When I say anything of substance to D.C. officials, I try to make my comments public in the spirit of the FCC ex parte rules. (What they tell me is off the record unless they say otherwise.) Earl Comstock, back in government after many years, said something particularly cogent; China market of 1.4 billion people provides economies of scale that often result in leadership. So I sent him this note. There's nothing profound here but I thought he'd be amused.

Anything you tell me is totally off the record unless you tell me otherwise. I make a point of making public anything I say to government people, in the spirit of the FCC ex parte rules.
I thought you'd be amused to hear that a Huawei executive not long ago told me something very similar to your comment 

Once the Chinese companies bring in the capability that’s organic to their nation, they have 1.4 billion consumers who will buy their products and then expand their revenues, increase their research and development, and then expand into international markets. 

​and I've heard​ similar from others in China. 

(The context was whether the world would ultimately choose 25G & 50G Ethernet for 5G backhaul, as China is, or ​the NG-PON2 Verizon is using. Technically they are about even, but he thought the Chinese economies of scale would prevail.) 

     ​We haven't spoken in more than a decade and I didn't know you were back in government.

I've been covering broadband since 1999, mostly from the technology side. Our politics are very different but I'm always happy to share my technical knowledge and connections with anyone in policy. As Kevin Martin once said to me, "Some issues are neither right nor left" and I care about good policy. You always had a reputation as a straight shooter.

I'm wrapping​ a 90-page analysis report on 5G Strategies, informed by two dozen of the top technical people including several European CTO's. I'm probably as close as anyone writing in English to the primary sources. I also read the Chinese tech press in Google translation and probably have as much data on Chinese telecom as anyone in public.

   ​Do pick my brain if I can be helpful. Most of what comes out of DC in telecom is from lawyers rather than the engineers building the networks.

 Dave Burstein - Once "The DSL Guy" but now mostly wireless.​

 p.s. I follow 3GPP closely, which is truly powerful. I can confirm that it's increasingly dominated by CJK. The U.S. government is one of the very few non-corporate members and I've been amazed we send almost no one there. It could be a very effective lever and by far the cheapest way to support American interests. 


The people I've met in U.S. government telecom policy are very different than most expect. Most are smart and even brilliant attorneys trying to serve the public interest as they see it. At the FCC, I haven't seen anything that even smelled like corruption in my twenty years. (Congress is different.) Conservative Republicans have demonstrated to me they are at least as honourable as my progressive friends.

To my amazement, almost all the top people are happy to talk with you if you have knowledge and original thoughts on the issues they care about. Most of them are very bored with 90% of the people who call on them to advocate for their interests, corporate or public. They almost always will read your comments if thoughtful. Most below the Commissioner level will meet with you if they sense you have something interesting to say. You do not need to pay a D.C. lawyer $10,000 to get an appointment, but do get advice on the etiquette.