Congressmen Support Boneheaded National Wireless Plan

Last month, I wrote a post entitled “Congressmen Oppose Boneheaded National Wireless Plan.” The post detailed how Republican Congressmen who were initially in favor of Chairman Martin’s harebrained scheme to use a valuable chunk of spectrum for a censored (what happened to his commitment to net neutrality?) nationwide wireless service are now opposing it.

Well, I guess in Washington, if one side is in against something, the other side must be for it. Now, a couple of Congressional Democrats have written a letter to Martin supporting the plan. They urge an end to testing for interference between the proposed wireless network and adjacent spectrum.

As I have written before, the national wireless plan is an incredibly bad idea. To quote:

If the plan were remotely economically viable, some private company would already have licensed the appropriate spectrum and tried it. Instead, as James Gattuso points out, the FCC’s latest move amounts to centrally-planned spectrum. Gattuso points out that the recent growth of spectrum-utilizing technology only came about when the FCC stopped controlling the airwaves so heavily – a success the FCC seems determined not to repeat.

The FCC plan is likely to suffer from the same problems that have beleagured municipal wireless plans, but on a national scale. As I summarized in an earlier post, such issues include “the lack of need, large expenditures, tendency to lock-in old technologies, security risks, and sketchy public-private partnerships.” Instead, the FCC should auction off the 2.1 GHz band with no conditions on how the winners are to use their spectrum. This would ensure that airwaves go to their most value-generating use – a use that the FCC clearly cannot predict.