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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Where Have All the Dockets Gone?
The Decline of Productivity at FCC

(OK, as a "baby boomer" I couldn't resist using the Pete Seeger/Joan Baez song title as inspiration.)

On today's (July 25, 2006) FCC website, the newest docket mentioned is an NPRM on
" Proposed Changes to Rules Governing Stolen Vehicle Recovery Systems", Docket 06-142. 142? Doesn't that mean the 142nd docket number this year? (It turns out that there is a Docket 06-143 that wasn't important enough to make the FCC's home page.)

It is hard to measure productivity at FCC. Usage of docket numbers is one clue. It has the advantage that it is quantative. It has the disadvantage that not all dockets represent the same significance or the same amount of effort.

So were did FCC stand in late July before its "August recess" in recent years in number of dockets initiated?

2005 -- 231
2004 -- 255
2003 -- 165
2002 -- 185
2001 -- 169
2000 -- 130
1999 -- 255

So, this year is not a record for the minimum in recent years. (2000 was an election year and at such times the FCC chairman often thinks about finishing things, not starting new proceedings.) But this is an indication that productivity is slipping. Is the new product higher quality? I hope so but I see no such indication.

The FCC Chairman and commissioners are in charge of the Commission and have the sole say in what is done. We can disgree with their decisions, but the point I want to make here is that such decisions have been few and far between in general and certainly few in the spectrum area. The US's spectrum-related industries with gross revenues in the 100s of billions of dollars deserve more attention.

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