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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-04 02:44 PM
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FCC versus our Freedom to listen to foreign broadcasts via SW & more
FCC versus our Freedom to listen to foreign broadcasts

A a most eloquent commentary on our freedoms and this issue: ...

This is the html version of the file .

Etn Corporation
Comments on the Federal Communications Commissions
Broadband-Over-Powerline Policy
November 14, 2003
Recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began the process of changing the regulations that govern radio frequency interference. These changes are aimed at paving the way for the FCC to introduce a new technology known as broadband-over-powerline (BPL).
According to the FCC, BPL would bring broadband to previously unserved communities and be the catalyst for a robustly competitive and diversified marketplace that would lead to a broadband Nirvana in America.* While its proposal may be well intentioned, the FCCs support
of this emerging technology threatens the existence of an established technology Shortwave radio. Shortwave radio technology, though not as cutting-edge and as commercialized as BPL, is important to America because it represents our most basic freedoms guaranteed by the First

BPL technology is based on using 2-80 MHz of the radio frequency spectrum to transmit data over existing powerlines. According to the latest research done by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), BPL threatens to create so
much noise in this frequency range that Shortwave radio, the original operator in this frequency spectrum, would be effectively drowned out. Without any proposed plans or remedies by the FCC to safeguard Shortwave broadcasting, BPL poses a real and imminent threat to this

To the majority of Americans who have never listened to worldband radio, the loss of Shortwave may appear to be acceptable compared to the benefits of faster and expanded internet services.

But to Shortwave enthusiasts and radio users, Shortwave is indispensable for its ability to transmit international broadcasts from around the world. On the surface, this may appear to be
only marginally valuable in this day and age of 24/7 news channels on television and internet access. Upon closer inspection however, Shortwave is markedly different from those other mediums and especially significant for its ability to broadcast news and information directly from other countries at no cost or low cost. As Americans, we have become accustomed to receiving our news in pre-packaged sound bites, selected and served by the mainstream media, biased opinions and perspectives mixed in. Shortwave allows its listeners to hear and its broadcasters to report news and information with a clarity and transparency unmatched by most domestic media.

Shortwave radio is in many ways the last of our untarnished resources. As Americans, we have always been taught and told that it is our freedom that makes us strong and separates us from everybody else. When it comes to news and information, our desire to have the freedom to
choose from a wide array of media and media channels is no different.

Shortwave radio represents a cost-effective and easily accessible means for all Americans to get global news straight from the source, a claim that no other technology can make. If this access was denied or
impeded in any way, and Americans left with less media choices or channels, then our right to freedom of the press would be unfairly and unacceptably compromised.

The FCC recently voted to allow media conglomerates the ability to increase their holdings in television stations and newspapers, another signal that fewer and fewer companies will end up controlling more and more of what we hear, see, and read. Ironically post 9/11, global news is more salient than ever. In todays political climate, Americans are seeking international news, culture, and perspectives like never before in efforts to better understand the rest of the world.

We need more media choices to quench our thirst for information, not less. Shortwave is not just another vehicle, but arguably one of the best vehicles to bring the perspectives of foreign countries and cultures into our homes easily and inexpensively. At a time when the FCC seems content on letting BPL eclipse Shortwave, its value and significance is brighter than ever.

In fact, Shortwaves value reaches beyond Americas shores to touch nearly every country in the world. Without a spectrum to operate from, even outbound American Shortwave programming that is currently accessible to millions and millions around the globe will be eerily silent. In short order, the global exchange of thoughts and ideas, the underlying premise of both radio and our right to free speech, will be brought to a screeching halt. To see the potential damage this can
have on the world, we only need to study history. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution paved the way for democracy as Communism fell in Czechoslovakia when Vclav Havel was elected as President. Havel, a long-standing and outspoken critic of Communism, cited Voice of Free
Europe, a Shortwave institution, as one of his sources of strength and inspiration during his struggle for democracy. Though it may be hyperbole to attribute the demise of Communism in Eastern Europe to radio, it is clear that its reach is broad, and its influences deep. It would be a potential foreign policy failure for the United States if Shortwave radio disappeared. If the elixir of Shortwave could help just one country or even one community, then Shortwaves existence would
be justified by helping bring hope and inspiration, and under the right circumstances, even democracy.

What the FCC is proposing with BPL is not so much poor technology as it is poorly planned technology. In its current form, the social costs of BPL exceed its social benefits. Ubiquitous broadband is a noble goal that FCC should have in its sights on. The issue here is to find a way
to apply this technology somewhere or somehow that does not impact Shortwave radio. Isnt there bandwidth somewhere else in the radio frequency spectrum for BPL to occupy? Since 1994, the FCC has auctioned and sold off hundreds of frequencies for billions of dollars.
Granted, the United States government has generated significant revenue from these sales, but money cannot buy freedom. It is perplexing that the FCC, the landowner of the airwaves, cannot find a plot of frequency for BPL without encroaching the boundaries of Shortwave.

The FCCs BPL proposal threatens to set this country down a slippery slope where new technology displaces existing technology without regard for its impacts on citizens and society. The FCC needs to find a way to promote BPL while preserving the freedoms of Americans.

Technology should be a tool for society to improve the lives of its people. If and when this promise is broken, then that technology needs to be reevaluated, rethought, or reapplied until it works properly.

* Reaching Broadband Nirvana, Kathleen Q. Abernathy, FCC Commissioner, United PowerLine
Council Annual Conference, September 22, 2003,
( )

PLEASE go to this thread for info on how to help....June 1 deadline for FCC comments....
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phoebe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-04 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. kick
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-04 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is huge.
And I am NOT pleased.
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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-04 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. IT IS HUGE! Check out the link to the main info I posted in GD...
Will be calling McCain tomorrow...he was against media consolidation if I recall...
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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-04 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yes
I rely on Shortwave Broadcasts for all of my news. There is nothing in the U.S. match the broadcasting of Deutsche Welle, BBC, CBC , or Radio France International. Most of these stations have seriously reduced the number of English Language Broadcasts to the United States. For the BBC one must be satisfied with listenning to broadcasts beamed towards either Central and South America, or Africa, lending to a grealy reduced signal strength, and every year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations discusses completely ending Broadcasts that beam towards the United States and Europe on Racdio Canada International, and no longer using multi directional antennas to broadcast the CBC broadcasts, but only using the unidirectional antennas that are designed to broadcast shortwave in a nortern direction to provide programming for aresa north of Toronto and Montreal. Since most Canadians live less than 150 miles North of the U.S. border, most of the internal broadcasting only needs to be directed northwards in that country. Over the past 30 years that I have been listening to international broadcasts, many stations have eliminated broadcasts to North America. Up until the fall of the Soviet Union, Radio Moscow Broadcast in English on literally dozens of frequencies every day. The same for the BBC,Radio Canada, and Deutsch Welle. There was a time that these stations could be heard 24 hours a day and you could not avboid them if you were trying to pick out weaker, more distant and rare broadcasters like the Ivory Coast, or the United Arab Emirates or Radio Turkey. Radio Sweden has virtually disappeared in the last year, and Radio Finland has disappeared in the last two years except for one weekend broadcast that has become more difficult to receive given all of the microwave interference from cable rebroadcast units, and cell phone packet. AS insidious as power line broadcast, is digital radio, which broadcasts over a very broad band of the radio spectrum fo one station, creating interferrence that maskes the more focused AM broadcasts of the shortwave spectrum. Radio Israel, once a mainstay of MIddle eastern Broaadcasting, is now also limited to weak signals for 15 minutes a day. Baghdad was also an easy station for late afternooon and early evening listenenrs, as was Dasmacus and Radio Cairo, which is still around. Muich of the radio spectrum is also now eaten up by American Religious Broadcasters who have been around for years, adn newer ones like WWCR (World Wide Christian Broadcasting). Even Radio Dubai who would never broadcast Christian material, as they are a Muslim State now leases large amounts of its air time to fundamentalist broadcasters directing the fundamentalist message throughout the Middle east, pressured by the current U.S. Administration. There is only one broadcaster left in the U.S. decicated to Freedom of broadcasting and that isWBCQ, out of Montecillo Maine. They lease their ait time to virtually anyone, from right wing survivalist Christians who beleive that the lost tribe of Israel are really the Anglo Saxons, and the Kingdon of God was the British Empire, A really neat pagan broadcast called "Odin Lives" and re-runs of the Amos aqnd Andy radio programs. It is sort of a neat station.

On a lighter note, if anyone is looking for one of the highest quality radios for a very good price, start looking for a brand called Tecsun. They are the company in CHina that makes all of Grundigs radios, and in some cases makes a better version than the model sold with the Grundig label put on it. I just picked up a TEcsun PL230 for 41 dollars, which is an upgraded version of Grundigs newest YB550, whic lists for 149.95, and sells for anywhere from 99.95 to 114.95. The Grundig version does not get the highest ratings, but the Tecsun Versiion has been compared to the Grundig YB 400 and has been found to be better than that radio. Unfortunately, the only way to buy Tecsun models is through E-Bay, but the one I bought arrived in record time, and I decided not to pay for it by credit card, but by money order. I am listening to WBCQ on it right now and the reception is bettrer than I have been able to note in the past.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-04 03:46 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. It Would Do An Even Bigger Number on HF Ham Radio
since we don't have as much power as the commercial broadcasters.

This is the only form of long-distance communication that is generally available
and is not dependent on any external infrastructure.

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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-04 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. True.
For a very large portion of the third world, radio is the ONLY means of long distance media communication. There have been efforts to utilize a satellite radio system to provide digital radio in these areas, but the radios are still prohibitively costly and and reception is not free. In these areas, ham radio or even CB is the only way to communicate with the outside world for isolated communities, and greater and greater interferrence in the electromatic spectrum caused by the wealthy nations is making these means less and less reliable. Even Ham operators in North AMerican provide valuable communications services during crises like earthquake and hurricane, and this service is being hampered by electronic polition.
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XanaDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-21-04 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. Kick!
This is important folks.
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