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Vote for Susan Ness!
A Tribute to a Former Commissioner Who Really Cared About Spectrum

ust as spectrum policy has usually been nonpartisan, so is this blog. But in looking at the ballot for Tuesday’s primary here in (inside the Beltway) Maryland, the sample ballot shown at right made me nostalgic.

Susan Ness served as an FCC commissioner from May 1994 to May 2001. She is the only commissioner within recent memory who had a strong interest in spectrum policy - although Chmn. Powell certainly also had a special interest in the topic. She hired as an adviser David Siddall, an OET staffer who had previously worked on the Hill. While Dave is not an engineer by training, his excellence in working at OET and with Comm. Ness on spectrum policy issues shows that what is essential in technical policy is a real interest in the topic as well as a willingness to learn.

Here is her official FCC bio:

Susan Ness was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Clinton in 1994. She chaired the Federal-State Joint Board charged with addressing universal telephone service issues, and served as the FCC's senior representative at the 1995, 1997, and 2000 World Radiocommunication Conferences.

Commissioner Ness promoted measures to advance competition domestically and globally, spur new technologies and services, expand economic opportunities, eliminate unnecessary regulation, and reduce regulatory uncertainty. She played a key role in shaping policies for efficient management of the radio spectrum and was a lead member on international matters. She helped forge agreement on the digital television standard and on guidelines to improve the quality and quantity of children educational television programming. She worked to facilitate delivery of advanced telecommunications services to the classroom and community libraries, so that every child -- urban and rural, rich and poor -- can participate in the telecommunications and information revolution.

In recognition of her achievements, Commissioner Ness was chosen as one of four 1999 recipients of the International Radio and Television Society Foundation Award, received the Consumer Electronics Association 2000 Digital Television Leadership Award, and was selected as one of Electronic Media's "12 to Watch in 1997." She has also been honored by Women of Wireless and by the American Women in Radio and Television for her efforts on behalf of women. Rutgers University inducted her into its Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1998, and Douglass College selected her as a member of the Douglass Society.

Prior to her FCC appointment, Commissioner Ness was a senior lender to communications companies as a group head and vice president of a regional financial institution. She served as Assistant Counsel to the Committee on Banking, Currency and Housing of the U.S. House of Representatives, and she founded and directed the Judicial Appointments Project of the National Women's Political Caucus.

Commissioner Ness is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Communications, the Federal Communications Bar Association, and Leadership Washington (Class of 1988). Before she joined the FCC, she served in many civic leadership roles, including chair of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Charter Review Commission; vice chair of the Montgomery County Task Force on Community Access Television; and president of the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

Commissioner Ness is a graduate of Douglass College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree. There she served on the board of directors of WRSU Radio (Rutgers University). She received a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Boston College Law School, and a Masters in Business Administration from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

Commissioner Ness is married and has two school-aged children.

From 2005 to 2007, she was the founding president and CEO of GreenStone Media, LLC, which produced talk programming targeting women for syndication on radio and other platforms.

She is a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, having been appointed to that position by President Barack Obama in September 2011. She serves on the board of Vital Voices Global Partnership, a nonprofit organization that identifies and invests in extraordinary women worldwide. She is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and an affiliated expert of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

She was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, where she taught graduate seminars on domestic and global communications policy, and was Director of Information and Society at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. She is a member of the board of Gannett Co., Inc, (NYSE-GCI). Previously, she served on the corporate boards of LCC International, a global technology firm, and on the post-bankruptcy petition board of Adelphia Communications Corporation. She is vice chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which oversees the Fulbright scholarship program. She also serves on the board of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that identifies and invests in extraordinary women worldwide.

Susan, you are missed at FCC and I hope whoever wins the election this year will appoint more people like you to FCC. Maybe as a convention delegate you can add that to the platform!

Congress on Stolen Cell Phone & Violence While FCC and Industry Dither


The previous post deals with the Today Show exposé on stolen cell phones and the violence often associated with thefts of iPhones and other smart phones. It posited that the resale value of these units encourages thefts and that this resale value could be reduced significantly if the industry did not reregister for new service phones previously reported as stolen.This should not take an “act of Congress” to resolve!

Although FCC Chmn. Genachowski spoke about this issue at an international conference last month, there has been no visible progress by either FCC or industry on this issue. Indeed in CTIA’s response to the Today Show, the emphasis is on password protecting personal information - which helps with keeping your information private but does not remove the incentive for violent theft of your expensive phone.

Spectrum policy has generally been bipartisan in the past. However, the Republican partisan attack on LightSquared has opened a new era and in the instant issue the Dems may be retaliating. But partisanship in this area is probably a bad idea although in the present era it may be hard to avoid.

Yesterday, the website of the Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee had the following statement:

Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo, and senior Committee Member Edward J. Markey sent letters to nineteen carriers, handset manufacturers, and operating system developers seeking information on how they address cell phone theft.

According to numerous public safety officials, many local law enforcement officials are reporting a significant increase in crime, much of it connected to the theft of electronic devices. These incidents raise important questions about what role wireless providers, operating system developers, and handset manufacturers might play to combat cell phone theft and protect personal information stored on these devices.

In the letter, the members write: “we are writing to learn what policies your company uses to protect consumers. Even simple steps, like remote locking of stolen devices, could make a big difference in deterring theft.”

A recent study by Norton indicated that one in three individuals experience cell phone loss or theft, and a Symantec study of 50 Android phones in major cities found that more than 95% of people who found missing phones tried to access sensitive personal information.

The letters, given on the website with the above statement, include this discussion:

Cell phone theft not only impacts individuals, but also local law enforcement. Since the release of the iPhone 4 in June 2010, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has had to respond to increased levels of cell phone theft. Last month NYPD added 240 additional transit officers to protect transit riders from cell phone theft. Similarly, the San Francisco Municipal Railway recently began a public awareness campaign to address the growing theft of electronic devices, after nearly 180 electronic devices were reported stolen in a 30 day period. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) began playing public service announcements last year in subway stations offering tips and advice on protecting cell phones and other hand-held devices from theft. In Washington D.C., robberies have increased by 30% since 20I I . D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier recently stated that the increase is due in part to robbers pursuing individuals carrying expensive electronics, which can be easily resold

But just as CTIA confuses loss of personal information easily protectable by passwords with violent theft of equipment, so does the proposed legislation. Bill sponsor Ellior Engel (D-NY) summarizes the bill as follows
  1. Create a national “negative file” or “blacklist” to be maintained by the wireless industry to record the individual ID number of a stolen device. Companies would then cross-reference the files with the other carriers to ensure that no device reported stolen could get service from another provider.
  2. Require wireless carriers to develop technology allowing the customer to remotely delete their data should the device be stolen.
  3. Require all devices manufactured in the U.S., or imported to the U.S., to have unique ID numbers. Most phones already do, but it is important to ensure that any duplicate ID numbers do not exist.
  4. Require customers victimized by theft to provide a police report with their claim.
  5. Provide the time for companies to enact the provisions of the bill so the system will be strong and functioning in a manner which does not disrupt the service to the consumer, or create any unforeseen technical issues.

The first item above is the big issue to prevent violence and could be implemented quickly without the need for the coordination with “Mexican service providers, Central American, South America, African, Chinese” that CTIA cites for an excuse for inaction.The 2nd and 3rd points really do need attention in international standards fora to get resolved. The industry and FCC have been unable to prioritize the issues and have focused on a global solution to all the problems while Americans with smart phones are subject to violence here in the USA.

The result of FCC and industry inaction is the pending legislation which is impractical in many ways. In any case, specific amendments to the Communications Act tend to stay unamended for decades after the original problem goes away and just create long term problems. Decisive quick action on the issue of discouraging thefts by denying reregistration will solve most of the problem, enhance public safety, and remove most of the need for new legislation.

When the dust settles, FCC and industry should ask themselves why this has taken so long to start protecting the public. As I have said before, good communications technology should enhance life, not threaten it.


I went to the Dale Hatfield Professorship benefit last night and was able to discuss this issue with several figures from the cellular industry. I heard that there is concern that the Today Show interview was “unfairly” edited. However, the responsive YouTube post from CTIA’s John Walls was clearly under CTIA’s complete control and seem to hopelessly confuse issues.

The CTIA response video was entitled “CTIA's Tips to Protect Yourself If Your Cellphone is Stolen” and the CTIA-provided description of it states:

“CTIA and the wireless industry are extremely concerned about our customers and their safety. To make sure you protect yourself in the event your cellphone is stolen, here are 2 tips that you can take now to render your mobile device useless.”

But the focus of the Today Show discussion was not the valid issue of protecting information if the phone is stolen, the focus was discouraging often violent thefts by lowering the resale value of stolen phones. One wonders if CTIA’s spokesman was really listening.

However, I did hear at the Hatfield event that there is a valid concern for multinational action because the industry has evidence that a significant fraction of the smart phones stolen in the US are promptly shipped to overseas markets where the value may be higher than the original US price. This is because it is common practice int he US for carriers to subsidize “retail” prices for smart phones in exchange for long contracts. Overseas markets generally sell such equipment at unsubsidized higher prices.

I also picked up an unsubstantiated rumor that Apple may be a culprit here as it appears to be going slowly in its role in standards to address the issue.

But this still doesn’t explain why US carriers are willing to resume service to a stolen cell phone/smartphone? International reciprocity, erasing data from stolen phones, and possibly “bricking” stolen phones will take a while to develop the necessary standards and protocols, but checking within the US on phones stolen from the US should not be a multiyear process and will have some impact on the black market value of stolen phones.

H.R. 4247, as presently written, is a poor way to address the various aspects of this problem. But FCC and industry inaction and the public posturing of industry is not very helpful either. A real and public plan of action will reassure the public, remove the need for legislation, and start on the path to decreasing this unintentional public safety problem resulting from smartphones.


Today Show: "Why won’t wireless companies help stop cell phone thefts?"

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tens of thousands of cell phones are stolen in
the U.S. every year — many of them violently.

Readers may recall that in the past few months I have published posts entitled “Is the Cellular Industry Tone Deaf” and “Some Possible New Year's Resolutions for the Cellular Industry”. While one might think I was hostile to the cellular industry, actually I am a great admirer of them in many ways. They have achieved tremendous technical efficiency improvements since the initiation of cell phone service in the early 1980s and they have had tremendous positive impact on our society. CTIA’s website has a “Wireless Safety” section that rightfully says,

“Your wireless device is a fantastic safety tool, and can help save your life as well as the lives of others. This section focuses on CTIA and wireless industry initiatives, such as Wireless AMBER Alerts and Text2Help that allow you to help others in trouble through your wireless device.”

But on some issues related to interactions with the public the industry is really “tone deaf”. So it is not surprising that today when the headlines are dominated by the Romney aide “Etch-a-Sketch” comment that the Today Show, one of America’s most popular news programs, has a segment on “Why won’t wireless companies help stop cell phone thefts?” Here is a quote from the Today website:

“Police say it is an epidemic across the country and only getting worse: Tens of thousands of smartphones stolen every year. And yes, it gets violent: Many victims are beaten, bruised and hospitalized. Authorities say there’s an easy fix, a way to stop these criminals in their tracks right now. But, they say, the wireless companies are blocking it — to protect their profits.”

The NBC reporter, Jeff Rossen, states that in several countries, including UK and Australia, technologies and policies are in place to “brick” permanently any stolen cell phone so that it has no resale value. Here is the Today web site summary of what was said
Walls on Today

“But the technology already exists. They’ve been doing it in the U.K. for a decade, and in Australia, too, where authorities say it’s working; smartphone robberies are down. The industry’s response: Let’s wait: It won’t work here until every country joins in. “Let's make sure we get, for example, Mexican service providers, Central American, South America, African, Chinese,” (CTIA’s John) Walls said.”

“Why not start with the U.S.?” Rossen asked. “Why not take the first step here?”

“Because I think the larger problem, the bigger problem is overseas,” Walls said.

But police say Americans will keep getting beaten and robbed as long as the wireless industry continues to drag its feet. (Emphasis added.)

I know there is sometimes little good will between the cellular industry and the TV broadcasting industry due to spectrum issues like incentive auctions, so this is a small chance that NBC’s news operation was tainted by this antipathy. This would be rare, but one must admit the possibility.

Meanwhile, here is a YouTube video giving a similar consumer viewpoint:

CTIA actually has had something on their website about “lost or stolen phones”. “In response to Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), CTIA-The Wireless Association® President and CEO Steve Largent issued” a statement in August 2011 that deal with what consumers can do to protect the personal information in their phones. It does not deal with discouraging the theft of phones or assaults on smart phone users and lists nothing the industry is actually doing. Indeed it urges “Congress to not impose unnecessary regulations on the wireless industry that would cause unintended consequences.”

This is actually an area where FCC is speaking more about the issue than the industry. In a speech to the GSMA Mobile World Congress (the global forum for GSM-based and GSM-related systems) in February, Chmn. Genachowski said

Another area of challenge: stolen phones. There has been a sharp increase in the U.S. in thefts of mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, endangering the safety of millions—both physical safety and the safety of the sensitive personal information stored on the device.

I commend the GSMA for establishing a database of phones that have been reported stolen so that those devices can’t be reactivated by someone else. I understand this has helped deter theft in European countries where carriers have signed up.

In the U.S., law enforcement officials are concerned that adequate systems don’t now exist to deter smartphone theft. This is a serious consumer issue, and we are taking it seriously

This afternoon, CTIA released the following YouTube video:

Mr. Walls this time assured viewers that “The industry is aggressively pursuing a technical solution that will render a stolen device useless. We’d like to make sure that happens in the U.S. and overseas markets… I want to remind you that the industry is very, very interested in developing these technical solutions.” He also reminds people they should use passwords. So is the US cellular industry waiting to enhance the safety of US smart phone users until it gets consensus with “Mexican service providers, Central American, South America, African, Chinese” as he said in the Today interview? Why do UK and Australia already have such protection?

I reiterate my view that the cellular industry needs to be more sensitive to consumer issues and not spend all its resources on political games within the Beltway.

Technologies of Freedom

Nowruz is the Persian New Year, a holiday that predates the rise of Islam and is celebrated in Iran and some other countries with related cultures. Our former Iranian neighbor who is of the Bahá'í Faith - subject to major persecution in today’s Iran - taught us about it.

President Obama has been using the occasion of Nowruz to speak directly to Iranians around the world. This year’s message includes much about the role of today’s telecom to bring people closer together. I recently attended a seminar of George Mason University Law School in which the speaker and several present were students of the late Prof. Ithiel Pool. Here is the introduction of his Wikipedia bio:

Ithiel de Sola Pool (October 26, 1917–March 11, 1984) was a revolutionary in the field of social sciences. Pool led groundbreaking research on technology and its effects on society. He coined the term "convergence" to describe the effect of various scientific innovations on society in a futuristic world. In the course of his career, he would make startlingly accurate predictions about technology and society. In Pool's 1983 book, Technologies of Freedom he described the modes of technology. Digital electronics present convergence between historically separated modes of communication. Theater, news events, and speaking are all increasingly delivered via electronically. These modes of communicating ideas are becoming one single grand system.

Pool’s 1984 (sic) book, Technologies of Freedom, highlighted the role our telecom technologies can play in the world - written in an era when the nascent Internet had only a few users.

The President’s Nowruz message (in English with Farsi subtitles) this year highlights the role our technology can play in enhancing peace.


Cherry Blossoms in DC!

See FCC can be beautiful!

For those who live “outside the Beltway”, the cherry blossoms are in bloom now in this their 100th anniversary year. If you are not familiar with this viewing angle, FCC is the rightmost building on the group of buildings in the enter of the photo.


Spectrum Training in May


With my colleagues at the Radio Spectrum Institute, we are presenting a 1 day course on May 14, 2012 entitled “
Spectrum Management Boot Camp” in Arlington, VA. Tuition is $650 (early registration, multi-attendee, and combined Boot Camp/NSMA Conference discounts available).

Spectrum Management Boot Camp combines six Radio Spectrum Institute classes into a complete practical introduction to international and U.S. spectrum management. The emphasis is on the key regulatory aspects that impact the use of the radio spectrum to meet industry or government mission requirements. Important technical considerations are simplified and explained. Spectrum Management Boot Camp is targeted at professionals who must quickly come up to speed on the diverse requirements of modern spectrum management, or current wireless professionals who desire a broader understanding of the radio spectrum management landscape.

If you and your colleagues would like an opportunity to learn more about the basics of spectrum management from a groups of experts with experience in FCC, NTIA, and the private sector, signup and we’ll be glad to help you.


Site Problem

Our “web lackey” messed up this week and site access has been intermittent.

The problem is now under control and full content should be restored shortly.

We apologize to readers.

FCC Workshop on Spectrum Efficiency and Receivers

As the announcement at the left shows, the FCC website is announcing a 2 day workshop on “Spectrum Efficiency and Receivers”. The workshop was originally announced on February 24, 2012. The home page announcement has a link for each day, but they go to pages with the exact same content:

As part of the Commission’s efforts to enhance the use of spectrum for mobile broadband, the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, in conjunction with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Strategic Planning will host a workshop on "Spectrum Efficiency and Receiver Performance." The workshop will be held on Monday, March 12, 2012 and Tuesday, March 13, 2012, in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC.

The role of receivers in enabling access to spectrum for new services implicates federal stakeholders, as well as the private sector. Receiver performance issues have often arisen as a conflict between legacy stakeholders and new entrants where deployment of new technologies and services threatens to adversely impact an incumbent or place restrictions on the new entrant. Past examples include interference issues between new cellular radio systems and public safety radio systems, satellite digital radio systems and proposed terrestrial data services, unlicensed WiFi systems and FAA weather radar systems, and ancillary terrestrial service on mobile satellite spectrum and GPS. The resolution of such matters has historically required a public process involving regulators, stakeholders and other parties. Because such discussions sometime begin upon the introduction of a new service or technology, full deployment of such new services could be hindered. New approaches to spectrum management focusing on spectrum efficiency and receiver performance may enable more assured deployment of new services and reduce the necessity for the involvement of regulators.

This two-day workshop will discuss the characteristics of receivers and how their performance can affect the efficient use of spectrum and opportunities for the creation of new services. Key topics will include current practices for receiver design, case studies involving interference due to receiver characteristics, and approaches for promoting interference avoidance and efficient use of spectrum, given the current receiver base and potential future deployments. The workshop will include perspectives from licensees, equipment manufacturers, component providers, and other interested parties.

Apparently there will be panels of speakers, but they have not been announced. Nor has any sort of agenda beyond the above been announced.

(I was surprised by the mention of “unlicensed WiFi systems and FAA weather radar systems” as I have previously written this appears NOT to be a receiver problem, but rather an SDR security issue for the unlicensed cognitive radio systems. Oddly, my September 2011 appeal of an initial redaction of a FOIA request has never been acted on by FCC/OGC. I believe the requested document with fewer redactions would confirm the real nature of the TDWR problem. Motorola is fighting the release of the document with fewer redactions in a “reverse FOIA” action.)

My suspicion is that there is a major coordination problem among the various power that be within FCC on both the agenda and the speakers, probably in their attempt to pacify various industry sectors who have their own view of the issue. Perhaps there is an NTIA problem also.

NTIA has classically been in favor of receiver standards, claiming they have them for federal systems. (Mostly true.) However, NTIA has been unwilling to pressure FAA into adopting 20 year old ICAO Instrument Landing System receiver immunity standards that are used around the world and has been strangely silent on the issue of GPS receiver standards.

In any case, it seems rather strange to have a 2 day workshop with no published agenda 3 working days before it starts.


The afternoon of March 9, the agenda was released.


The Powerpoint presentations used are available now on the (ever chaotic) FCC website.

Here are the videos of the 2 days:


FCC: "We do not invite comment" on Certain Topics We Want to Avoid Because They Would Annoy the Cellular Industry

On March 1, FCC released the above public notice which is effectively a notice of inquiry. NY Times wrote about it:

The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing whether or when the police and other government officials can intentionally interrupt cellphone and Internet service to protect public safety. Late Thursday, the commission requested public comment on the issue, which came to widespread attention last August, when Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco shut off cellphone service for three hours in some stations to hinder planned protests there.The transit system interrupted service without notice to the F.C.C. or the California Public Utilities Commission. The interruption was in anticipation of protests in BART stations in response to the fatal shooting of a man in July by a BART police officer. …

Among the issues on which the F.C.C. is seeking comment is whether it even has authority over the issue. The public notice asks for comment on whether the F.C.C. itself has legal authority over shutdowns of wireless service and whether it can pre-empt local, state or federal laws that prohibit or constrain the ability of anyone to interrupt service.

Chairman Genachowski released his own statement:

“Our democracy, our society, and our safety all require communications networks that are available and open. Any interruption of wireless services raises serious legal and policy issues, and must meet a very high bar. The FCC, as the agency with oversight of our communications networks, is committed to preserving their availability and openness, and to harnessing communications technologies to protect the public.”

So far, so good. A legitimate question of concern. But what about the closely related question of disabling illicit cell phone use in prisons that clearly is both illegal and poses urgent threats to public safety? FCC has before it at least 3 petitions dealing with this issue:

• November 2, 2007 - Petition for Declaratory Ruling from CTIA, the Wireless Association (CTIA) regarding the proper use of signal boosters and jammers in Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS). While FCC on January 6, 2010 put out a public notice in Docket 10-4 addressing some of the issues in the CTIA petition dealing with “signal boosters”, it has never acted on there jamming part of the petition.

• August 6, 2009 Petition from S.C. Department of Corrections and 30 other state and regional prison systems seeking to allow cell phone jamming in prisons.

• July 20, 2011 Petition from Global Tel*Link (GTL) on suppressing illicit cell phone use in prison that dealt with both managed access and jamming issues.

FCC has never taken any action on the jamming issues in these petitions - which cover a variety of policy viewpoints. It has never put them out for public comment, it has never rejected them. They all sit in regulatory limbo!

The new PN addresses the issue in passing: On p. 2 it states “ We do not invite comment on practices expressly prohibited by statute or regulation, such as signal jamming.” In fn. 8 which is at the end of the quote sentence it adds, “Because it implicates a distinct set of legal and policy issues, we also do not invite comment on any lawful signal jamming undertaken by the federal government.” So basically FCC is saying “we have ignored this issue for at least since the November 2007 CTIA petition and we darn well will continue to ignore it! Don’t tell use anything on this topic it will confuse us.

Faces of the prison jamming issue
Carl Lackl, Jr. (l) a Baltimore witness murdered as a result of a prison cell phone call.
Capt. Robert Johnson (r) South Carolina Department of Corrections,
shot 6 times
at his home as a result of a prison cell phone call.

However, FCC then confuses the issue by asking on the bottom of p. 5 “ To what extent do sections 202, 214, 302a, 333, or other sections of the Communications Act circumscribe the ability of government actors to interrupt wireless service”. I believe this is the first time the Commission has ever asked for comment on the meaning of Section 333 - a key controversy in the jamming issue.

CTIA believes that Section 333 prohibit the Commission from ever authorizing any jamming although the Commission has never ruled en banc on any interpretation of the section. The GTL petition shows why this may be inconsistent with both the wording and legislative history of Section 333 and further argues that whatever Section 333 means it applies equally to both FCC and NTIA since Section 305 only exempts the President’s authority of federal spectrum management, delegated to NTIA, from Sections 301 and 303 - not from the rest of Title III. Further, it points out that a contemporaneous jamming statute (dealing only with satellite jamming), 18 USC 1367, explicitly exempts “lawfully authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency or of an intelligence agency of the United States” while Section 333 has no such provision. This would imply that either Section 333 does not preclude authorized jamming or that the preclusion was meant to apply to both agencies.

Isn’t it time FCC starts deciding what Section 333 means by considering all aspects of it, not trying to limit comments as in this PN?


A Tribute to Sen. Snowe - A Supporter of Rational Spectrum Policy

This week Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) announced her intention to retire from Congress. Her official bio states “Focusing her attention on efforts to build bipartisan consensus on key issues that matter to Maine and America, Snowe has built a reputation as one of the Congress’ leading moderates.” CNN’s appropriate headline was “Citing partisanship, Snowe stuns with departure news”. ABC quotes her as saying about her decision,

“As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives. I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.

“With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term.”

As a former “Massachusetts moderate Republican” myself, I will miss this breath of fresh air that is increasingly rare in today’s politics.

Sen. Snowe has been very active in promoting spectrum legislation. She introduced incentive auction legislation in March 2011. In July 2010 she introduced the Spectrum Measurement and Policy Reform Act. In March 2011 she introduced a bill to allow commissioners to appoint technical advisers and require the National Academy of Sciences to study the FCC's technical policy and policymaking decisions and the personnel available to inform those decisions. She also was active on legislation to limit taxes on cell phone use.

One of Sen. Snowe’s great contributions to spectrum policy deliberations was having a knowledgeable staffer, Matt Hussey, who spent a lot of time on spectrum issues and was very accessible to a wide range of people as he sought out a variety of viewpoints for her office.

Sen Snowe contributed greatly to spectrum policy issues and will be missed. Here is a great interview with her on a wide number of issues, unfortunately not including spectrum: