that tier-one mobile network operators expect 22 percent of all additional data capacity added during 2014 to come from Wi-Fi offload, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance. By 2018, Wi-Fi offload is predicted to contribute 20 percent of additional mobile data capacity — plus a further 21 percent will come from small cells with integrated Wi-Fi.

Preserving public safety as a core ‘first principle’ in US communications policy (The Hill’s Congress Blog, 4/29/14) Public safety is a core “first principle” for federal and state decision-makers when setting public policy.  Communications policy certainly is no exception. Preservation of this principle is critical to the current discussions among congressional members who are tasked with spearheading the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which is due to sunset by year’s end.

Modernizing the FCC Enterprise (FCC Blog, 4/28/14) According to the Government Accountability Office, Federal agencies are currently spending over 70% of their Information Technology budgets on maintaining legacy systems. Government-wide, these maintenance costs amount to over $54 billion a year spent on existing legacy systems, and delays needed transitions to newer technologies. Moreover, this cost only captures those legacy processes automated by IT; several paper-based, manual processes exist and result in additional hidden, human-intensive costs that could benefit from modern IT automation.

Netflix reaches deal with Verizon (The Hill’s Policy Blog, 4/29/14) Netflix has reached a deal with Verizon to ensure that subscribers get speedy Internet service, months after announcing a similar deal with Comcast. The streaming video company has blasted the “interconnection” deals in the past, but that didn’t stop it from signing one with Verizon, The Hill has confirmed. Terms of the deal were not released, but it likely mimics the February arrangement Netflix signed with Comcast, to allow the streaming service to connect directly to the Comcast’s network.

It’s Time for a Rational Perspective on Wi-Fi (Gigaom, 4/27/2014) Wi-Fi has so dazzled us with its achievements that many people can’t see its fundamental limitations. Unless network planners and policymakers grasp those limitations, they are likely to reach misguided conclusions about the optimal role of Wi-Fi in our mobile-broadband fabric.