Originally published: January 5, 2010
Last updated: January 5, 2010 - 10:42pm
Federal Communications Commission member Robert McDowell will appear on C-Span's "The Communicators" this weekend.
During the taping, he indicated that it is unclear whether the national broadband plan being prepared by the agency will be voted on by commissioners. And he said that after the plan is presented to Congress on Feb. 17, it won't be "self-executing" or "legally binding" but will likely spin off a number of new policy endeavors at the FCC such as the reform of a federal phone subsidy program called the Universal Service Fund.
Commissioner McDowell talked about spectrum allocation and the debate between broadcasters and wireless providers over airwaves. McDowell said that there is a need for more spectrum, but that there will also be demand for broadcasters and wireless providers to make the use of spectrum more efficient. He said white spaces or unlicensed airwaves could help meet demand for wireless broadband services. He said the technology, known as WiFi on steroids, could also help solve other public policy goals such as network neutrality.
When asked about Google's push yesterday to build and run a national database for commercial devices to access unlicensed airwaves, McDowell said the agency should look into whether there would be a conflict. He said the administrator of a database would be a "neutral third party."
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