Readers sound off on replacing notebooks with handhelds and on the FCC's spectrum cap

By Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld |  Hardware

"The week the Pocket PC was introduced, in April 2000, I bought a Jornada Pocket PC for $400. My laptop has been out of the closet exactly four times since then! I will never have to buy another one. When I travel, a small fanny pack will hold all the gear -- charger, folding keyboard, power pack for up to 7 hours additional charge, modem and cord, earphones, and six Compact Flash cards. It's beautiful!"

Is bigger better when it comes to spectrum ownership?

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that the FCC should not lift the spectrum cap that limits the amount of bandwidth any single entity can own in a geographic marketplace to 45MHz.

More competition means lower connection charges. "I feel that limiting the bandwidth anyy one provider can control is good for the consumer," James Tomascak says. "Take a look at cellular versus PCS mobile phones. FCC rules currently allow only two providers of cellular service in any geographic region, yet there can be many PCS providers. In Minneapolis there are no less than 10 PCS providers but only the two cellular providers. On any given Sunday there are at least 20 to 30 newspaper ads offering PCS service (most with free long distance) at a rate of $35 for anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 minutes of airtime. I can't remember the last time I saw an ad for cellular service."

Bigger is better. "You can bet your bottom dollar on the fact that the larger corporations are going to have the bucks to offer services at a lower cost than smaller ones, are going to have larger customer bases and the support networks that go along with them, and most important, the advertising dollars to reach more of us with their offerings," wireless web developer Dean Barter writes.

"I find [Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association's] Mr. Larsen's arguments eerily reminiscent of those from other industries where near monopolies feel that they should be given competitive advantages, especially ones that will give 'monetary incentives' to build up the networks," says Kurt Cagle, author of XML Developers Handbook. "In plainspeak, this argument can be turned around to a threat: 'If you don't give us money, we'll deliberately stall our development of the infrastructure.' The irony of this is that the threat is hollow: If the companies in question do not build up their infrastructure, then somebody else, seeing an opportunity, will."

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