October 18, 2005 Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation United States Senate



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October 18, 2005
Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation

United States Senate



Washington DC 20510
Dear Senators,
As entrepreneurs providing unlicensed wireless services throughout the United States, we urge the Senate Commerce Committee to approve legislative and regulatory policies that will expand the availability of unlicensed spectrum to promote affordable broadband access.
Congress should set aside portions of the digital broadcast band for unlicensed use and direct the FCC to complete its stalled rulemaking to open unassigned TV channels in each market (TV band “white space”) for unlicensed wireless broadband services. Use of these airwaves via an unlicensed wireless broadband platform would be of enormous benefit to consumers, public safety agencies, and small businesses that seek low-cost communications to promote job growth.
Greater availability of unlicensed spectrum in the high-penetration frequencies below 700 MHz will improve our local emergency communications networks, create broadband competition, and ensure that low-income, minority and rural households have both universal and affordable high-speed Internet access. From towns as diverse as Chaska, Minnesota, Coffman Cove, Alaska, Granbury, Texas and Philadelphia, hundreds of communities are opting to use unlicensed spectrum to facilitate high-speed wireless broadband networks to better serve their residents.
Greater availability of high-quality unlicensed spectrum will also create a booming marketplace for high-speed, high-capacity broadband and the technology and applications that accompany it. Hardware manufacturers, computer software makers, network operators, and Internet service providers all view unlicensed spectrum as a huge economic opportunity.
But the promise of new technology is stymied by our current spectrum policies. The best and most innovative uses of the public’s airwaves are restricted to a tiny sliver of our broadcast spectrum (the 2.4 GHz “Wi-Fi” band) that is shared with more than 250 million consumer gadgets—everything from baby monitors and cordless phones to garage door openers. Moreover, the capital cost of deploying wireless broadband networks is roughly three times higher at 2.4 GHz than below 1 GHz; battery life for mobile devices is shorter; and quality of service (particularly indoor coverage) is considerably worse.
The DTV transition legislation should include two key provisions that, together, will go far in securing spectrum for an unlicensed communications marketplace.
First, and most imperatively, Congress should direct the FCC to complete its work on rules that would open up the “white space” between TV channels that now lies fallow and wasted, for non-interfering unlicensed use. In most rural markets where broadband availability is badly needed, there are more than a dozen empty broadcast channels (in some cases two or three dozen). Using today’s “smart radio” technologies, Congress can leverage this vast swath of dormant public spectrum to generate local economic development (particularly in areas under-served by broadband), enhance our nation’s economic competitiveness, and create opportunities for entrepreneurs.
It is clear that the Commission needs to know that Congress wants the wasted spectrum below Channel 52 reallocated for broadband, subject to strict interference protections for television viewers (which are already outlined by the FCC in its rulemaking). The positive outcomes of this public policy are extraordinary.
Second, Congress should reserve portions of the broadcast bands for unlicensed use. One approach would be to set aside channels 2, 3, and 4 as dedicated unlicensed space. Few broadcasters have selected these channels for digital transmission and they are otherwise dormant. Another approach that would ensure a full range of applications for these new technologies would be to reserve some of the 10 returned analog channels on 700 MHz for unlicensed use, withholding that portion from auction. Reserving three channels (18 MHz) for unlicensed services – and auctioning seven (42 MHz) – would pay dividends to the economy far exceeding any temporary loss of auction revenue.
It is imperative that the American people benefit from the public airwaves in specific, concrete ways. The DTV bill may be the Senate’s best opportunity to promote affordable broadband nationwide and close the growing gap between the U.S. and our international competitors. The U.S. has fallen from 3rd to 16th in the world in broadband subscribers in the last few years. We remain among the worst performers in the industrialized world in terms of bit-speeds per dollar paid by the consumer for monthly service. This gap is both unacceptable and unsustainable for our long-term global competitiveness. Access to unlicensed spectrum will help close it.
Any legislation that fails to address the spectrum needs of Americans in the 21st century fails to serve the public interest. The DTV transition represents an historic opportunity to maximize efficient use of public resources to meet public needs. We urge you to ensure that all Americans benefit from it.

Sincerely,

John Scrivner
Mt. Vernon. Net, Inc.
Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Brian Rohrbacher

Reliable Internet, LLC


Lake Odessa, MI 48849 (and surrounding communities)
John Buwa

Michiana Wireless

Michiana, Indiana
Harry Gallagher

Qzip.net, Inc

Tomball, Texas
George Rogato
Technology Services Inc.
OregonFAST.net
Florence, Oregon
Greg Coffey
CoffeyNet /AllureTech

Casper, WY


Rick Harnish

OnlyInternet Broadband & Wireless, Inc.

Bluffton, IN
Todd Barber

Skylink Broadband Internet

Northern Colorado
Allen Pooley

Horizon Telecom/CTX Unwired

Seguin, Texas
Richard Herrmann

Zing LLC


Lisle, IL
David Hunt

Industrial Digital

Eugene, OR
Ben Buie

GoSuto Wireless

Abbeville, AL and Fort Gaines, GA
Jake R. Marsh
Owner - Island Pond Wireless
CTO - Cloud Alliance

Central and northeastern VT as well as northern NH


Eric Walter
Facspro Infotech Consulting, LLC
Facspro.Net

Serving Gothenburg, Brady and Maxwell Nebraska


Sascha Meinrath
CU Wireless Network

Acorn Active Media

Champagne Urbana, Illinois
Bob Moldashel

Lakeland Communications, Inc.   Holbrook, New York


LI-Sky, Inc.   Holbrook, New York
Gotham Bus Company    Mount Sinai, New York
Mike Bushard, Jr

Reliable Internet Services

Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Mac Dearman
Maximum Access, LLC.
Rayville, La.
Chuck Profito
PROFITO BROADBAND
Vernalis, CA
Bob Cosgrove
Signal Peak, Inc
Silver City, NM
Jory Privett

Willow Creek Computer Systems, LLC.

Bridgeport, Texas
Scott N. Madigan

Tphone.us

Cumming, GA
David Gower

Gower Computer Support, Inc. /Gower.Net

Vice-President, Texas Internet Service Provider's Assn.

Tyler, Texas


Cliff LeBoeuf

Computer Sales & Services, Inc.

Houma, LA
Dustin Jurman

Rapid Systems Corporation

Tampa, FL
Kerry Penland

BigTube Wireless, LLC


Caro, MI

Philip W. Jackson

CableGo Company

San Antonio, TX


Zack Brock

WavePulse.net Wireless ISP

Jacksonville, FL
Jack D. Martin, Jr.

Wireless Internet Service Providers LLC

Oilton, OK
Tom DeReggi
RapidDSL & Wireless, Inc

Boyds, MD


Sterling Jacobson

Rapidwave, LLC

Provo, UT
Jim Martin

JimmyWireless

Grayslake, IL
Jeff Pound

Personally Complete Wireless

Gaston, SC
Ken King

Lobo Internet

New Mexico
Anthony Will
Broadband Solutions
Victoria, serving over 3,000sq. miles in MN 
Craig Plunkett

CEDX Corporation, Wi-RAN, Fire Island Wireless, Urban Hotspots


New York

Tony Morella

Demarc Technology Group

A Wireless Solution Provider


Ed Thomas

Policy Advisor & Partner



Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP


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