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new potential band threat

 hey guys, i saw this on the space com bbs. thought someone on this list
may find it 
worrysome as well.
 the story has a assoc. press byline so it improves the credibility
somewhat. i pasted
it below.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government is developing plans to treat
airwaves as commodities to be bought and sold on the open market. 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials say they are working on
rules that would create a trading system in which telecommunications
companies could bid on frequencies that are owned by other companies but
are underused. 

FCC Chairman Bill Kennard has laid out a series of steps to better
utilize existing portions of the airwaves. For example, license holders
that aren't using all of their frequencies could post that availability
on a website for other interested companies. 

Last week, the FCC created a new class of commercial licensees called
"guard band managers." They will receive their licenses through the
normal bidding process. But then the managers could turn around and lease
slices of the airwaves to commercial service providers or third parties. 

"This is an innovative and efficient approach to licensing," Kennard

Under the current system, the government licenses each user and regulates
what frequencies and signal power it can use. The oldest licenses were
given free; recent ones were sold to the industry. The rights have never
been bought and sold in a secondary market. 

Government officials worry that demand for airwaves is outstripping
supply because of the proliferation of cellular telephones, pagers,
satellite services and other wireless devices. The volume of traffic on
the internet, the FCC says, doubles every 100 days, increasingly through
wireless connections such as cell phones and handheld computers. 

"For your industry and for the commission, the biggest challenge is the
dwindling supply of quality spectrum," Kennard told the wireless industry
at a convention last month. 

In deregulating the spectrum to create the new market, the FCC would be
enabling licensees who own the rights to a slice of the airwaves to
profit from any surplus, such as parts not in use 24 hours a day. 

The FCC is expected to auction frequencies this spring that are
particularly good for delivering wireless internet service to home and
handheld computers. These currently belong to analog TV broadcasters
using channels 60 to 69. Those broadcasters will eventually shift to
digital and have to give up those analog channels, but that could take

Kennard is urging broadcasters currently occupying those analog channels
to voluntarily negotiate deals with the auction winners so that the
airwaves can start being put to use to provide wireless data and other
services as soon as possible. 

Also, the commission this week is looking into a new technology that
would enable devices like cell phones to receive signals from different
frequencies. Called software-defined radio, the technology uses a
computer chip rather than a receiver. It could allow wireless carriers to
create a network for their services from a patchwork of frequencies. 

Alan Bethel KE6QIS
Stensat Control Op.
Grid CN70vs
E-mail ke6qis@juno.com

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