At the FCC Open Meeting last week, senior officials from seven FCC agencies reported on their agency's strategic plan and reviewed FCC policies and procedures. The presentations, available as PowerPoint and Acrobat files, are on the FCC Open Commission Meeting - Jan. 20, 2006 Web page. An audio recording of the meeting is also available on the site, as well as video. Here are some highlights that might be of interest.
* The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau presentation focused on $2.055 billion in net winning bids from six spectrum auctions. Key accomplishments in 2005 included development of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS), 3650 MHz broadband services, and the air-ground radiotelephone service. Policy goals for 2006 include air-ground and AWS auctions, new spectrum for AWS, 800 MHz re-banding for public safety use and the BRS/EBS transition.
* The Media Bureau presentation, as to be expected, focused on progress in the DTV transition and increased MVPD (multi-channel video programming distribution) competition. The Media Bureau noted that 1,550 stations were broadcasting DTV and that DTV was 90 percent built out. In 2005, 90 million homes were passed by cable HDTV service. Both the amount of consumer DTV equipment and cumulative DTV households increased substantially in 2005, supported by the FCC's consumer education campaign, the DTV tuner order and plug +n play reporting requirements. The Media Bureau's 2006 "To Do" list includes facilitating the DTV transition, rolling out digital radio, auctioning FM allotments and initiating a 2006 ownership review.
* New broadband technologies, including broadband-over-power lines and ultra-wideband devices were highlighted in the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) report. The report also highlighted how OET was developing new spectrum and services, including the 3650 MHz service, cognitive radio, unlicensed devices and implementation of the Presidential Spectrum Initiative. OET cited DTV transition accomplishments, including the DTV tuner requirements, the DTV Table of Channel Allotments, and the SHVERA Report to Congress. Goals for 2006 include continuing aggressive rule making programs to foster strategic goals of broadband, spectrum, competition, homeland security and modernization.
* Readers may also want to check out the International Bureau presentation, which highlights the Bureau's progress with international negotiations and satellite facility licensing and the Enforcement Bureau report, which highlights areas the Bureau has been focusing on. There is an interesting map of the Bureau's HF direction finding network in the report.