Please Pass the Spectrum
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Please Pass the Spectrum

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the FCC and its chairman, Julius Genachowski. I think the issues they are examining and decisions they are making are very important to the communications industry – especially for wireless – so I wanted to take a few minutes to review and discuss the latest.      


Last week, the FCC opened a “request for comments” on broadband spectrum that will be used for the broadband stimulus.  The FCC is looking to examine “the sufficiency of current spectrum allocations in spectrum bands, including but not limited to the prime spectrum bands below 3.7 GHz.”  Basically, they want to know if there is enough spectrum available to support the broadband stimulus programs. 


Stacey Higginbotham from GigaOM, as always, did a nice job examining the issues at hand in her recent article.  In the article, Stacey addresses concerns across the wireless industry that there is just not enough spectrum free and available for this program.  She notes, “Various estimates suggest that the U.S. needs 150-400 MHz more of spectrum within the next year. Right now, we have about 409 MHz available and about 50 MHz in the pipeline, according to the CTIA.”


There is a lot of great spectrum out there that can help support the broadband stimulus programs – and I hope that through this “request for comments,” the FCC is able to open more of them. 


The FCC has a great track record in past dealings with spectrum.  For example, the first PSC spectrum that was released years ago has lead to almost all Americans having mobile phones. 


Fast forward a few years to when the FCC got very creative and released unlicensed spectrum that was used to create a multi-billion dollar industry – WiFi.  Today, WiFi makes countless devices easier and better to use. 


On a somewhat related note, I am also glad to see the FCC has been keeping its followers up to date on the spectrum issue and others through its blog, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. 

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