Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
November 21, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 554.
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Boxer and Allen to Propose Legislation to Require Allocation of Unlicensed Spectrum
11/19. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. George Allen (R-VA) have prepared a Staff Working Draft of a bill to be named the "Jumpstart Broadband Act". It would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allocate 255 megahertz of contiguous spectrum below 6 gigahertz for unlicensed use by wireless broadband devices.

The two Senators plan to introduce the bill next year.

The bill would require the FCC to promptly reallocate spectrum. It states that "Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall allocate not less than 255 megahertz of contiguous spectrum below 6 gigahertz for unlicensed use by wireless broadband devices while ensuring that Department of Defense devices and systems are not compromised."

This bill would impose a tall task upon the FCC. 255 MHz is a large block of spectrum. Reallocating contiguous spectrum makes the task for the FCC all the more difficult. Moreover, the FCC would have to relocate incumbent users, most of whom would resist any effort to reallocate spectrum assigned to them. Usually it takes the FCC years, if not decades, to reallocate spectrum.

The bill would also require the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) to "establish standards for interference protection" within 180 days.

Finally, the bill would require the FCC to write rules "to require that all wireless broadband devices manufactured after the effective date of those rules that operate in the spectrum ... (i) be capable of 2-way data packet communication; (ii) be designed and manufactured to maximize spectrum efficiency, to use the minimum power necessary to provide broadband service, and to minimize interference; and (iii) meet the interference protection standards ..."

That is, the bill would give the FCC authority to regulate technology standards for computers.

Sen. George Allen

Sen. Allen (at right) is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, and its Communications Subcommittee, which will likely have jurisdiction over the bill once it is introduced in the 108th Congress. He is also Chairman of the Senate Republican High Tech Task Force (HTTF).

The two Senators also circulated a Dear Colleague letter to other members of the Senate. In it they wrote that "much of the current debate in Congress over broadband services has focused on two platforms, cable and DSL, and whether we should support competition versus deregulation of telecommunications as the best mechanism for encouraging broadband deployment. This debate has reached an unproductive stalemate and fails to consider that other technologies are available that can jump start consumer driven investment and demand in broadband services."

Sen. Barbara Boxer

Sen. Boxer (at right) is also a member of the two panels responsible for communications related legislation and oversight.

The two further stated in their letter to other Senators that "The innovations and advances in the development of unlicensed wireless, radio based networks, currently referred to as Wi-Fi offer an additional means of delivering data at high speed and also allow new business models for delivering broadband connectivity to emerge. These emerging unlicensed wireless technologies can support the transmission of data at high speeds and at low cost. This is especially compelling in rural areas where distance is so frequently the enemy of wire-line networks and the primary reason for the high cost of rural broadband deployment."

People and Appointments
11/20. Afshin Mohebbi, Qwest's P/COO, will resign, effective December 31, 2002. See, Qwest release.
More News
11/20. U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick spoke with reporters in Manilla. See, transcript. He touched on the just announced agreement in substance between the U.S. and Singapore on a free trade agreement. He also discussed trade negotiations with the Philippines. He stated that "we've been working with the Philippines to strengthen intellectual property protection and enforcement, and if we can make some headway on that, that will make it easier to get into a free trade agreement." He was also asked if the Philippines would "have to be out of the IPR watchlist, even before you consider negotiating with us for an FTA?" He responded, "We haven't set any pre-conditions."

11/20. The Copyright Office published a notice in the Federal Register requesting "written comments and proposals for the scheduling of Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) proceedings to adjust royalty rates and terms under provisions of the Copyright Act governing ephemeral recordings and digital transmissions of performances of sound recordings, as well as notices of intent to participate in the CARP to set rates and terms under the statutory license for eligible nonsubscription services to make certain digital audio transmissions of sound recordings for the 2003-2004 period." Notices of intent to participate are due by December 23, 2002. Comments and proposals for the scheduling of the CARP proceedings are due by December 2, 2002. See, Federal Register, November 20, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 224, at Pages 70093 - 70094.

11/19. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced HR 5760, a bill to create a commission on Internet gambling licensing and regulation. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Commerce Committee.

Thanksgiving Publication Schedule
The Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published on Wednesday, November 27, Thursday, November 28, or Friday, November 29.
Thursday, November 21
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will host a seminar titled "Technology Export Controls". It will cover compliance with the U.S. export and reexport controls relating to technology, software and encryption. The price to attend is $150. See, BIS notice. For more information, contact Yvette Springer at 202 482-6031. Location: Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H. Street, NW.

12:15 PM. The FCBA's Global Telecommunications Development Committee and International Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "Financing Telecom Projects in Developing Countries: The Role of OPIC, Export Import Bank, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)". The speakers will be Roger Cohen (Export Import Bank), Brian Christaldi (OPIC), and Jean-Francois Dupuy (IFC). For more information, contact Janet Hernandez at 202 736-1814. RSVP to Julie Ilett at or 202 736-1819. Location: Coudert Brothers, 1627 Eye St., NW, 11th floor.

CANCELLED. 12:15 PM. The FCBA's Cable Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be John Wong and Michael Lance (Division Chief and Deputy Division Chief of the FCC Media Bureau's Engineering Division). For more information call Lisa Cordell at 202 939-7934. RSVP to Wendy Parish at wendy Location: NCTA, 1724 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

3:00 PM. Uma Suthersanen will speak on "Copyright and Human Rights in Europe". She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute in London. For more information, contact Robert Brauneis at or 202 994-6138. Location: Faculty Conference Center, 5th Floor of Burns, George Washington University Law School, 2000 H Street, NW.

6:30 - 10:00 PM. The FCBA will host a charity auction. For more information, contact Heidi Kurtz (FCBA) at 202 293-4000. Admission is free, and it is open to the public. The event features a live auction, silent auctions, raffles, hours d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Location: Capitol Hilton Hotel, 16th and K Streets, NW.

Friday, November 22
Deadline to submit comments to the FCC regarding its ultrawideband report [110 pages in PDF] titled "Measured Emissions Data For Use In Evaluating The Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Emissions Limits in the Frequency Bands Used By The Global Positioning System". See also, FCC public notice [3 pages in PDF]. The report was prepared by Stephen Jones of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology. He can be contacted at 301 362-2054 or This is ET Docket No. 98-153.

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 9. Deadline to submit comments to the The FCC in response to its requests for comments regarding whether to revise, clarify or adopt any additional rules in order to more effectively carry out Congress's directives in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). See, notice in the Federal Register. See, notice of extension [PDF].

Deadline to submit a request to participate in roundtable meetings hosted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding small business views on foreign patent challenges. The USPTO is seeking comments, and holding roundtable meetings, pursuant to a recommendation contained in a General Accounting Office (GAO) report [PDF] titled "Federal Action Needed to Help Small Businesses Address Foreign Patent Challenges". This report was released on August 22, 2002. See also, story titled "GAO Reports Foreign Patent Challenges Facing Small Businesses" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 497, August 23, 2002. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 28, 2002, Vol. 67, No.208, at Pages 65786 - 65787.

Monday, November 25
Deadline to submit comments to the The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding the product recall notices exception to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act. The Act provides, at §101, for the acceptance of electronic signatures in interstate commerce, with certain enumerated exceptions. §103 of the Act provides that "The provisions of section 101 shall not apply to ... (2) any notice of ... (D) recall of a product, or material failure of a product, that risks endangering health or safety". The Act also requires the NTIA to review, evaluate and report to Congress on each of the exceptions. See, notice in the Federal Register.
Tuesday, November 26
2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) will hold a partly open, and partly closed, meeting. The NIAC advises the President on the security of information systems for critical infrastructure supporting other sectors of the economy, including banking and finance, transportation, energy, manufacturing, and emergency government services. The agenda of this meeting includes deliberation regarding comments received on the draft document titled "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace". (Comments were due by November 18.) The scheduled speakers include Richard Davidson (Director of NIAC), Richard Clarke, and Kenneth Juster (Director of BIS). For more information contact Eric Werner at 202 482-7470. See, notice in the federal register. Location: Truman Room, White House Conference Center, 726 Jackson Place, NW.
Wednesday, November 27
The Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published, for a Thanksgiving break.
Thursday, November 28
Thanksgiving Day. The FCC will be closed. The TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published.
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