Thursday, December 30, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

2004 and the Digital Broadband Migration

'04 is almost over. How will it be remembered, for the purposes of this space? We're gonna need a montage...

We're #11 in broadband deployment! "Going Phishing" now has a far more sinister connotation than following a certain band from Vermont. Rural ILECs do pretty well with your universal service dollars, thank you. The NextWave saga ends. We're #13 in broadband deployment! Goodbye UNE-P, hello VoIP. Broadband trumps dial-up. The Intercarrier Compensation forum. Cable a la carte. The Order. The Vonage Order. The FCC Kidzone. BPL trials. WiMax trials. Stratellite trials. USTA II. Brand X. Muni Broadband. Triple play. 'Net Freedom. 'Net Neutrality. Nipple brooches. NARUC. FTTP. FTTC. Fios. VOD. DVRs. IPods. Skype. Google. Duke loses to UConn. Fade to black.

Of course, what's a proper end-of-year retrospective without some sort of award. After consideration of several worthy nominees, the Rentseeker of the Year recipient is...

The Parents' Television Council. Even if they are anywhere close to reportedly backing 99.8% of the indecency complaints filed at the FCC this year, this is an impressive display of rentseeking behavior. A few weeks ago, I wondered what broadcast programming would consistently look like should the PTVC run the table, and then I saw an ad for a holiday music spectacular starring Clay Aiken and Barry Manilow. That seemed about right.

Now, on to 2005. In its Top Ten Trends for 2005, Red Herring anticipates "The Death of Distance." (David Isenberg properly blasts this header by stating that "distance is so dead its corpse stinks.") If Red Herring can pass off forward-looking statements like this to paid subscribers, I can pass off ridiculous forward-looking statements to web surfers. Bust out the crystal ball.

1. "Stevens & Inouye" will rival Hall & Oates. Get your "Telecom reform listening tour" shirts before they're sold out! Public hearings like these always draw the most interesting (and self-interested) people. And speaking of Hall & Oates...

2. Air Supply to headline the Aspen Summit. Maybe not, but I was quite envious to learn that Heart will be participating at an upcoming VON conference, which continues to add verve to the conference template. So, perhaps we can have our own 80's revival. Ice cream break featuring Journey? Happy hour featuring Tears for Fears? I am very serious about this.

3. President Bush will not utter the word "broadband" in public. It was worth a few points for both presidential candidates to throw out some general ideas on broadband deployment, but the Administration hasn't shown that it is really serious about it. Had Kerry won, his name probably would have been inserted here instead. Just playing the odds.

4. Cell phone use on airplanes will be one of the most important communications issues...for public consumption. It has already begun. The FCC has posted instructions on its home page for the public to comment on the issue - which is unconventional. Leaving no stone unturned, Commissioner Copps seeks "to determine precisely what jurisdiction the FCC has over the annoying-seatmate issue." First off, the no brainer here would be the value added for users of data applications. And while I, too, worry about the annoying-seatmate, to the extent this adds yet one more option for a seatmate to be annoying, I would think that the issue can be worked out in the market.

Happy New Year to you, PFF blog readers, and to all of the folks at PFF.

posted by @ 10:48 AM | Broadband