• On November 15, 2010, NTIA released a long-awaited study on freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum for fixed and mobile wireless broadband in the next ten years, a benchmark set by President Obama in a June 2010 Memorandum. The report identifies numerous areas where spectrum might be available, sets an “aggressive” timetable to free up 500 MHz of spectrum, and calls for various incentives to encourage that identified spectrum to be released. The report is available here. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski praised the report, stating that it outlined important short-term and long-term approaches to reach the 500 MHz goal.
  • Also on the topic of spectrum, on November 15, 2010, Chairman Genachowski spoke at the NARUC Annual Meeting in Atlanta. He identified the upcoming items at the FCC’s November 30 meeting that are designed to help ease the upcoming “spectrum crunch.” Chairman Genachowski said that incentive auctions and Universal Service reform are key steps to bringing broadband to more people and businesses. The Chairman’s speech is available here.
  • On November 17, 2010, Chairman Genachowski spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on open Internet issues, including the Google-Verizon proposal. Although, he noted, it is a “good thing” when open Internet adversaries come to agreement on some principles, the Google-Verizon proposal slowed down the process at the FCC. The Chairman stated that the FCC is moving forward on open Internet rules in some form, without getting into specifics, but noted that all options remain on the table, including Title I authority. He also highlighted a number of “boring and geeky” efforts undertaken by the FCC to support broadband growth such as releasing spectrum and pole attachment rules.
  • The FCC announced several upgrades to the spectrum dashboard available at www.broadband.gov, including advanced search and the ability to download results. More information is available here.
  • On November 16, 2010, FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps spoke at the Future of the Internet public hearing in Albuquerque, NM. He stated that broadband will be vital to any economic recovery, and that an open Internet is critical to a free press and responsible media. He also warned that the FCC and public should not accept a “trust us” from the gatekeepers of the Internet when it comes to preserving an open Internet. His speech is available here.
  • Comment dates have been set for the Mobility Fund Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (see October 18 edition of This Week in Telecom). The NPRM “proposes the creation of a new Mobility Fund to make available one-time support to significantly improve coverage of current-generation or better mobile voice and Internet service for consumers in areas where such coverage is currently missing. The [FCC] seeks comment on creating the Mobility Fund using reserves accumulated in the Universal Service Fund and on the use of a reverse auction to make one-time support available to service providers to cost-effectively extend mobile coverage in specified unserved areas.” Comments are due December 16, 2010, and Reply Comments are due January 18, 2011. More details are available here.