Reed Hundt Talks



Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt formed Frontline Wireless to build a nationwide emergency communications network using 700 MHz spectrum. Frontline bailed out of the auction just before it began, but is widely regarded as a visionary.

Reed spoke with Telephony Magazine in an exclusive interview this week.

On a national emergency communications network:


First the FCC has to declare the [700 MHz spectrum] auction to be over. Second we have to find out whether or not anybody bought the D block. I think we’ll know both these things—what’s today? Wednesday? I think we’ll know by Friday or Monday. Third the FCC has to announce who won the auction, and actually their rules say they won’t necessarily do that. They have to be realistic; they have to tell everybody. So the smoke has to clear.

On changing the Universal Service Fund:


I think the FCC is paying attention to something minor while something major is going unaddressed. What’s major is the U.S. is the only developed country in the world without a broadband policy. We’ve not had a real broadband policy in eight years. The FCC and the White House have collaborated in trying to convince the media and the people that everything is peachy whereas global travelers all know that Japan and England and France and Germany are way ahead of the U.S. in terms of broadband.

On municipal broadband:

There just aren’t very many [muni broadband providers]. The reason [the muni broadband model] is not viable is because there’s not enough money in municipalities to pay for it. Period. End of story. And there never is going to be.

On P2P throttling:

This issue of what Comcast and others are doing–that is just a reflection of the lack of a broadband policy. The problem with Comcast, the problem with the telephone companies is that they’re not delivering 100 Mb/s. The problem is not that they’re throttling P2P. Here’s what we ought to say: We want 100 Mb/s. We want it to be at the world’s lowest price. If we had 100 Mb/s, we’re not going to talk about throttling because there will be plenty of bandwidth.

On the U.S. wireless market:


[The U.S.] is the last market in the world that people choose to bring a new wireless product to. Not second or third–the absolute last. Right now the policy of the FCC has been to encourage AT&T and Verizon to become the twin Bells that dominate the wireless business. They’re allowed to buy all the spectrum they can find. The antitrust laws are waived and ignored every time they appear to be a problem. The FCC is the only spectrum auction entity in the world that does not carve out spectrum for new entrants.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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