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Senate Discusses Third Pipe Using 700MHz Spectrum 78

Freebird writes "The US Senate Commerce Committee held hearings on the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction today, and much of the discussion centered around Frontline Wireless' proposal to create a commercial wireless broadband network that would also be used for public safety. 'Under Frontline's proposal, the FCC would auction off 10 MHz from the commercially available spectrum and offer that to the highest bidder. The winner would also be given (free) 12 MHz out of the 24 MHz currently allotted to public safety.' Some senators were skeptical, especially Ted Stevens of Alaska who had a 'long and testy interchange' with Frontline CEO James Barksdale. 'He seemed to be zeroing on criticisms that the Frontline proposal was simply a way for a new company to get a huge discount on a prime chunk of spectrum by playing the "public safety" card.'"
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Senate Discusses Third Pipe Using 700MHz Spectrum

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  • Fitting... (Score:4, Funny)

    by setirw ( 854029 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:40PM (#19513071) Homepage
    Some senators were skeptical, especially Ted Stevens of Alaska

    Creating a new pipe would nullify his "clogged tubes" argument against net neutrality!
    • I'm most skeptical about the 700mhz overclocked Sinclair Spectrum, instead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Some senators were skeptical, especially Ted Stevens of Alaska
      Creating a new pipe would nullify his "clogged tubes" argument against net neutrality!
      So? Put some weed in his pipe and light it, he'll soon change his mind.
    • Why is it people can't stop making fun of Ted Stevens? Sure, he made a poorly worded analogy. Big deal - the internet had been compared to plumbing before, would you like to rag on these guys too? []

      What I find most disgusting though is even though this one event seems ingrained in geek memory, these same geeks conveniently forget when Ted Stevens came out on our side []. Personally, I think Americans would be better off if you had more politicians like him in office.
      • Yes, then we could have more billion dollar bridges to nowhere.
        • OH be fair... its not a billion dollars! It's only $315 Million... To serve a total of 9,000 people.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by unitron ( 5733 )
          That wasn't a bridge to nowhere, that was a bridge that would have greatly increased the value of land owned by Alaska's other Republican Senator and by her father, Alaska's Republican governor.
      • You must be joking... Someone actually implied that Ted Stevens was anything but a corrupt, arrogant, senile jack-ass. This is the man who threatened to resign from the Senate if they took any bit of money from his stupid bridge to nowhere and used it for Katrina aid. I only wish they had took money and he had gone back to Alaska to bask in his own love. (No I don't need to give references for all the stupid things he did, google it.)

        I like that George Bush encourages community service. It doesn't mean I wa
        • by Joe U ( 443617 )
          Which just goes to show you, the 'third pipe' is actually Congress and is planted firmly up our collective asses.

          (Yup, you needed that mental image)
      • The most ironic part is that for all everyone makes fun of him, the internet is, in fact, mostly made up of a series of tubes.
      • Yeah. I'll risk the karma...
      • We make fun of Sen. Stevens because he's a raging idiot that somehow got elected to public office. It's not about his party (for some of us), or his one most popular gaff (though that certainly brought him to everyone's attention).

        The man's famous for rants about nonsense and rambling tirades that barely manage to stick to English grammar. I would make a horrible senator, but even I would be better than Stevens.
      • Well, we DO have lots of Senators like Ted Stevens out there. Ever heard of "earmarks"? He is happy to trade a valuable senatorial vote for pretty damn near anything as long as

        a) The money goes to Alaska and
        b) They put his name on it. The "Ted Stevens International Airport" in Anchorage comes to mind.

        Personally, I think we need a bunch fewer Senators like Stevens, although I don't think he's much different from the others, just a bit better at it. Lord knows he has been in office long enough. /end ra

    • by lelitsch ( 31136 )

      Some senators were skeptical, especially Ted Stevens of Alaska

      Creating a new pipe would nullify his "clogged tubes" argument against net neutrality!
      That's bull. Senator Stevens' very valid objection was that you can't build a pipe out of thin air. I mean any pipe has to be run underground or at least be connected [] to it.
    • Is this the same Ted Stevens who recently voted for user fees on general aviation then immediately turned around and sought to except Alaska general aviation from those same fees? God I love American politics.
    • Some senators were skeptical, especially Ted Stevens of Alaska

      He was confused because most modern radios don't use tubes....

  • Ted Stevens (Score:4, Funny)

    by deblau ( 68023 ) <> on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:41PM (#19513075) Journal
    Shhh don't tell him about the invisible tubes in the sky...
    • Hey... I'm actually replying to your sig, I'm studying for that thing right now and in another month I'll be through the MPEP. I'm in freakin' lawschool and I've never seen so many regs before in my life! (Back to chugging through 700... ooh public use proceedings!)
      Oh, and more on-topic, this is sort of interesting since Crazy Ted would normally be the guy who you'd expect would support anything with the right buzzwords in it. While I'm somewhat dubious of giving all the spectrum
      • I'll tell you the reason why public safety frequencies should remain dedicated to public safety:
        There will be businesses and people who will be annoyed if they are knocked off the air because of an emergency. What happens if a cell-phone co. buys those frequencies, and they are commandeered for public safety right when everyone is trying to call people because it's an emergency?
        I accept that sometimes TV stations have to switch to all-weather when a tornado watch is on. Nonetheless, I get annoyed by thi
      • by deblau ( 68023 )
        Good luck on your exam. I don't know where you are in your studies, but if you can take it over the summer, DO IT. You can do what I did and treat it like another (12 hour?!) class, but taking an /additional/ two back-to-back substantive finals stinks.

        Word to the wise: don't try and memorize all the minor details, just learn where everything is located in the MPEP so you can look it up quickly during the test. You'll be so high on adrenaline that you won't remember it all anyway. Oh yeah, and pretty m

    • by Rei ( 128717 )
      No! Tell him about them. Tell him that they're a bridge that will go Gravina Island, out in the middle of nowhere of Alaska. Then he's sure to fund it, as well as put a secret hold on everyone else's bills! Then tell him that the plan's backers are oil executives, so he'll refuse to swear them in.
      • by Rei ( 128717 )
        Oh, and if that doesn't work, promise to remodel his house for him, half-price. That'll be sure to get him on board. You'd probably have him out there in his Hulk Tie championing it. And if that doesn't do it, make a donation to the Ted Stevens Foundation [] (a "nonpartisan, nonpolitical foundation" whose sole purpose is to help inform the public about Ted).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    > 'He seemed to be zeroing on criticisms that the Frontline proposal was simply a way for a new company to get a huge discount on a prime chunk of spectrum by playing the "public safety" card.'"

    It takes one to know one, Senator.

    Just because you weren't offered a piece of the action this time is no reason to get all snippy^Wtesty about it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      He seemed to be zeroing on criticisms that the Frontline proposal was simply a way for a new company to get a huge discount on a prime chunk of spectrum by playing the "public safety" card.

      "Playin' the public safety card is our baby", Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)was later heard to exhort.
  • by Anonymous Coward install their first WAP on an uninhabited Alaskan island.
  • by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:50PM (#19513175)

    'He seemed to be zeroing on criticisms that the Frontline proposal was simply a way for a new company to get a huge discount on a prime chunk of spectrum by playing the "public safety" card.'
    Frontline's auction proposal, if accepted, will set some parameters. The spectrum will still go to the highest bidder. That may not be Frontline.
  • by BlueMikey ( 1112869 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:54PM (#19513221)
    Wireless flea and tick control? Sweet.
    • by KingJ ( 992358 )
      Ah, not quite! First you have to get a microchip implanted ($400) so ensure that your pets have the correct equipment to receive this 'revolutionary' treatment. Then, you'd have to pay a $50/month licence fee to continue to use the service, failure to pay this will temporarily disable your pet until the licence fee has been paid. Tampering with the chip will automatically turn your pet against you...

      I think i'll stick to the regular flea treatment, thanks
  • Health concerns (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2007 @07:08PM (#19513359)
    Before flaming this post based on the subject line, read this article [] and this one [], which are about studies demonstrating the mechanism for learning disability caused by exposure to 700MHz RF fields.
    • From the second link above:

      Slices of rat hippocampus were exposed to 700 MHz continuous wave radiofrequency (RF) fields (25.2-71.0 V m(-1), 5-15 min exposure) in a stripline waveguide. At low field intensities, the predominant effect on the electrically evoked field potential in CA1 was a potentiation of the amplitude of the population spike by up to 20%, but higher intensity fields could produce either increases or decreases of up to 120 and 80%, respectively, in the amplitude of the population spike. To e

      • I think you can safely conclude that it is not in your best interest to slice up your hippocampus and place it in a wave guide. All other bets are off.
    • to me it seems pretty easy to stimulate a bare slice of brain (which uses electricity to transmit signals) with any kind of electromagnetic field, RF or no. A) those are both in vitro studies. where are the in vivo studies? B) How much of that RF is absorbed by the skin, muscle, bone, and non-hippocampus brain tissue? i don't buy it without better tests and methods.

      (-1 offtopic) off the subject, but on the subject of wacky health concerns- today i heard an interview on NPR [] where people think a 25 microg

      • by qray ( 805206 )
        Or my whole 7th grade science class that played with mercury in a petry dish.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        However, you and I are fully developed beings. A 25mcg dose of mercury at certain stages of brain/physical development may increase the risk of autism to those who may be predisposed to it. Just wanted to let you know.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wouldn't mind some 700Mhz bandwidth for PUBLIC use of the PUBLIC airwaves. Might as well throw LPFM in just because my voice doesn't count! -- off to the interwebs!
  • Why not make it a contract sort of deal instead of an auction. If the government was really interested in serving the public, they would force companies to come up with proposals and prototypes of what they would do with the spectrum and the best concept wins the spectrum in the form of a contract. The auction has no guarantees that the spectrum will be used in an efficient or "for the better of the public" manner. In fact, it is more likely that it will just turn into another form of high end real estate a
    • by Arti ( 619829 )
      A contract system is probably more open to abuse, unless the contract is formulated and then put out to tender (or even auction).
  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @09:21PM (#19514355) Homepage Journal
    Spectrum that was once set aside for television stations is now desired for other uses, including the important one of public safety, but the government is having to go to a great deal of trouble to get it back from the broadcasters whose only claim to it has been a temporary renewable license to use it (basically at no charge) "in the public interest".

    What happens when, in the mysterious future, a new and important use is found for a particular slice of airwaves that have already been sold off? Will it be necessary to go to the Supreme Court to get a ruling that lets the government declare "eminent domain" and force the owner to sell it back? Better to lease it and still get some money out of it but retain ownership and control.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Detritus ( 11846 )
      If the FCC wants to reallocate spectrum, they can do it. They are under no obligation to compensate the existing licensees or to provide them with new spectrum. The same is true if new regulations make your current equipment obsolete. I've been on the receiving end of this sort of thing in the past. If the FCC properly follows their own procedures for rule-making, there isn't anything that you can do about it.
      • by unitron ( 5733 )
        The FCC can re-allocate spectrum which the government still owns, but that which has already been auctioned off they no longer own and those who do own it now would probably tie up the FCC in court for the next hundred years or so (or buy enough congresscritters to land on the FCC like a ton of bricks, whichever is cheaper).
  • retards (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Who is the highest ranking thub?
  • I believe it's clear that Senator Ted Stevens should not be on any committees involving technology.

    The man needs an education.

    I've dealt with clients like him. They think they understand something and get offended when you try to explain it properly.

    It's all a series of AIRS Ted!
  • Imagine trying to play Jet Set Willy on a 700MHz Spectrum!
  • Presumably, 22 MHz is more valuable than is 10 MHz. So the price will be higher in auction. Hence it's not a free 12 MHz, so much as an auction for 10 MHz full use and 12 MHz of rare public safety use.
  • This is the real reason why the FCC and Congress are pushing for HDTV. They see the Billions of dollars that it could bring in in profit. A newspaper article I came across back in the late 90's, when HDTV was suppose to go live and SDTV was suppose to be shutoff in 2001, had an estimate of $4.2 Billion USD that the SDTV spectrum would go for at that time. It's probably a lot higher now.

    So, to MPAA, RIAA, NASCAR, NFL, NBA, ABL, NHL, etc. all want HDTV so they can control what you can watch, how you watch i
  • Is either make it all public domain like the 802.11B & G frequencies. Or at least encourage competition, by splitting it into 3-6 parts and requiring seperate companies to operate them. This is a very important piece of emf that has not be available in 50 years and will allow real wireless internet city by city through walls, I hope we don't allow Verizons to hog it and sell it back to us for unreasonable prices!
  • I'd like to bid $1, Bob.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.