Technology Daily did a must-read interview with Peter Pitsch, Intel's chief Washington lobbyist. Exerpt: "... TD: What are your top priorities for telecom reform legislation? Pitsch: We're focused on digital television reform, ensuring that broadband remains minimally regulated and related issues. We want universal service reform because that will promote facilities-based competition in urban and rural areas. We favor keeping the Internet and IP (Internet Protocol) services minimally regulated. A main priority is passage of digital television legislation. We want Congress to pass a bill creating an early date-certain for the return of [analog spectrum] by broadcasters . . . Under the current law it's unclear when they will return their analog channels. We think creating a date certain will produce numerous benefits. ¶ TD: Why is an early return of analog TV spectrum so important? Pitsch: We think the larger public interest benefits are enormous. You have the public safety spectrum that would become available, the auction revenues that would be generated, and the . . . roughly 60-78 megahertz of spectrum that would be freed for commercial purposes . . . [Using the vacated spectrum] Intel and other high tech companies will be able to make low-cost, wireless broadband technologies that will create valuable new services, make rural broadband cheaper and more available and enable laptop and PDA (personal digital assistants) wireless broadband on a low-cost basis. ¶ TD: What makes the analog spectrum so appealing? Pitsch: The propagation characteristics of the 700 MHz spectrum are quite favorable compared to the higher bands at roughly 2GHz. In rural areas, for example, 700 MHz would enable a wireless broadband operator to spend one-fourth of the capital costs on infrastructure that he would need to make at 2.5GHz. | These frequencies enable signals to go through buildings and cover wider areas. This means that laptop and PDA models become much less expensive -- you don't need to put transmitters on the top of every concrete building. Even in urban areas, you can cover wide areas initially with a very high quality level of service with few cell sites. | Intel, in turn, could work with [service] providers to embed Wi-Max capability into our Centrino Mobile Technology and dramatically reduce device costs, improve the quality of the experience, extend battery life, and so on, and that would be good for consumers, particularly in rural areas. If you look at the analogous situation of Wi-Fi, after Intel embedded Wi-Fi technology into our Centrino Mobile Technology, the Wi-Fi penetration in notebooks shot up . . . It was a substantial change very quickly. If you have a service based at 700 MHz you can put up fewer cell towers to cover a given area . . . If you can put up one-fourth of the cell towers, your capital costs will be one-fourth of what they otherwise would be. | If there is a date-certain [for the DTV transition] and the auction winner [of the analog TV spectrum] decides to use Wi-Max, we could obviously cooperate with them to make silicon for handsets and notebooks that complemented their investment in Wi-Max infrastructure. This would be beneficial to both sides. ..." Link: National Journal.