Wireless

New York, D.C. and Title II

December 19, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

The Washington Post has been reporting a number of stories attempting to show that network operators are telling Wall Street and Washington two entirely different stories, but the statements made tell a different story.

ITIF Files Amicus Brief in Google v. Joffe Supreme Court Petition

May 7, 2014
| Testimony and Filings

ITIF has filed an amicus brief supporting Google's petition to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Google Inc. v. Joffe et al case. In that case, Google is accused of illegally intercepting transmissions from open WiFi networks during its Street View project. ITIF believes that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals needlessly treats modern digital communications different from old analog communications, creating confusion and uncertainty for innovators and IT security professionals and warranting review by the Supreme Court.

The Wiretap Act generally allows anyone to listen to radio communications that are not secured to be made private. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that WiFi transmissions are not considered "radio communications." 

ITIF contends that the Ninth Circuit was incorrect in holding that only "predominantly auditory broadcasts" like AM/FM radio are considered "radio communications." The court's reading is contrary to the plain meaning of the term "radio communication" and difficult to square with the rest of the Wiretap act. The law has a difficult enough time keeping up with technology without the introduction of arbitrary distinctions based on outmoded radio technologies. We should generally favor policies and interpretations that treat similar technologies alike. When WiFi access points are not encrypted, the communications it sends are available to the public using off-the-shelf equipment similar to a CB radio or walkie-talkie. The Supreme Court should clarify that these radio technologies are treated the same under the Wiretap Act.

What “radio communication” means  is  an important question of federal law because the narrow definition adopted by the court of appeals calls into question the legality of standard techniques used by  IT professionals across the country every day to secure and optimize wireless networks. The lack of clarity that results from the court of appeals’ decision makes it harder for IT professionals to secure wireless networks, threatening the security of our nation’s wireless infrastructure.

View ITIF's amicus brief on Google v. Joffe filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

A Communications Act Update Should Continue to Liberalize Spectrum Management

April 25, 2014
| Testimony and Filings

ITIF filed comments with the House Energy and Commerce Committee making a number of recommendations related to spectrum policy under a Communications Act Update. ITIF recommended an Update continue down the path of liberalizing spectrum management and attempt to decentralize interference mitigation to licensees. Numerous other recommendations included an expanded role for unlicensed in higher spectrum bands that can accommodate user-controlled devices, and that the Committee work towards a structure to incentivize more efficient use of federal spectrum, favoring relinquishment where economically feasible. 

Channel Sharing Pilot Holds Promise

January 29, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

Two Los Angeles television stations have volunteered for an experimental pilot to share infrastructure and spectrum for their broadcasts. Such channel sharing is potentially a valuable tool to ensure a successful incentive auction, helping transition to more valuable uses of spectrum. 

ITIF Files Amicus Brief in Google Street View Case

Post-Sandy Telecom Melodrama

July 8, 2013
| Blogs & Op-eds

An AP story is making the rounds about an 85 year old heart patient who can no longer connect his pacemaker to his doctor from his home in Mantoloking, N. J. because Verizon has replaced his wired telephone service with a wireless equivalent. The kernel of truth in the story is that Verizon is not going to replace the copper telephone wires. Copper telephone wire is an obsolete technology that costs an awful lot to replace. 

The volume of mobile data traffic doubled from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, and grew 28% between the third and fourth quarter of 2012.

Akamai found that in the fourth quarter of 2012, average connection speeds on surveyed mobile network providers ranged from a high of 8 mbps down to 345 kbps. average peak connection speeds for the quarter ranged from 44 mbps down to 2.7 mbps. based on data collected by Ericsson, the volume of mobile data traffic grew 28% between the third and fourth quarter of 2012, and doubled from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012.

What's on the Agenda for the New FCC?

April 25, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
1101 K Street NW
Suite 610A
Washington
DC
20005

With the departure of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert McDowell, the agency will be resetting its goals for this year and the next, settling open issues, and possibly opening new inquiries. Read more »

What's on the Agenda for the New FCC?

April 25, 2013
A panel of experts and stakeholders examine the issues and offer their recommendations for the next Chairman's agenda.

With the departure of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert McDowell, the agency will be resetting its goals for this year and the next, settling open issues, and possibly opening new inquiries. Key issues that remain unresolved include the phase-out of the public switched telephone network and the transition to all-IP broadband networks, spectrum reassignment and interference, high speed broadband deployment and adoption, universal service for both wired and mobile broadband, content retransmission rules, and net neutrality.  Read more »

See video

The Search for More Spectrum

Federal Computer Week
To address spectrum allocation issues Rob Atkinson suggested creating an independent commission similar to the base closure panel set up in the 90’s to address military contraction.
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