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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)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Will the TAC
Come Back?

I have written several times on the quiet apparent demise of the Commission's Technological Advisory Committee/TAC. Its last meeting as 7/20/06. The latest posted version of its charter expired November 19, 2006.

Thus I was encouraged by Acting Chairman Copps statement today to the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee where he said,
"You folks work long and hard trying to help us—even when you must have wondered sometimes whether anyone was really listening. I can assure you that someone is listening now.

It’s time to change all that. It’s time for the CAC—and all of the advisory committees at the FCC—to be restored to their position as valued and independent counsel on the important communications policy issues we face."
The TAC resulted from parallel recommendations to the FCC from both the Engineering and Technology Practice Committee of the Federal Communications Bar Association and IEEE-USA, an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE's U.S. members. In a 6/5/08 letter to Chmn. Martin, IEEE-USA renewed its call for the TAC - a letter that was never answered. (I recall that under Chmn. Fowler, it was critical to answer all mail in a timely way.)

Frankly, its impact was limited due to the unwillingness of the Commission to ask it significant questions and the committee's attempt to be more useful by avoiding controversy. The Brookings Institution book, The Advisers, shows how other agencies have used such committees much more effectively.

Hopefully the new management will address this issue shortly.

1 comment:

Paul said...

The role of the CSTB, NRC, and FCC TAC in providing the FCC with objective technical knowledge is critical. The technical expertise will always be a small fraction of the pool of talent with academia and industry. Not exploiting that talent base severely diminishes the ability of the regulators to make policy based upon sound technical facts. It also limits the regulators from having the "headlights" into potential future issues due to advances in technology. One of the advantages of the US system is in educational and corporate R&D. Not exploiting our advantages is simply unacceptable.