The man who headed up the FCC’s National Broadband Plan talks about the plan’s implementation and his view that access is as much about our society’s values as it is about laying out the plumbing for a better Internet across the country. Levin also shared his thoughts on how broadband is vital to sharing information within communities and its role in the future of journalism.
With the passage of legislation authorizing incentive auctions of TV spectrum for wireless broadband use, broadcasters scored a victory in getting numerous safeguards included. Good job. But if the FCC, broadcasters and broadband proponents could have found a way to work together, they could all have been winners. They could have found a plan that produces the extra spectrum that’s needed for broadband and improves rather than degrades broadcasting service.
The chief architect of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan says the incentive auction of TV spectrum is unlikely to produce much spectrum for wireless broadband or money for the federal treasury. Why? NAB-backed provisions designed to protect broadcasters in the authorizing legislation will expose the auction to crippling litigation. “Congratulations to [NAB President] Gordon Smith,” he says. “He did a great job. He did the job he was hired to do…. But let’s not kid ourselves: That’s not putting the United States first.”
FCC National Broadband Plan architect Blair Levin is advising broadcasters to come up with a plan of their own for advancing their spectrum future — he suggests a move to the more spectrally efficient MPEG-4 transmission standard — rather than digging in their heels on the FCC’s spectrum reclamtion-repacking proposal.
Blair Levin, former executive director of the National Broadband Plan — a report that was presented to Congress last March and was supposed to serve as a blue print for policy makers to bring ubiquitous access for broadband to all Americans — talks about how he thinks things are shaping up for the plan’s implementation.Ã¯Â»Â¿