Time For National Broadband

The FCC has finally introduced their National Broadband Plan. The sooner the better, I say.

PBS Newshour did a good piece on it, interviewing Chairman Genachowski…

According to ars technica, we’ve been down this road before, especially the wireless spectrum portion…

Between 2006 and early 2009, the agency actively vetted a proposal by M2Z Networks to provide a free, wireless broadband across the United States. The FCC would lease a national spectrum license to M2Z in the Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3) band area (2155-2175MHz), and the company would offer a free, advertising-funded, 512Kpbs broadband service that filtered out indecent content. Consumers would be able to access the band area via an attachment device on their computer. The firm would also offer a faster, unfiltered premium service and pay the government 5 percent each year from its gross revenues. Once granted this band, M2Z would commit to rolling out the smut-free network to 95 percent of the US population over the course of a decade.

M2Z launched a spirited campaign to generate public interest in its proposal, which came complete with a small battalion of endorsers. “I know many Utahns would welcome the opportunity to provide their children with the educational and economic opportunity which broadband access can provide without having to become software engineers in order to protect their children,” Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) wrote to the FCC in 2007.

But while the idea received lots of shout-outs from family advocacy groups and members of Congress, the FCC rejected just granting the spectrum to a chosen entity. Then in 2008, agency chair and values voter Republican Kevin Martin came up with an alternative proposal to run an auction of that license zone—the winning bidder promising to abide by M2Z’s commitments and rules.

Seems the broadcasters are in favor of reallocating spectrum, so let’s have at it.

Firetruck

You can only control so much of what your kids see and hear. Once they’re in school, your kids’ vocabulary gets mashed up with others, resulting in, for example, first graders learning “firetruck” is a substitute or code word for “the F word.”

How and where do 1st and 2nd graders get that? At home?

Yes, I’ve changed. Parenting will do that to you. Indecent language is an interesting topic and it concerns the highest court in the land — and Rupert Murdoch.

The case before the Supreme Court (FCC v. Fox Television Stations, 07-582) had this ruling being issued recently, as reported by TV Newsday and the AP:

The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Tuesday in favor of a government policy that threatens broadcasters with fines over the use of even a single curse word on live television, yet stopped short of deciding whether the policy violates the Constitution.

In six separate opinions totalling 68 pages, the justices signaled serious concerns about the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s “fleeting expletives” policy, but called on a federal appeals court to weigh whether it violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

Yes, the FCC rules over broadcast television and radio. Kids watch TV and listen to the radio (mine listen to satellite radio in the car, but I know which stations to avoid and which are “safe”). They’ll hear the bad words from others, but not at home. There are no “fleeting expletives” here.

Well, guess what? My kids are on the Internet, doing searches. We watch what they do and where they go, but it only takes a few seconds to click on an “indecent” link. I think “decency” varies from one culture to another, and, as any anthropologist will tell you, culture is always changing, adapting, evolving.

I was listening to George Carlin’s “Class Clown” album at age 12 (with my brother, who was 9 at the time) at my neighbor’s, who had older siblings. It was their record and we got a kick out of the “seven words you can’t say on television.” See that? That was 35+ years ago. Think it’s easier now? Hardly.

Personally, ads for ED drugs and some personal care products don’t belong on TV between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.