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The Future of the Internet

4.19.17_Features_Tarlon Khoubyari_The future of the internet_flickr_Mike Mozart

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Tarlon Khoubyari
  Web Content Manager

Recently, the government auctioned off wireless airwave data to T-Mobile, Dish Network, Comcast and AT&T for nearly $90 billion. According to Washington Post journalist, Brian Fung, “The auction will transfer a significant amount of spectrum — the invisible radio waves that carry voice, video and data — from TV stations to companies in other industries eager to build out wireless data networks.”

This auctions enables large internet providers to create a bigger and faster Internet. For the everyday consumer, it doesn’t sound too bad; however, with more data, there is a lot of room for potential security vulnerabilities to arise. Devices that have access to this pipeline will become available later this year.

The essential purpose of communication services is for them to reach as many people as possible. The FCC deal allows them to do that, and bridge the gap between consumer and company. By gaining more access to the airwave spectrum, larger network providers are able to be in larger markets throughout the whole country.

T-Mobile then, has acquired the largest access to almost every U.S market. They were also the biggest bidder by offering $8 Billion. The CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere tweeted, “Yep! The results of the recent low-band @FCC spectrum auction are in!!! and… Well, @TMobile CLEANED UP! This is HUGE news for customers!”

Over 170 broadcasting services have sold their spots in the airwaves for a portion of the profits made from this deal. Many existing holders of these coveted airwave space will be displaced somewhere else over the next few months or will share their station with others. Twelve stations will go off the air completely, which means that certain programs and channels will no longer be available for consumers.

So, who is it exactly that decides the price of our data? The FCC analysts themselves determined the price of the data sold. Those profits will go towards paying off the national debt and TV channels. In 2015, a similar deal took place that cost nearly $45 Billion. According to Dan Seifert a journalist for The Verge,The FCC just closed its biggest wireless spectrum auction in history,” and , “The AWS-3 airwaves cover spectrum in the 1700MHz and 2100MHz blocks, but they do not overlap with the AWS-1 spectrum that a number of carriers (most notably T-Mobile and Verizon).” This current deal allows T-Mobile to be in on the wave spectrum.

This auction reaffirms the idea that the data that is out there will go to whoever will pay the most for it. Although it is difficult to predict the implications these deals have on internet users and privacy laws, it is important to stay aware of who owns your information and what it can mean for you. Clearly, there are security risks that were protected prior to the new FCC Repeal as I wrote about in, “The House Votes to Take Away Privacy Laws,” however, transactions such as these denounce ownership the consumer has over their own sensitive information to whichever company pays for it more.

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