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FCC to Investigate D-Block Auction 54

eweekhickins writes "Feds and public interest groups are taking seriously accusations that someone tampered with the wireless spectrum auction process. The block of spectrum that was supposed to go to emergency responders failed to get close to the reserve price, raising suspicions that someone was trying to make money off the Sept. 11 national tragedy. But that would never happen, right?" This is a follow up to last week's allegations.
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FCC to Investigate D-Block Auction

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  • Re:So basically.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:31AM (#22844268)
    Not to mention that you would be taking a huge PR and liability risk. If one of your first responder systems failed in a major disaster or incident, you can imagine the fallout in lawsuits and bad press.
  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:54AM (#22844456) Homepage Journal
    Not for nothing, but fire departments have different requirements than police departments - the police need city-wide coverage from theie walkie-talkies, the fire department only needs coverage that encompasses the local area ( a few blocks). That means different freq. bands are better for each department, and requiring both to buy multi-band radios is very expensive - not impossible or really prohibitive, but unpopular in many locations for whatever reason.

    I agree with the earlier poster - there is no connection between the bandwidth auction results and 9/11 *except* that there is a requirement to support expanded first-responder communication in the same band. How is money made by not commercializing (monetizing) the band? A failed auction benefits no one...
  • Re:So basically.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sricetx ( 806767 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:15AM (#22844648)
    Umm, maybe the government should just build a dedicated emergency services network themselves. Seems like it would be better to have this done in the public sector.
  • Re:Same old fraud (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @01:17PM (#22846820) Homepage Journal
    But it's really not that expensive. It only seems expensive to you. Enough money has been spent to equip everybody with anything they could possibly need; the reason that nothing much got done is because the money was spent in crisis mode, so nobody was looking much at substance, so much as volume of money spent and paperwork filled in.

    I've worked in companies working around the edges of various issues that have become "national emergencies". There's always people doing yeoman work in those areas who could work miracles with a marginal increase in funding. But they never get a marginal increase in funding.

    What happens is that once the politicians decide there is an emergency, there is a deluge of cash. Often, the people who've been doing the work all along never see this as people closer to the budgeting process divert the money into crash programs run by people who have no knowledge or interest in what as actually bee done. Other times, they end up with vast quantities of cash that they have to spend right away; the emergency becomes spending all the money before anybody accuses you of dragging your feet. I've seen cases where agencies have literally paid millions of dollars to have a web site with a email backed fill in form that could have been done (by several competent and independent evaluations) for around $50K. The reason was that they never had anything like two million dollars in the kitty before, and had no idea of how to spend it. If they had had a $100K windfall, they could have spent it very well indeed, but they didn't even know where to begin to spend the money they'd been given; certainly not fast enough.

    So they turned to a company that specialized in absorbing lots of cash on federal contracts quickly.

    I'll let you in on a dirty little secret about government contracting. All those rules that supposedly keep Uncle Sam from being fleeced actually make it easier for somebody with political connections to take him to the cleaner. The reason is that the only way to absorb the money generated by the federal government in a "national emergency", and comply with all the accounting rules, is to have a company or a subsidiary that specializes in absorbing federal money and filling out all the paperwork. The government doesn't buy what it needs in an emergency on the open market, but by outfits starting with Halliburton and all the way down to small time operations that eat up a few millions here and there.

    I was amazed and appalled the degree to which you could hire a lobbyist and make a quick buck on a shoeshine and a shell product, provided you were dealing with something "important".

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman