So, since Marcus is located here in the Washington, D.C., area, I gave him a call after I responded to his email. Let me say first that Dr. Marcus (he has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering-something I don't have) is a very nice guy who knows a lot about this topic. We were able to have a really interesting, very technical discussion on communications technology policy without having to explain acronyms to each other. It was like a breath of fresh air.
I can find fault with his position in two areas. First, he's an Air Force veteran, when everyone knows that true communications knowledge is found only in the Navy. Second, he doesn't completely agree with me about the FCC and its approval of the LightSquared data communications plan, which I think has the potential to interfere with GPS use. Obviously, not agreeing with me is cause for suspicion.
But we found common ground in some areas, one of which is that the FCC could be doing a better job than it is. He pointed out that the FCC can take basically forever to approve anything, to the point that any innovative technology has a greater likelihood of being rendered irrelevant than of getting approved. I think that the approval process as well as many of the other actions by the FCC are based mostly on politics, not technology.
The approval of the LightSquared data service was clearly an effort by the FCC to make the White House happy. Nobody bothered to look at the potential consequences. Other similar actions also didn't get looked at, but for a different reason-they got so bogged down by inaction that nothing got looked at.
Meanwhile, the FCC spends its time, not to mention millions of dollars and tons of credibility on worrying about whether Janet Jackson's breast was briefly seen on television. This is communications policy? Really?
Shouldn't communications policy be focused on making sure that there's a coherent plan to provide effective use of the wireless spectrum to all of those who need to use it? Shouldn't there be some means of actually getting intelligent decisions made in a timely manner? Instead, what we have is a totally political group making policy on the advancement of technology when its members know only politics, not technology. I think there's something wrong with this picture.