Sunday, January 25, 2009

DTV Hold and Politics of Change (Updated, Revised, Again)

Thought that I owed everyone the article that started me down this path. This one looks at the delay based primarily on the merits and is relatively neutral in tone. DTV Transition encounters Static GCN is a trade magazine targeted at the Federal Computer market - sort of a clipping service.

The current administration was elected on a promise of change. One of the prominently mentioned changes was that the Administration would be transparent. The president has said that lobbyists need not apply for positions in his administration. How has the reality played out?

In at least one area, the administration has failed to as transparent as it needs to be to keep rumor and speculation from running rampant. In 2005 as part of the Omnibus (Ominous) Spending bill S. 1932 Title III Sections 3002, 3003, 3004 bear on the Digital TV transition scheme. (Text of S. 1932) When the bill was passed there was speculation from consumer advocacy groups that the funding level established for the coupon program was insufficient. (FoxNews from 2005)

We now know that those consumer advocates were correct about the funding. That is now being used as a reason to delay the transition by 4 months. But that isn't the real problem facing the administration. Their point man briefing members of the House and Senate is Gerry Salemme who is based on the most recent SEC filings a director of ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited. Also based on SEC filings for Eagle River Investments, LLC the board of Eagle River has substantial interlocks with the Board of ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited.

-- Cool tool for exploring relationships news.muckety.com --

This is the fair and mostly above the board part of the issue. Another item in play is the roll out of Fourth Generation (4G) Cellular Networks. These networks are intended to run in a portion of the commercial broadcast spectrum currently occupied by Analog Broadcast TV signals. Interestingly one major player in the US Sprint is ready to roll out a 4G net work on a segment of the spectrum that is already cleard while Verizon will have to wait for the TV spectrum to contract before rolling out its 4G network. For LTE (Verizon) vs WiMax(Sprint, Clearwire) a very interesting article by Julian Sanchez on Ars Techinca.

Let us say that the timing and team membership are worth looking at carefully. The old latin phrase caveat emptor (buyer beware) may apply here. The new transparency is looking a lot like the old school politics of influence. Its hard to see much difference between this crowd and the S. F. B. Morse Western Union telegraph bunch from the 1850's.

Further reading:

J Sanchez:
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20090114-4g-war-conflict-of-interests-loom-behind-possible-dtv-delay.html
http://arstechnica.com/journals/law.ars/2009/01/15/asecond-helping-of-salemme-more-questions-about-dtv-delay

http://www.freep.com/article/20090109/BLOG01/90109038/Delay+digital+TV++Obama+urges

Atlantic http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/01/all_politics_is_interest_group.php

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10149361-94.html

2 comments:

newine said...

Mark my words: the term 'slick' as applied to presidents will change hands very soon. Bill will be only mildly disappointed.

tigger23505 said...

Thanks Newine, the word that I'm thinking of is Teflon®