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Say goodbye to Speakeasy

----- Message Text -----
> From: John Chambers <jc at>
> Subject: Re: Say goodbye to Speakeasy

> One thing I notice in the FCC's release:
> (2) consumers are entitled to run applications and services of 
> their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement; ...
> This sounds like it's saying that the phone/cable companies can 
> no longer do port blocking, and can't kick you off for running 
> a server.
> It'll be interesting to see if this is enforced...

I was similarly curious. But watching the news conference that 
followed the FCC meeting (starting at 1 hour 11 minutes here: ) it became quite clear 
that the statement of principles 
is not something the FCC can enforce.

Chairman Martin clarified his own position in his brief 
accompanying statement: 
Notably, he stated: "Indeed, cable and telephone companies 
practices already track well the internet principles we endorse 
today.  I remain confident that the marketplace will continue to 
ensure that these principles are maintained.  I also am 
confident, therefore, that regulation is not, nor will be, 

As it happens, there is right now another very pressing FCC 
matter that could have a major long-term impact on broadband 
choices in the Boston Metropolitan area. Even just a few comments 
right now submitted to the FCC seem vitally needed (the matter 
is drawing little public attention).

Back in March, the FCC issued a rule, praised by consumer 
advocates and Wireless ISPs, intended to open up a the 3650 to 
3700 MHz band. The plan was for there to be an unlimited number 
of licensees throughout the country, with an easy online 
application process, no eligibility restrictions to speak of, and 
with all licensees having a mutual obligation to cooperate and 
avoid harmful interference to each other. That band is currently 
used for Fixed Satellite Stations and they would continue to use 
it in and near their facilities which are mostly on the East and 
West Coasts, and exclusion zones around those facilities would 
prevent much of any usage nearby. But there's no such facility 
near Boston and so we could be beneficiaries of new uses of that 
spectrum. along with cities like Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, 
Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Kansas 
City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oklahoma CIty, Phoenix, 
San Antonio, and Tucson and almost all rural areas.

The power limits and other aspects of that FCC decision would
make it much easier for free and low-cost networks to be deployed
that could reach greater distances, with radio signals carrying
broadband Internet access through walls and ceilings and other
obstacles more effectively than low-power WiFi devices. More
detail here:


Unfortunately, after the decision was issued, there was a time 
period for those opposing the decision to file a Request for 
Reconsideration and nine parties have done so including some, 
such as Intel and Motorola, who are asking for there to be severe 
restrictions on who can use the spectrum. Rather than opening it 
up for anyone to use, Motorola is requesting that the 50 MHz of 
spectrum be divided into two 25 MHz blocks with each auctioned 
off to the highest bidder. Intel and a couple of others signed 
another petition calling for all that spectrum also to be divided 
among just two exclusive licensees in most major metropolitan 
areas, including Boston. And the Wireless Communications 
Association called for half the 50 MHz of spectrum to be made 
available to just one exclusive licensee in each rural and urban 
area that isn't already excluded by the presence of Fixed 
Satellite Stations.

The filing of the Petitions for Reconsideration and their 
availability for review was published in the Federal Register 
July 27, setting off a fifteen day period for opposition to the 
Petitions for Reconsideration to be filed. Those comments are due 
by August 11 (there still may be an opportunity to file comments 
"ex parte" after that but it's better for them to arrive before 
the deadline if possible).

I hope folks on this list hoping for serious Boston area 
broadband competition, including providers that allow us to run 
home servers, will consider filing at least a brief comment 
thanking the FCC for their original decision to open up the 
spectrum for broad for-profit and nonprofit use and in your 
comment opposing the attempt to instead have much or all of the 
spectrum auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Changes in the composition of the FCC and its staff since the 
March decision make it especially vulnerable at this point...

You can review previous comments that have been filed, including
the Petitions for Reconsideration at the FCC web site by entering
04-151 in the search bar in the top left corner at

See how easy it is to file a comment with the FCC...
just enter 04-151 as the proceeding number here:


complete the brief form, selecting Reply to Petition for
Reconsideration in the drop down box at the bottom, and then
either upload your comment or type it into the text entry box...

Just a paragraph thanking the FCC for opening up the spectrum and 
opposing the idea that the rights to the spectrum would instead 
be auctioned to the highest bidder would be a huge help.

             - Steve Ronan

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