FCC Chair Calls for Action on Spectrum Crisis

By October 08, 2009

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave another industry-altering speech on Wednesday regarding the "looming spectrum crisis" the US faces if the government fails to provide more mobile-devoted bandwidth. Declared one of the Federal Communication Commission 's highest priorities, Genachowski is promising a "strategic look" at how to balance supply and demand. The government is tripling the amount of commercially-available spectrum, but industry experts predict that wireless traffic levels will increase thirty times, says the Associated Press . This huge leap will mostly be due to online video and other applications with high data needs.

"I believe that the biggest threat to the future of mobile in America is the looming spectrum crisis," he said in the speech to industry trade group CTIA, The Wireless Association, in San Diego. To combat this threat, the FCC plans to reallocate spectrum currently used for other purposes, as well as to encourage the development of more spectrum-efficient technologies. Still, much more is needed, even after opening up some Wi-Fi connection airwaves and fallow television airwave "white spaces" last year.

More recently, the chairman announced his agency's intention to prohibit wireless service providers from discriminating against certain types of data flow over its networks.

With the proposed adjustments in usage and efficiency, wireless spectrum usage by consumers could be cut as much as forty percent, according to PC World . While this would make considerable impact, forty percent is still not enough. Combine these ideas with systems that dynamically switch between cellular and Wi-fi networks upon availability, and we get closer to a sustainable spectrum usage plan.

In the same speech, Genachowski called for input on future policies. He expressed his dedication to ensure that the industry remains "a vibrant platform for innovation and investment, creativity and speech, an enduring engine for job creation and economic growth."

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