Talk is cheap
During a game against the Chicago Bears in the 1960s, legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas was hit so viciously in the face that blood immediately spewed from his broken nose. It was an injury that would have driven most players out of the game, but Unitas gathered some mud from the turf, stuffed it into his nostrils and then drove the Colts to the game-winning touchdown.
Unitas’s toughness endeared him to his teammates as much as his considerable skills and achievements as a quarterback, which led him to well-deserved enshrinement in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. This unique combination of grit and prowess gave him a locker-room pulpit from which he could orate whenever, however he wished. But Unitas was different. In the tense moments just prior to kickoff, his teammates would stoke their passions by pontificating about what they were going to do to that day’s opponent. Then it was Unitas’s turn. He always said, simply, “Talk is cheap. Let’s go play.”
I thought about Unitas as I read this edition’s lead news story. Apparently, 800 MHz licensees’ worst nightmare is beginning to unfold, as Sprint Nextel and the Transition Administrator allegedly are failing to deliver on the promises they made that the rebanding process would unfold smoothly and that licensees would not incur any out-of-pocket costs. Of course, both Sprint Nextel and the TA claim that the situation isn’t as bad as it seems, that the current troubles are nothing more than hiccups and that there is plenty of time to get things ironed out. But what else are they going to say? That seven months into the process they have a train wreck on their hands?
It is now time for less talk and more action. While the FCC has tried to keep its distance from rebanding, the effort is too important to first-responder safety for the commission to stay on the sidelines any longer. It was the FCC’s shortsighted spectrum policy that had much to do with the advent of harmful interference in the band. So, it only makes sense that the FCC takes a more active overseer role.
Also, senior writer Donny Jackson reports in this edition’s cover story on BitWave Semiconductor, a start-up chipmaker that is making its own bold claim that it has found the path to affordable software-defined radio. Of course, cost is a crucial component in terms of making SDR viable for use in the public-safety and enterprise sectors. Let’s hope BitWave is more effective in fulfilling its promises than Sprint Nextel and the TA have been so far.