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#1432 minutes

An FCC Legend Shares His Perspective

The FCC is always adapting to new technology, and that was highlighted when the agency recently celebrated its 85th birthday. Exhibits in the Commission meeting room showed everything from a 1928 AM radio (that still works) to a 5G smartphone, spanning nearly 100 years of technology development. But as the old saying goes, "nothing is new." And it's often helpful to look back on some of the topics that dominated the FCC's attention in past decades, as they can inform its present and future. And who better to look back on the history of the FCC than Dale Hatfield, an FCC legend, former chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, and, currently, a member of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council and a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the technology, cybersecurity, and policy department. Note: This podcast was recorded on June 21st. (Disclaimer)

Transcript: 

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Welcome to More Than Seven Dirty Words, the official FCC podcast. I'm Evan Swarztrauber. The FCC is always adapting to new technology. And just this week, the agency celebrated its 85th birthday, and there were exhibits in the Commission meeting room showing everything from a 1928 AM radio (that still works) to a 5G smartphone. These exhibits span nearly 100 years of technology development. But as the old saying goes, "nothing is new." And it's often helpful to look back on some of the topics that dominated the FCC's attention in past decades, as they can inform its present and future. And who better to look back on the history of the FCC than Dale Hatfield, an FCC legend, former chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, and, currently, he's a professor at University of Colorado at Boulder in the technology, cybersecurity, and policy department. Today is Friday, June 21st when we're recording, and Dale is in town from Boulder for the FCC's Technological Advisory Council, which advises the FCC on technology matters as the name would suggest. So Dale, thank you so much for joining the show, really glad to have you here.

MR. HATFIELD: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And, of course, I'm going to start out with a difficult question where I'm going to ask you to summarize your career in less than an hour. So, if we could start the show with that.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah. I'm probably going to give you the wrong signals because I started in 1953 as an amateur radio operator. So, my interest in spectrum in radio matters dates back an awful long time.

But professionally, in the early 70s I was the Office of Telecommunications Policy in the White House in the spectrum, mostly in the spectrum-related area.

And then in the mid-1970s I was chief of the Office of Plans and Policies here at the FCC under Dick Wiley.

Then late in the 1970s I ran the policy shop at NTIA.

And in late 1981 to early 1982, I actually ran NTIA on a -- I was Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, if I can remember the title correctly.

Then late in 1997, yeah, 1997 I returned here to the FCC as Chief of OET, Juli Knapp's job today. And, of course, during this period of time I held academic, academic appointments as well.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: All right. Well, you successfully did span a decades-long career. And clearly you know a couple of things about telecom. So I think you established your credentials for the audience.

And we just had a current chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, Juli Knapp, on the show. So, we'll see which one of you gets more downloads.

(Laughter.)

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Then you guys can fight about it.

But, as I started out the show, you know, the FCC has always adapted; right? And I guess it's easy, especially, you know, if you're younger in the telecom world it's easy to think that everything you're doing is unprecedented and new, and it's never been done before, and it's never been discussed, because technology is always moving. But, given your long history of working on these issues, are there any issues, you know, from your tenure that you see parallels with the discussions we're having today that dominate our, you know, news cycle at the FCC?

MR. HATFIELD: When I think about that, the one that immediately jumps into mind is between -- the tension between federal government use of the radio spectrum and non-federal use of the radio spectrum. And that tension between the two has always been here.

In other words, the federal side needs more spectrum, the commercial side needs more spectrum, so it leads to a certain amount of tension. And that's been going on as long as I've been involved. And it's partly an artifact of the way we do things here in the U.S.

We split spectrum, the allocation of spectrum between the FCC and, of course, NTIA. Other countries often have the two combined. So, your tension is probably still there, but it manifests itself differently.

And I served both at NTIA and the FCC, as I mentioned, so I've seen that tension firsthand during my career.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And just for the listeners, you know, the NTIA, a sister agency of the FCC, they manage the federal spectrum holdings, whereas the FCC is mostly involved with the commercial use of spectrum for business and for consumers.

MR. HATFIELD: Exactly right. Exactly right.

Today I serve on both the FCC Technical Advi -- Technological Advisory Counsel, which we've just met, as you mentioned, and the Commerce Department's Spectrum Management Advisory Committee. So, here again I see, I see things from both sides.

But, of course, the commercial users are saying we definitely need more spectrum, for example, to support the roll-out and growth of 5G services, which we know how important that is. And argue often that the federal government is not using their part of the spectrum as efficiently as they might.

On the other hand, of course, the federal government's saying we need spectrum for national defense, homeland security purposes, and so forth, and very critical needs. And our needs are also growing, and we need to hold on to what we have to assure that we have the spectrum we need for national security purposes going forward.

So, both sides make rather compelling arguments. And it's really difficult, it's really difficult to make that decision. And, like I say, it's something that's been going on, going on for years.

If I had to offer an opinion, I'd say probably what we need to do is more dynamic sharing between the two, because we can't continue with this, with this division it seems to me, this tension. So, we need to try to find a way to solve in many ways this spectrum sharing, which raises its own set of difficult issues. But that's probably for another time.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Right.

And another issue that's been around for ages but that, you know, seems like there's always a new iteration of it is the management of interference. I mean, this goes back to --

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- the reason the predecessor to the FCC, the Federal Radio Commission, was started in the first place, because radio stations were interfering with each other. And, you know, you mentioned that you overlapped here with current Bureau Chief Knapp.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: You were his boss, I guess. I don't know if he would appreciate me saying that on the show but --

(Laughter.)

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- and you both, you know, share a passion for, you know, interference management, and how do you ensure that everyone is playing by the rules and that we're not talking over each other so to speak.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: So, are there any, you know, compelling examples of interference back in the day that might be informative to those that work on the issue today?

MR. HATFIELD: Sure. And first of all let me say that I just can't say enough good things about Juli, a really true public servant, who is sometimes referred to, I think quite properly, as a national treasure.

One of the highlights of my career was working with, with Juli. I learned so much from him. So we will have fun when looking at the results of the podcast with you.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Oh man, I was hoping for you to come on here and badmouth him and --

(Laughter.)

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- talk about how much better you are.

MR. HATFIELD: No.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: But, instead, you guys get along. That's not very interesting.

(Laughter.)

MR. HATFIELD: No, he is just really terrific.

But, seriously, turning to your question. I regard the management of the radio spectrum as sort of the most fundamental thing that the FCC does. You can also put common carriage regulation sort of to that. But, basically, when you look right at that management of the radio spectrum, it's a key, key, a key, key thing that you do.

And, again, within that, management of interference is critical. Because if you don't do the interference management then the spectrum essentially becomes, in extreme becomes, becomes useless. So, that function is just really central with what the, what the FCC does.

I can, if you'd like, tell you a story that I went back to your comment that there's nothing really new in terms of issues.

Some of you in the listeners may remember the citizens band radio which was wildly popular at one time, and is still used, but to a limited extent, even, even today by truck drivers and others. Remember Breaker, Breaker 1-9 sort of thing.

And, of course, it allowed people with very little low power 5-watt stations in their vehicles or home to be able to communicate with almost anybody, either for business purposes or just as a hobby. And it turned out that the radio band used by the amateur radio enthusiasts was right next to the CB spectrum where the CB operators used their little 5-watt radio.

And some enterprising manufacturer got the idea that they would sell amplifiers so that you could boost the signals up to as much as 1,000 watts. And they were legal to be used in the amateur service but they were illegal to be used in the CB.

But the fun part of it was they put a little tag on the thing, the base on the amplifier that said basically do not cut this wire because it would enable you to operate at much higher power.

(Laughter.)

MR. HATFIELD: And, of course, it was sort of an invitation to, sort of an invitation, if you will, to people to actually clip that, clip that wire.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah, it's an interesting strategy from the manufacturer's standpoint to say, please, definitely do not cut this wire --

MR. HATFIELD: Right.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- which will make your radio much cooler and powerful.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Don't touch this red button that's totally unguarded and no one's going to stop you from touching it.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah. And, of course, you had, you know, what's the incentive to do that? Well, hobbyists wanted to talk as far as they could.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Of course.

MR. HATFIELD: So, you know, they can talk much further with, you know, 100, or 300, or even a kilowatt than they can with the low power.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And this little tag didn't necessarily come with a 3-page explanation of all the interference problems they'd be --

MR. HATFIELD: Exact --

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- causing by cutting that wire.

MR. HATFIELD: Exactly right. And, of course, this caused tremendous amount of interference for people who were trying to operate, trying to operate legally.

And, of course, what you would expect when you do that, of course, the interference really gets, gets fierce. It can make it almost -- and did. I mean, citizens band got to the point where there was so much interference and chaos it was very difficult to people who were operating legitimately to do things they wanted to do.

But what I think it does, it does illustrate what sort of the problems we have today, because if you don't manage the spectrum right you can end up with lots of chaotic interference between users, so it essentially becomes more or less useless for anybody.

And to tie it back, your comment about nothing being new, I talked about cutting -- we've just been talking about cutting the wire. In today's we have what we call software-defined radio. We used to do things with coils and capacitors and things like that. And now these functions in the radio are controlled by software. So, instead of cutting a wire, all you have to do is hack the software.

So, it's the same problem. You can operate illegally by hacking the software and say tune this radio to some other place, or increase the power to something, and cause sort of interference. So, there's a link, if you will, between the cutting the wire and today's things where you have to worry about somebody hacking the software and the software-defined radio.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Right. And the amateur radio example, you know, from back in the day might today be considered a low tech example of spectrum interference.

But, you know, there are modern examples like GPS jamming that it's very easy to imagine how problematic it could be if the GPS which we now take for granted, whether it's used to call a rideshare, or when you're navigating your own vehicle, or riding somewhere, or scootering, or whatever you're doing, or flying, that could be a serious problem for public safety, not just the, maybe, annoyance to a truck driver, it could be a lot more serious.

And what, you know, what are some of the issues that you've noticed in the GPS context when it comes to interference management?

MR. HATFIELD: Well, that's a, a very important comment because you, you said it exactly right, knowing that somebody just in a truck, individual truck or something, is not of really national consequence. The person may get irritated but it's not national consequences.

On the other hand, as you suggest, GPS is used for critical things like positioning, navigation, precision timing. And, and if you, if you cause it to fail in some way, there can be very, very serious consequences.

Let me say that there are really two threats that we think about. One is jamming, where somebody just puts out a signal that's a lot stronger than the one you're trying to listen to and, therefore, drowns out if you will, the intended GPS signal that you're listening to.

Now, it's interesting to me because the jamming can be malicious, and it can be intentional but not malicious. For example, school teachers sometimes will put a jammer in their classroom to keep the students from using their cell phones during class. A theater owner might put a jammer in to keep people's cell phones from being activated.

But it can also be used maliciously. For example, a criminal who doesn't want to be tracked or something can also, can also, also jam it. And so we have to -- by the way, I think that jamming is just absolutely illegal.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah, because I can hear --

(Laughter.)

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- in the mind of school teachers and theater owners listening to this podcast, they're going on Google right now and they're saying --

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- I'm going to grab me one of these jammers.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: So, I know you were about to hit Apurchase@ on that product, but you can go ahead and stop, because whether you're a teacher or a criminal, jamming is not legal.

MR. HATFIELD: It's just plain not legal. And it's not, not only plain not legal, it's -- now, I'm not a lawyer -- it's illegal to advertise them, and it's illegal to import them, it's illegal to manufacture. And the FCC has got it really covered that you cannot use these devices except in very, very limited circumstances that don't, don't apply.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And maybe some listeners, you know, a few years back went to some high-end restaurant to celebrate a special occasion and they noticed their cell phone didn't work in the restaurant, but they walked half a block away and all their bars came back.

MR. HATFIELD: Right.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Might have been using a jammer.

MR. HATFIELD: A jammer.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah.

MR. HATFIELD: Exactly right. Exactly right.

Here again, it's not malicious. They're not. But the trouble of it is, if you use it in a restaurant, you may jam somebody next door --

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Of course.

MR. HATFIELD: -- from calling 911, for example, or whatever. So, we've got to be very careful.

The other thing that people I don't think understand quite as well is this notion of spoofing, where you pretend to be a legitimate GPS site. And if you transmit a spoofed GPS signal, your phone may not be able to tell. You sort of drowned out the legitimate signal, and replace it, if you will, with a signal that's not the real signal.

And why would somebody do that? Well, you know, they can fool you into maybe driving down a dark road because your, you know, your phone says turn right at the next intersection, and you think that's a legitimate, you think you're getting a legitimate, you know, --

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: That that's the right way to go.

MR. HATFIELD: -- direction. But, yeah, you think that's the right way to go, and you may end up going down a dark road and somebody -- you know, kind of reaching a little, but nevertheless it illustrates.

More importantly perhaps, it could turn right, and you do it and you go over the side of a cliff or something.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Right. Or you could imagine a foreign adversary would have an interest in potentially causing chaos in, you know, in another country, roads, bridges, et cetera, could become, you know, rendered useless if there was widespread jamming of GPS --

MR. HATFIELD: Exactly.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- or, sorry, widespread spoofing of GPS sites.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah. Spoofing and jamming, they're two different.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah.

MR. HATFIELD: In some ways, to me spoofing is kind of scary because it looks like everything's working fine. If you're jammed you kind of say, hey, you know, the signal's not there.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Right.

MR. HATFIELD: But spoofing is. So --

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And that's part of the point you were making, where we move from a hardware to a situation, to a software situation --

MR. HATFIELD: Software.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- and no one has to do anything to my phone physically --

MR. HATFIELD: That's right.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- for me to potentially receive that spoofed signal. And I'd venture to say there's not a ton of awareness that this is even possible. I mean, there's a lot of media attention these days to caller ID spoofing because of the robocall problem.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes. Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And we talked about that on the show.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: But, you know, I'm not sure a lot of people know that the GPS signal could be spoofed. And we're not trying to scare anybody but it is --

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- it is a thing.

MR. HATFIELD: Right. And there is, in turn it's true there's an awful lot of research going on, because you can imagine this is a, you know, concern militarily and so forth. And so, you try to be able to detect that spoofing is occurring.

But that, trying to make that technology economical for use in consumer devices is much more of a challenge, obviously. So, this is an area that has to be sort of researched because of its national defense, national security implications as well.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And, of course, there's no such thing as perfect security; right?

MR. HATFIELD: That's right.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And one of the things you, you and I talked about when we were preparing for this show is the inherent openness of a wireless network.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: You know, a physical wire could be buried underground to protect it. You know, maybe some animals will chew through it. And we've heard about that from broadband providers all over the country.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: In Alaska, the caribou sometimes chew through the fiber. But, you know, there are ways to protect physically a wire from being tampered with physically.

You can't really do that with wireless signals unless you're going to put, you know, the proverbial cone of silence over it, which means you can't use it anyway.

MR. HATFIELD: That's, that's right.

There's something called a Faraday cage that you can actually put a receiver in and the signals can't get in. In other words, the bad signals can't get in.

But as you're suggesting, the flip side of that is the good signals can't get in either.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Right.

MR. HATFIELD: So it's self, it's a self-defeating thing.

So, we have to face that. As we move increasingly towards wireless, we just have to be an awful lot more careful that we're protecting adequately against these sort of jamming and spoofing activities.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Now, I could forgive you for becoming jaded with technology, given that you've seen so many things. And maybe you've just gotten to a point where, like, I'm done, I don't need any more new technology, I'm over it.

But, I do want to ask you, looking ahead to the future, looking at all the things you discuss on the Technological Advisory Council, and things coming down the pike, what excites you most about the future of technology, you know, particularly as it relates to things that will be coming across the FCC's desk?

MR. HATFIELD: What excites me the most? Well, I remember how thrilled I was when I was a kid, about 15 years old, some 55 years ago or something like that.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: See, I wasn't going to ask your age, but since you said it, it's fine.

(Laughter.)

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah. About 81. Yeah, oh, I am 81, not about.

And I was an amateur radio operator, a ham operator, and of course I used Morse Code dots and dashes to communicate with people literally all over the world. And now, of course, with the internet I can communicate with people all over the world, but using voice data, image, video clips, or whatever.

And what an absolutely breathtaking change that has been just in my lifetime. But to me, the thrill is still there. I could talk to somebody in a foreign country by tapping, typing out dots and dashes, and now we can have a full video conference if we want to. Just absolutely amazing.

And, of course, related to that, an area that the FCC, of course, is working very hard on is the 5G, the fifth generation site or systems which promises an awful lot more, in addition to the things I talked about, an awful lot more services that can be provided than what we have even, even today.

So, I'm excited by what we'll, what we'll have in the future because of the 5G rollout.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And speaking of spectrum, one thing I've really enjoyed learning about the FCC is this timeless dynamic of the change in whether -- if there's one thing I really enjoy working here and learning about it's this timeless dynamic where people at a given time think that certain spectrum is unusable. Right? And there's that famous I think misquote of Bill Gates back in the day when he said something like why would anyone need more than 70-something kilobytes of storage? And now we're selling smartphones that, you know, do 100 gigs like it's nothing. Right?

And I guess it's just hard to envision what's going to be usable. But through FCC history, you know, the ceiling in terms of the radio spectrum of what we think is usable keeps changing.

MR. HATFIELD: It does.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And when we say low-band, mid-band, and high-band, those definitions change as things, as more spectrum becomes usable. And the things that we're auctioning off for 5G today, you know, you go back, you know, 10, maybe even 5 years ago and people will say, what, are you crazy? No one could possibly use that.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And given, you know, your tenure here and how long you've been in this space, are there any fun anecdotes of, you know, people talking about unusable spectrum that today we take for granted? Or, you know, is this a dynamic that you've experienced particularly acutely throughout your career?

MR. HATFIELD: Yes. Without naming any names.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: No need for that.

MR. HATFIELD: I can remember when major manufacturers of land mobile radio systems, by that I mean systems that are used, for example, by the police of dispatching their cars, were telling us it wasn't going to be possible for them to move from the VHF range, which is around 150 megahertz, up to 450 megahertz because the radio waves just wouldn't behave properly, the equipment was too expensive, it was too hard to generate. So they had all these reasons why that spectrum essentially would be unusable to them.

And, of course, today the, well, absurdities of that is so clear, with hindsight now. With hindsight.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Right.

MR. HATFIELD: But it's so absurd.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah. Just to put that in context for some of the listeners, some of the bands that the FCC has been engaged in recently, you know, we're talking about 450 megahertz being usable, we've got companies that are interested in deploying in 37 gigahertz.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah. That's billions, yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And even 90, or opening up 90 --

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- for experimentation.

So it's just orders of magnitude have moved beyond what people thought was usable.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes. And, you know, but interestingly we are moving up to a limit now because the Commission in its good work we're beginning to bump up to where we begin to get towards the visible light range. And, of course, that's no long -- it's electromagnetic radiation but it's no longer in what we would call the radio spectrum. It's up in the visible light -- well, we've got a ways, there's a gap in there, but we get up to the visible range.

So, there's --

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: So you're suggesting that the FCC might soon have to regulate light.

(Laughter.)

MR. HATFIELD: Yes. If I have, if I have a moment more, let me tell you a funny story about that.

I was asked to comment, and this is years ago, on a bill that was in Congress that they were considering in Congress. And they wrote it that the FCC would have jurisdiction over all electromagnetic radiation that was used for communications purposes.

So, I thought about this for a while and I said, well, let me see. A red light at an intersection is emitting electromagnetic radiation, and it is telling you something. It is telling you whether to stop or go so, therefore, it is communicating with you.

And I said, with all politeness of course, I don't think you really intended to give the FCC jurisdiction over traffic lights.

(Laughter.)

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah, that gives a new meaning to regulatory mission creep.

So, I did, of course, ask you a positive question about what excites you the most about the future. Maybe in hindsight I should have reversed the order but, whatever, let's keep going.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: What keeps you up at night? You know, you've seen so much throughout your career. Clearly there are always threats with cybersecurity, --

MR. HATFIELD: Yes.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- you know, national security. Technology is overwhelmingly used for good by the vast majority of people, but it can also be used for ill. What keeps you up at night?

MR. HATFIELD: I've already touched on it. And that is as we increasingly release, we rely upon all the amazing benefits of wireless, we've got to keep in mind, hey, they do have a little bit of special susceptibility in terms of the jamming, and spoofing, and snipping that I talked about.

So, I do worry about -- I don't want to oversimpli -- I don't want to overstate it, but on the other hand I think we need to kind of keep in mind, hey, these systems are open.

The other thing that really worries me is the internet has been such a wonderful, wonderful thing. It's been such a great equalizer. And it goes back to some of my comments of being able to communicate around the world and so forth.

But there are efforts, you know, underway to try to segment out and say we'll have our own internet and you can have your own internet. And if we fragment it, it will lose that beautiful thing that we had in the beginning of everybody being able to communicate with anybody else in the world.

My vision is the kid talking around the world then gets now splintered because it--

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah, I think the term that the journalists like to use is splinternet.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes, precisely.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Yeah.

MR. HATFIELD: Precisely.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: And, of course, there are certain authoritarian regimes which, you know, would like to do that, --

MR. HATFIELD: Exactly.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: -- just block off outside information, yeah.

MR. HATFIELD: Exactly right. Exactly right.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Well, we will end on a positive note because I do want to ask you, given how much experience you have and knowledge, what advice do you have for, you know, the current FCC, future FCCs, any future young people -- future young people? -- young people listening to this program who are potentially interested in telecom, you know, your colleagues from the Office of Engineering and Technology that have come on this podcast and said please become an engineer, we need more engineers. But do you have other advice for, you know, the next generation of telecom?

MR. HATFIELD: Well, certainly. I think we need more engineers. I have, when I told my students, I said, if you have a good technical background, I can place you in a job in Washington. The demand is so great for people who have both, I mean like our law students, you know, get some of the technical understanding because it will really help you.

And I said this very awkwardly, but I can more or less assure you can get a job if you have that good technical skills plus the legal training on top of it.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: It's like being bilingual.

MR. HATFIELD: Yes. Well, well stated.

My -- I've always been a believer, and I still am, on strengthening reliance on multi-disciplinary teams, interdisciplinary teams. So we not only think about including lawyers and engineers, but even sociologists, economists and so forth. And I would relate that to the what's happened here just recently at the Commission, sort of pulling together the economists in the, what's it, the Off --

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: The Office of Economics and Analytics.

MR. HATFIELD: Yeah. Which is the step beyond just law and engineering. That brings in the important economic effort. And the sociological effects, of course, are important as well.

I really do believe that an interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary approach leads to much better outcomes for the public. And, of course, all the stakers that -- all the stakeholders that you serve here at the Commission.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Alright, mutual friend of ours is forcing me to ask this questionable question, so to speak. It's multiple choice. Again, odd. And maybe people listening can figure out who inserted this question into my show. What is the best thing about Boulder? Choice 1: It's an amazing tech and wireless community. Choice 2: The stunning outdoor beauty. Choice 3: The brew pubs. And no this did not come from the Boulder tourism board, this comes from someone in telecom. Dale, choose one.

MR. HATFIELD: All three are just absolutely true, and if you force me, I would say why don't you put a box on there that I can check that says all of the above.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: Let the record show that Dale refused to answer the question. I will note his lack of candor and responsiveness before I invite him on for another show. Dale, thank you so much for joining. This has been a real pleasure.

MR. HATFIELD: Well Evan, thank you so much for having me.

MR. SWARZTRAUBER: My guest has been Dale Hatfield, former chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology. He's a member of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council. Currently, he's a professor at the technology, cybersecurity, and policy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Find this podcast in iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. Please leave us a review because it will help others find the show. We'll catch you next time.