Teletruth Files $8 Billion Against Big Telecom in Spectrum Auction Fraud

May 14, 2006

The following is a press release from Teletruth: "Teletruth, established in 2002, has been an amazing experiment in customer advocacy and there is no other group that has dedicated its focus to representing the rights of all telecom and broadband customers."

Wireless Spectrum Fraud by AT&T, Cingular (SBC & BellSouth), Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint? Are these "Very Small Businesses"?Teletruth Estimates Over $8 Billion Was Pocketed through Deceptive Practices in Wireless Spectrum Auctions. FCC, SEC and Other Violations Need Investigation.

Upcoming (June 2006) Wireless Broadband Auctions in Jeopardy: Small Businesses Screwed.

"Teletruth today filed an $8 billion complaint alleging that Verizon, AT&T, Cingular (SBC, AT&T and BellSouth), T-Mobile, Sprint and others rigged the FCC wireless auctions by creating false fronts to pose as "very small businesses". This allowed these companies to secure valuable wireless spectrum at discounted prices. This Complaint was filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and various committees in Congress. . .""The story is simple. The FCC auctions off something called "Spectrum", which is used for wireless services, broadband services, television, radio, etc. Also known as the "airwaves", the American people own these airwaves and give licenses for the use of these airwaves. . ."

Read the rest of the press release here.


Media Minutes for Feburary 24, 2006

February 26, 2006

This week on Media Minutes:

"The promise exists to dramatically expand access to wireless broadband by recycling analog TV spectrum. And the federal government spends billions on propaganda, while plans are in the works for even more."

Listen here.

To listen to past editions of Media Minutes visit this link.

Broadband in Every Pot

January 5, 2006

An interesting article on the possible use of the analog spectrum as a result of the looming DTV transition.*******************
from the Center for Creative Voice in Media Blog


The LA Times editorializes that in the transition to Digital TV, now scheduled for early 2009, DC policymakers should not resell all the old analog spectrum they get back (if they ever do get it back) from broadcasters. Instead, they should reserve a sliver of spectrum for unlicensed wireless broadband access, bringing affordable broadband to many more Americans. This is even more critical now, with the Brand X decision enabling today's incumbent broadband providers — cable and telcos — to discriminate among content and direct consumers to websites that "pay for play."

Washington should leave some of the reclaimed frequencies open to the public without need for lease or license. With the right technologies and rules to guard against interference, these airwaves could not only enable community-based high-speed Internet services, but provide a laboratory for wireless innovation. By opening a few slivers of the spectrum to unlicensed wireless data services in 1986, the FCC made possible an explosion in Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity, communication gear and services that continues to this day. The reclaimed analog TV frequencies hold even more promise. Rather than mining every bit for auction revenue, lawmakers should reserve some of the airwaves for whatever services and applications that innovative technologists and community groups can squeeze into them.

Net neutrality and ubiquitous wireless broadband. That's the ticket!

Full article from LA Times here

More DTV Transition Updates & Resources from the Benton Foundation

December 20, 2005

Download the Benton Foundation's DTV Transition Bill Comparison (Matrix) to see how each bill spells out what's at stake with the digital television transitition.

In a Press Release from the Benton Foundation, Charles Benton, chairman of the Benton Foundation said:

"As the final decisions about the DTV transition now move to the Federal Communications Commission, critical questions remain unanswered: Will DTV broadcasters provide the necessary civic programming before elections necessary for an informed democracy, or will democracy itself be left behind? Will the DTV future include a variety of voices and views, or will the nation's diversity be left behind? Will DTV provide truly educational content, or will our children be left behind? Will DTV programming be accessible, or will people with sight- or hearing-impairments be left behind?

Download The Citizens' Guide to the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Brodcasters here.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! The DTV Transition and Congress

December 19, 2005

As I noted on my blog last week, the political wrangling over the transition from analog to digital television is becoming a total mess!

And now this:

“The House of Representatives on Monday approved legislation to complete the country's transition to new, higher-quality digital television by February 17, 2009. Under a deal negotiated by Republicans in the Senate and House, a $5 billion fund would be created to help some consumers buy converter boxes so existing analog television signals do not go dark when the transition is finished.” (Find it here)

The key word being "some".

Maybe because:

"Current law requires stations to switch to airing only digital broadcasts when 85 percent of the country can receive the new signals, or by December 31, 2006, whichever comes later." (Read it here)

85%! I'm no math wizard, buy I know 85% percent of the country is not everyone.

And also this:

“By contrast, the House Commerce version sets a Dec. 31, 2008, date and only sets aside a little under $1 billion for the subsidy, and makes it a first-come, first-served program with a couple of administrative hoops to jump through, that may not cover everyone who needs it.” (Check it here)

But, what's most infuriating is this, from Markey’s interview on C-Span that I blogged about when he said:

“the Republicans want to use the funds that are going to be raised from auctioning off the analog spectrum for a tax break for people who are in the upper one percentile!”

Ah, yes. 'Tis the season…

Community Media Well Represented at FCC Hearing

November 20, 2005

(via Media Policy Blog)

Community Media was represented well on a panel at the FCC on Media Ownership Rules Friday November 18th. The panel included presentations and Q&A with Juan Gonzalez, Hannah Sassaman of Prometheus Radio, Tony Riddle of the Alliance for Community, and David Honig of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.

The agenda included:
• Panel discussion on Perspectives on Telecommunications Competition and Consumers
• Panel discussion on Media Ownership and Consumer Interest
• Recommendation Concerning Consumer Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters
• Recommendation Regarding Access to VRS Networks
• Public Participation via New Information and Communication Technologies at the FCC
• Demonstration of Captioning and DTV

Click here to visit the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee Home Page.

McCain advances 2008 analog cutoff

November 3, 2005

From Multichannel News, November 2, 2005
By Ted Hearn

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment Wednesday designed to end analog television April 7, 2008, one year sooner than the cutoff date approved by the Senate Commerce Committee two weeks ago.

McCain — who unveiled his amendment on the Senate floor during debate on a budget bill — said he supported 2008 because it would expedite the transfer of analog-TV spectrum to first-responder groups that have complained of wireless-communications problems at crisis locations.

In his floor comments, McCain lashed out at the National Association of Broadcasters, saying that he was “sick and tired” that the trade group continued to put the interests of “television viewers” ahead of the lives of first responders.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) — who supports April 7, 2009, as the analog cutoff — said McCain’s 2008 hard date was inappropriate because it would not fit the bill’s schedule for analog-TV-spectrum auctions, which will generate the revenue to provide $3 billion for set-top-box subsidies.

“It will destroy the process we are in. I urge the Senate not to adopt it,” Stevens said.

McCain offered an amendment in committee that called for an April 7, 2007, analog deadline, but he lost in a 17-5 vote.

The Senate is expected to vote on McCain’s amendment Thursday or Friday. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) was expected to offer an amendment trimming set-top subsidies from $3 billion to $1 billion or less.