[RFI] Wasted and Useful Bandwidth

Ward Silver hwardsil at centurytel.net
Fri Apr 30 12:35:11 EDT 2004

This reminds me of the old Bob Kliban cartoon, "Wasted and Useful Lives"...

>" His comment was: "What a WASTE of useful bandwidth.  I could use that
>bandwidth for a UWB (Ultra Wide Band) system.  The FCC should take that
>band away and give it to someone that will do something useful with it".

My smarty-pants reply would have been, "Yeah, the pornography and spam that
is 75% of Internet traffic you would deliver is certainly a higher and
better use than anything I could possibly do with it."  Get router or server
company executives slightly drunk and they'll admit in an unguarded moment
that their core business is delivering porn and spam - that's what's driving
the "need for speed", much as video gaming drove the need for memory and
fast graphics architectures.  Oh well, humans have never had much else on
their minds than sex and greed, anyway :-)

"I am well aware of the desire to tinker with things and of course,
satellites are a tinkerer's dream come true.  But for the great majority
of us, they are all but useless."

Oh come now...for the great majority of us, everything above 440 MHz is
completely useless, but that is NOT why it's necessary to have an Amateur
Service with access to a wide range of frequencies.  Sturgeon's Law says,
"90% of everything is crap."  He was being generous.  The tiny remaining
percentage that is not crap generates all of the advances that drive human
progress.  The Amateur Service is just one way of enabling the non-crap to
be created - packet radio, APRS, novel antennas, survivable ad hoc networks,
interesting propagation discoveries, etc. etc.  We just can't know where
it's going to come from, so we have to leave ourselves openings for it by
not occupying or consuming all resources for the currently defined utility.

The Amateur Service should never tie its horse to pure utility (although we
do provide a fair amount of it in emergency situations) because we are
keepers of an "electro-diversity preserve" that continues to generate
unexpected and unforseeable benefits for all. Unless we fill it all up with
penis enlargement ads and shoot-em-up movies, that is.

73, Ward N0AX

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