Wednesday, May 15, 2019

T-Mo/Sprint May Ditch Pre-Paid Subs to Realize Merger Dreams

The old saying goes, you have to break an egg to make an omelette. If Sprint and T-Mobile want to whip up a merger, they may have to sell off a profitable but politically sensitive part of their respective businesses: pre-paid subscription, reported Bloomberg.

Together, T-Mobile’s Metro brand and Sprint’s Boost and Virgin Mobile brands make up the largest segment of the U.S. pay-as-you-go market, with about 42 percent, according to Bloomberg.  The selling of assets to accommodate a merger suggests that the carriers are anticipating pushback from the Justice Department’s antitrust division and the FCC, which both have to sign off on the transaction.

The federal overseers of a potential merger have expressed concern it will hurt wireless competition. Specifically, worry surrounds the idea that a consolidated, three-carrier market would harm low-income customers, the predominant users of pay-as-you-go wireless plans, with little or no access to credit, by reducing choices and raising prices.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

FCC’s O’Rielly: Gov’t-Sponsored 5G Doesn’t Work With Existing Tower Model

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly aired his grievances recently about the "less than half-baked, flawed" concept of a government-sponsored 5G network which has been floated for several weeks by various administration officials. He characterized the concept as, “convoluted and borders on the preposterous” in a blog post.

One argument against the concept O’Rielly put forth concerns towers. “Almost all wireless towers and antenna locations are owned or leased by companies unaffiliated with the large wireless providers. However, the existing contractual relationships and uncertainty surrounding the viability of this random wholesale network model means that it is unlikely that the current wireless infrastructure would be available for this purpose,” he wrote. Continue Reading

Thursday, May 9, 2019

You Need More Than Duct Tape, Rope to Prevent Falls From Height

There were 503 fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 from objects; 237 of those were caused by falling objects, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In that same time-frame, nearly 46,000 people were struck by falling objects or equipment, said Ergodyne Product Director Bob Bohmbach.

During a NATE webinar Wednesday about safety at heights, Bohmbach explained the hierarchy of engineering controls aimed to prevent object falls. Toeboards, “encourage a false sense of security,” according to Bohmbach. “It won’t take too much for a tool to bounce off a toeboard and hit someone.”

Bohmbach, who’s also the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Dropped Objects Prevention Solutions Chairman, said the most common fall control is duct tape and rope. “This is not a solution,” and is “archaic,” he added.

Bohmbach discussed the ANSI/ISEA 121 adopted by ANSI in 2018. It includes four categories: anchor attachments on a worker’s tool belt, tool attachments, tool tether and containers, like hoist buckets and pouches. Continue Reading

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

NTIA’s Redl: Days of Easy Spectrum Decisions ‘Over’

The era of easy spectrum decisions is over, according to David Redl, Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “We no longer have the luxury of running the same old playbook and expecting the same results,” he told attendees of the Satellite Industry Association leadership dinner Monday evening. He said that’s true for satellite operators, terrestrial wireless providers or unlicensed users.

“Spectrum has become more important than ever to our daily lives and government missions. Competition for spectrum resources has never been more contentious, and we must change to reflect this new reality,” said Redl.

In October, President Trump directed the Secretary of Commerce, working through NTIA, to develop and implement a comprehensive, balanced and forward-looking National Spectrum Strategy. “Our current approach of piecemeal, band-by-band spectrum policymaking is not sustainable. The opportunities are drying up and it is an inefficient process that too often devolves into a zero-sum game,” said Redl. Continue Reading

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

WH Infrastructure Plan Faces GOP Resistance

UPDATE A $2 trillion infrastructure deal outlined last week by President Donald Trump and top Democrats is already losing steam. The tentative deal to repair infrastructure and devote some of the $2 trillion to broadband has run into opposition from Republicans who say it’s too expensive.

Those opposed to the deal include Trump's top aide, Mick Mulvaney, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, who is not in favor of the spending, reports The Washington Post. Mulvaney said Friday, he agrees with the president on a need for an infrastructure package and is trying to identify $1 trillion for that purpose.

"Is it difficult to pass any infrastructure bill in this environment, let alone a $2 trillion one, in this environment? Absolutely," Mulvaney said. Continue Reading

Monday, May 6, 2019

Investigation Shifts to Water as Cancer Causing Agent in Ripon, CA

UPDATE The fingers that once pointed upward at the monopole at Weston Elementary with scorn and accusation as the cause of cancer are now pointing downward at the water supply as the source of their troubles.  Parents of the stricken children have conducted their own investigation of the high rate of cancer in the area and, with the help of KOVR-TV’s investigative reporters, have found a more likely suspect in the case: trichloroethylene (TCE).

The reporters investigated records going back decades that monitored the local drinking water and found a Nestle’s plant in the ‘70’s produced quantities of TCE to manufacture decaffeinated coffee. The substance later turned up in the groundwater in the ‘80’s. The drug is a leading agent in causing kidney and liver cancer, according to the report.  One of the affected children has been diagnosed with kidney cancer and a neighbor was stricken with liver cancer, KOVR-TV reported. Continue Reading

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Georgia Becomes the 24th State to Enact Small Cell Legislation

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation Friday designed to expand broadband internet access to rural areas throughout the state, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The measures were enacted at a ceremony in Dahlonega, GA, a mountainous area in the northern part of the state known to have spotty connectivity.  Senate Bill 66, allows telecom firms to set up small cell equipment on public land. But critics say the measure falls short of subsidizing internet service in rural parts of the state without adequate wireless infrastructure, the Constitution reported.

The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) praised the Governor for his action. “WIA commends Gov. Kemp  for expeditiously signing  Georgia’s small cell bill into law. Georgia joins  23 other states in adopting a legislative measure that puts the state on the path to 5G readiness. This legislation  will help to bring  jobs, economic growth, and innovation to  the Peach  State,” said WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein. Continue Reading