The independent blog on spectrum policy issues
that welcomes your input on the key policy issues of the day.

Our focus is the relationship between spectrum policy
and technical innnovation.

Spectrum Job Open at NTIA

Don’t like the way Uncle Sam does spectrum policy? Think you can do a better job? Here is a new job opening at NTIA. We have no other information:

Job Title: Telecommunications Policy Specialist (DEU) (Spectrum Clearing)
Department: Department Of Commerce
Agency: National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Job Announcement Number: NTIA-FRNA-2014-0069

$89,924.00 to $138,136.00 / Per Year
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 to Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Career or Career Conditional - Full Time/Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington DC, DC
All qualified U.S. citizens
This position is currently located in Washington D.C. but will relocate to Reston, VA in the near future. This position is also being announced concurrently under Merit Assignment Procedures (MAP) vacancy number: NTIA-FRNA-2014-0068. Applicants who wish to be considered under MAP must apply to both vacancies separately. This position is located in the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). FirstNet is a new independent authority within NTIA that will be responsible to design, build, deploy, operate, and maintain a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network pursuant to Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96 (the Act). FirstNet holds a single, public safety wireless license of 22 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum between the frequencies of 758-769 MHz and 788-799 MHz.
The specialist in this position will report to the Director of Regulatory Strategy of FirstNet and will be responsible for performing complex assignments concerning the extensive range of spectrum issues for FirstNet. The position will perform work with a high degree of transparency and include the FirstNet leadership in the work being done.
For details surf over to https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/367394100

Cell Industry Finally Acts on Smartphone Theft Prevention

CTIA announced yesterday:

Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" agrees that new models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:

- Remote wipe the authorized user's data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
- Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., "phone home").
- Prevent reactivation without authorized user's permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
- Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).

In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.

The issue of often violent, sometimes deadly, smartphone thefts has been an active topic in the media and in this blog. Until recently public comments from CTIA focused on the the issue of protecting information on your smartphone by passwords and remote erasing, and paid scant attention to the fact that smartphone were generally stolen for their resale value not their information. This this week’s announcement is a great step forward for the cellular industry paying attention to the “unintended consequences” of their remarkable growth in recent years. Communications technology should enhance life, not threaten it.

CNET reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon have concerns about the new CTIA announcement:

"While CTIA's decision to respond to our call for action by announcing a new voluntary commitment to make theft-deterrent features available on smartphones is a welcome step forward, it falls short of what is needed to effectively end the epidemic of smartphone theft. We strongly urge CTIA and its members to make their antitheft features enabled by default on all devices, rather than relying on consumers to opt-in."

(Note to CTIA: CNET is owned by CBS so you might want to boycott them because they agree with San Francisco on this issue.)

But this announce is a good step forward to improving the safety of smartphone users. Even if not all users opt-in, “herd immunity” would apply if the vast majority of users activate the feature. However since there are indications the the electronic serial numbers of many cell phone models are presently changeable as an “undocumented feature”, this will only apply if the new system is robust in the face of tinkering by overseas nerds who stand to make >$100/stolen phone if they can reactivate the phone for sale in their country.


Thomas Hazlett, Director of the Information Economy Project at Clemson University and the George Mason University School of Law, is pleased to announce an upcoming conference to be held at the National Press Club, 8:30-11 AM, April 25, 2014.

Speakers include Blair Levin, Robert Kaminski, Thomas Hazlett, Richard Bennett, Michael Marcus and Harold Furchtgott-Roth. We hope you will consider attending. Full details here:


The Information Economy Project
Clemson University and George Mason University School of Law

National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, Washington D.C.
Friday, April 25, 2014: 8:30 to 11:00 AM ET

[Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius] Genachowski pointed out that it takes a long time--an average of over nine years--to get spectrum back, so there will be no "instant spectrum recovery." (Nov. 2009)

In March 2010, the F.C.C. released the National Broadband Plan, which focused on a policy imperative: allowing mobile markets more access to liberal, licensed spectrum. Toward that end, the Plan critiqued past efforts to reallocate spectrum as slow and clumsy, and set an aggressive time-table for new allocations. But the targets are proving elusive. Incentive Auctions, the headline policy item, are enmeshed in a complex design process; other initiatives have been delayed or shelved entirely. Whatever occurs, two things are clear. First, we can learn something important about spectrum regulation by evaluating the F.C.C.’s 2010 goals, approaches, and results. Second, we are yet challenged by the task of making bandwidth available to wireless markets. Nine-year rulemakings may not be the optimal path.

8:30 – 11:00 AM, National Press Club, Holeman Lounge

* Blair Levin, Aspen Institute, Keynote: Spectrum Reallocation Challenges
* Robert Kaminski, Capital Alpha Partners, Charting FCC Allocations Since 2010
* Thomas Hazlett, Clemson & George Mason, No Frills Reallocations, Now and Then
* Richard Bennett, AEI, Blueprint for a Federal Spectrum Service
* Michael Marcus, Virginia Tech, Restructuring the Regime
* Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Hudson Institute, Markets v. Governments

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Please click here to reserve your spot.

A continental breakfast will be served starting at 8:00 am.

For further information, please email Ryan Tacher


Cherry Blossoms & FCC


It is cherry blossom time again in DC, later than in recent years due to a very cold and long winter. So following our annual tradition, here is FCC in a better view than usual

Update on PCAST Report on Federal Spectrum & Sharing

Video streaming by Ustream

On Friday, April 4, New American Foundation hosted a distinguished set of speakers on the PCAST spectrum report, including several of its authors. Here is a list of speakers:
  • Jason Furman - Chair, President’s Council of Economic Advisors
  • Tom Power - Deputy CTO for Telecommunications, White House Office on Science and Technology Policy
  • John Leibovitz - Deputy Bureau Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Spectrum Advisor to the Chairman, FCC
  • Craig Mundie - Member, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and Senior Advisor to the CEO, Microsoft Corporation
  • Mark Gorenberg - Member, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and Founder and Managing Director, Zetta Venture Partners
  • Milo Medin - Vice President of Access Services, Google Inc., and Invited Expert, PCAST

Above is the video of the event. Of particular interest is the talk by Tom Power on implementation of PCAST (00:06:30 - 00:26:00) and an excellent talk by Jason Furman of the economic importance to getting spectrum policy right - a topic rarely discussed. (0:26:34 - 00:53:00).

Your blogger is humbled by the kind words of PCAST member Mark Gorenberg at 01:18:40.