Friday, September 20, 2013

The FCC and Reality

The FCC is typically a mass of attorneys. There are a few economists and a technical type or two. I have been in and out of the place for four decades or more. Their rulings are all too often highly political and their understanding of technology often a decade behind. They are often a deer in the headlights when it comes to leading edge technology until it runs over them.

But the following from The Hill is truly amazing:

Radio communications has been a persistent problem for public safety officials, hampering the responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as Hurricane Katrina.

Emergency responders lobbied Congress successfully to authorize a $7 billion nationwide wireless network — which is not yet in operation— that could help improve radio communications during disasters.

“The FCC will continue to monitor, evaluate and respond as needed to help ensure our nation's communications infrastructure works when people need it most. These are the times when Americans must be able to communicate with family, friends and emergency personnel,” said acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman .... Tuesday.

 Of course we spent $7 billion on a wireless network, which is not finished and does not work. But the FCC has no control over any implementation other than slowing them down. Yes people need to communicate and there are many ways to do it. The DC problem was that they went into a secure building, often protected against RF intrusion, so would one not expect that a radio would not work. Try using a cell phone in Langley, unless you are thew Director and DDO.

The FCC does not design radios, it does not develop system designs, it does not attest to specific use, it does not manufacture. It regulates, and in so doing delimits often at the behest of third party interests. One need look no further than frequency re-allocations.

One wonders why politicians make statements that just do not make any sense if one had understood the facts which in effect the person in that position should have. Welcome to Washington!