Behind The Hoopla of The National Broadband Plan

The promulgation of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan caused near-orgasmic pleasure among policy wonks in D.C. and elsewhere – if only for the reason that it showed that the FCC appears to care about bringing our country’s true communicative potential into the 21st century.
But now that everybody’s had a chance to look under the hood, so to speak, of the 376-page proposal, and I got to sniff the air in D.C. myself, it’s clear that the honeymoon – if there really was one – is over. Continue reading “Behind The Hoopla of The National Broadband Plan”

Seeking Spectrum's Historical Picture

An interesting research project has fallen into my lap from a professor with whom I had a pretty cool class last semester. He seeks “historical visualizations” of spectrum, with an emphasis on how spectrum has been represented in the context of policy debates.
Quoth Christian Sandvig, “Here is a topic where people argue all the time about whether the spectrum is ‘full’ or ’empty’ (and about interference, whether things are ‘near’ or ‘far’, etc.) and yet the visual conventions that convey ‘fullness’ or ’emptiness’ or ‘nearness’ — how maps and diagrams and charts are made, with what shapes, at what scale — seems to be subject to a lot of cavalier manipulation.”
My task is to explore how this has occurred throughout policy-history, with deviation into related areas allowed if the graphics are compelling enough. It’s a somewhat daunting assignment because I can see getting lost in the hunt.