Friday, April 03, 2009


Communications “czar” bill deferred till Monday

by Larry Geller

After I gave my testimony on why SB1680 is such a bad bill, and suggested that broadband mapping (needed, apparently, to get the federal funds) could be done with a simpler bill and without creating an all-powerful commissioner, I had another thought.

I testified that this commissioner is going to be tied up with all the other regulatory responsibilities this bill assigns to the job. Why not just write a bill that provides for the mapping, which will take a year anyway?

Then it occurred to me that maybe a bill isn’t even necessary. The state could just put out an RFP for a contract to do the work, or do it by itself, without special laws.

If I’m wrong and a law is necessary, there’s gotta be a better way than this. Oh, and there’s not very much demand for higher speed broadband in Hawaii anyway, and the cable companies are moving to charge higher prices to those who use more bandwidth. This bill doesn’t address that, and so broadband vendors could restrict speed and services or decide not to offer higher speeds.

Anyway, at about 11:15 tonight, the bill was deferred. Then they went on to the next agenda. These all-night sessions are unfair to everyone.

I prefaced my testimony by noting that I saw some teenagers working on a car earlier today. I don’t know what they were doing, but it gave me an idea.

If you wanted to put a new and better radio into your car, it’s not necessary to take the car apart and re-assemble it with the new radio. That’s pretty much what this bill does—it disassembles a well-established regulatory framework to stick in this little broadband thing. When it is finally put back together, it may not start properly, and it might not run right for a long, long time. All kinds of unexpected things will need fixing. It will be a nightmare, and whoever had this idea will really catch it. Bad idea.


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