Blog posts tagged with 'Wireless Broadband'
Tuesday, March 22
In the ongoing war of words between broadcasters and the wireless industry over spectrum allocation (quick recap: wireless industry says they need more spectrum to keep up with demand for mobile broadband; broadcasters say they don’t have much spectrum to share and that wireless industry is hoarding unused airwaves), FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has come down on the side of wireless providers. Reports Joan Engebretson from Connected Planet:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski took the opportunity to dispute broadcasters’ claims at a Mobile Future Forum event last week.
“Multiple expert sources expect that by 2014, demand for mobile broadband, and the spectrum to fuel it, will be 35 times the levels it was in 2009,” said Genachowski. “This compares to spectrum coming on line for mobile broadband that represents less than a three times increase in capacity. The looming spectrum shortage is real—and it is the alleged hoarding that is illusory.”
Monday, March 14
At the Metro West Daily News, a musician by the name of Erin McKeown has penned a great op-ed on the need to ensure America connects everyone to the Internet:
Before wireless, those in rural communities like mine faced tremendous cost and infrastructure obstacles to getting connected. Today, access may be in reach of so many more Americans. As long as this access remains open and allows for direct participation, it could transform local economies and creative culture. In the same way that it makes my tiny rural cabin a concert venue of infinite size.
The time is now for this historic investment. We must urge Congress to support the President’s call to ensure that every American has access to the economic, educational and artistic opportunities that universal access to high-speed wireless can create.
The whole piece is worth checking out.
Thursday, March 03
So far, most of the talk about freeing up more spectrum for wireless broadband has centered around airwaves currently owned by broadcasters. But the government currently controls a substantial amount of spectrum as well, and as Juliana Gruenwald of the National Journal reports, there’s new movement on Capitol Hill to make sure that spectrum is being put to the best possible use:
Two key lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday introduced legislation aimed at modernizing the nation’s management and planning of how it uses the increasingly scarce resource of spectrum.
The growing popularity of wireless broadband services is putting more pressure on regulators to free up more spectrum. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass, chairman of the Commerce Communications Subcommittee, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, say their bill, a revised version of one they offered in the 111th Congress, is aimed at providing for the more efficient use of the nation’s spectrum.
Wednesday, March 02
As Congress and the FCC continue to mull over dedicating a sizable band of spectrum solely for public safety (long story short: the FCC wants to auction the valuable airwaves to fund the nationwide public safety network, while the Obama administration wants to proceed without an auction), a new study suggests that simply dedicating spectrum may be the cheaper route for the federal government. As Sara Jerome of The Hill reports:
The Obama administration and key members of Congress have embraced [dedicating airwaves], but detractors would prefer to auction the spectrum to commercial providers, funding a communications network with the revenue.
In contrast, auction proponents want public safety agencies to share the disputed airwaves with commercial providers, and they say their plan—proposed by the FCC last year—is easier on the federal purse strings.
Not so, says the Phoenix Center. Giving the spectrum away for free is actually cheaper than auctioning it off for a number of reasons.
For starters, given the state of the economy, spectrum auctions generally may not bring in as much cash as they have in the past, the Phoenix Center says.
Tuesday, March 01
Via Sara Jerome of The Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Communications subcommittee is scheduled to have a hearing on spectrum allocation next Thursday.
Monday, February 28
That’s how many jobs could be created and saved by bringing the power of wireless broadband to everyone in the U.S., according to a new study from the Rural Cellular Association.
(Via Connected Planet.)
Tuesday, February 15
The National Journal’s David Hatch reports that included in President Obama’s proposed budget is $5 billion for wireless broadband expansion to underserved and unserved areas. Also included: A $18 million increase for the FCC.
Friday, February 11
At an event in Michigan yesterday, President Obama announced a plan to greatly expand the reach of wireless broadband. The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang has the details:
Obama unveiled an ambitious blueprint to use $18 billion in federal funds to get 98 percent of the nation connected to the Internet on smartphones and tablet computers in five years.
To get there, the federal government will try to bring more radiowaves into the hands of wireless carriers to bolster the nation’s networks and prevent a jam of Internet traffic. He said he hoped to auction airwaves currently in the hands of television stations and government agencies to raise about $27.8 billion.
And with the money raised, the government would fund new rural 4G wireless networks and a mobile communications system for fire, policy and emergency responders. The remaining funds raised — about $10 billion — would go toward lowering the federal deficit over the next decade.
Friday, January 28
The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Schatz reports the Obama administration is gearing up for a major push to allocate D-block spectrum for a nationwide public safety network:
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission proposed auctioning off a valuable block of airwaves to wireless carriers and using the proceeds to help fund this new public-safety network. The White House projected that the government would raise about $3 billion from the auction.
At the time, agency officials said it would be more cost effective to auction off the airwaves and require commercial wireless providers to provide priority access to public-safety agencies.
But the FCC didn’t go forward with this auction and the White House Thursday formally rejected the FCC’s plan, saying that giving the airwaves to public-safety groups was a better option. Administration officials are expected to lay out details of their new national wireless plan in the coming fiscal 2012 budget request.
Thursday, January 27
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama called for dramatically increasing wireless broadband access in America. And as Sara Jerome in The Hill reports, Rep. Edward Markey followed up the President’s call by promoting the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.
Released last March, the FCC’s ambitious plan had been somewhat neglected during the net neutrality argument. Now, hopefully, the effort to bring broadband to 100% of America can get back on track.
Friday, January 14
Recently, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski expressed concerns that his proposed incentive spectrum auctions could be hampered by the new GOP House of Representatives. But as Sara Jerome of The Hill reports, new House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton appears to be onboard with the idea:
“Finding additional spectrum to auction for broadband will be a priority this year,” Upton said in an e-mailed statement. “Among other things, legislation will likely include voluntary incentive auctions.”
Thursday, January 13
Will partisan politics stall the FCC from taking action on the looming spectrum crisis? The Hill’s Sara Jerome reports that Chairman Genachowski has some concerns that the new GOP-controlled house could lead to gridlock:
Genachowski said at a Brookings Institution panel Wednesday that he won’t make bets on Congress passing legislation on incentive spectrum auctions, a top priority of the Federal Communications Commission and a proposal that has bipartisan support on the Hill.
“I’m hopeful but not certain,” Genachowski said. “There have been examples where smart, good ideas didn’t go anywhere.”
The explosive growth of wireless data usage — and skyrocketing sales of data-intensive smartphones like the iPhone — is making allocating more spectrum a key initiative. Hopefully both sides of the aisle can work together.
Tuesday, January 11
Via GigaOm, some startling new numbers:
The world will see one billion mobile broadband subscribers this year, doubling from the 500 million mobile web users in 2010, according to Ericsson, a provider of global telecom equipment. An increasing rate of smartphone adoption is the key driver, although connected laptops, tablets, USB data sticks and mobile hotspots will also add to the mobile subscriber numbers to a lesser extent. By the end of 2011, Ericsson estimates that 400 million mobile broadband subscribers will be from the Asia-Pacific region, while Western Europe and North America will follow with 200 million each.
After years of speculation and rumors, it’s now official that Verizon will be getting the iPhone.
Wednesday, December 01
As expected, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced this morning that net neutrality regulations will be up for a vote during the Commission’s December meeting. Encouragingly, the proposed regulations appear to have the support from both industry and public interest groups.
According to Genachowski’s speech, the regulations do not reclassify broadband providers under Title II, which was the so-called “Third Way” course Genachowski previously set the Commission on. Instead, the FCC will be using less-restrictive Title I, and while wireless is included, regulations on providers will be less strict due to mobile broadband’s relative infancy as a technology.
We’ll have more on this important turn of events, but for now the full text of Genachowski’s speech is after the jump.
Monday, November 15
Spectrum has been called the “oxygen of the wireless world,” and with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski warning America is facing a spectrum crisis due to the explosive growth of wireless broadband, today’s release of a plan from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (PDF) to free up more spectrum is critical. From the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Larry Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council in the Wall Street Journal:
Rarely is there an opportunity to simultaneously catalyze private-sector investment, help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and increase much needed government revenue. President Obama is seizing just such an opportunity with his commitment to nearly double the amount of available commercial wireless spectrum over the next 10 years. Today, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will take the first step by announcing a plan to free up 115 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum.
Given wireless broadband’s potential not just in job creation and innovation, but in helping close America’s digital divide, we praise the Obama administration and NTIA for taking this important step.
Thursday, November 04
The FCC has released the tentative agenda for the November 30 open meeting. As expected, spectrum issues dominate the list of topics.
Perhaps unexpectedly, the issue of net neutrality/Title II is not on the agenda.
Friday, October 22
Yesterday, the FCC hosted a spectrum summit focused on addressing America’s dwindling supply of available spectrum. From Chairman Julius Genachowski’s opening remarks:
[W]e are at an inflection point.
The explosive growth in mobile communications is outpacing our ability to keep up. If we don’t act to update our spectrum policies for the 21st century, we’re going to run into a wall — a spectrum crunch — that will stifle American innovation and economic growth and cost us the opportunity to lead the world in mobile communications.
Spectrum is finite. Demand will soon outpace the supply available for mobile broadband.
This is not the first time I’ve said this. And it won’t be the last. The coming spectrum crunch is a vital strategic and economic issue for our country, and a vital consumer issue since increased congestion will lead to growing consumer frustration with their mobile devices.
We need to focus on the spectrum crunch and employ all our levers to unleash the opportunities of mobile.
At GigaOm, Stacey Higginbotham believes the popularity of Apple iPad — and the scores of other tablet PCs coming from competitors — has added to the FCC’s renewed urgency. But while it’s good to see action on the spectrum front, Higginbotham also warns that making spectrum more available for wireless won’t be a smooth and easy process:
Because spectrum is such a crucial advantage for wireless carriers, they are incredibly involved in any process aimed at making more of it available. The nation’s broadcasters are also likely to fight the good fight to keep its spectrum for delivering over the air television, but also services such as mobile TV that they can control. While offering those broadcasters a carrot in the form of sharing in the licensing auction wealth and changing some of the rules they must follow, I’m not sure broadcasters in urban areas — where the need for spectrum is the greatest — will find the incentives enough.
Wednesday, October 20
In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Julius H. Hollis, CEO of the Alliance for Digital Equality warns that heavy-handed regulations in the wireless arena could only make the digital divide worse:
ADE… is concerned with potential government overreach in the wireless space. This area of contention is of particular interest due to the increased use of wireless technologies in minority communities in the last few years. Thanks to wireless devices more low income families can access the resources of the Internet without the use of a home computer and minority Americans are leading the country in using wireless devices to access the Internet. This progress is encouraging, but there is still much work to do on the road toward recovery. On the issue of wireless, I hope our policymakers will tread cautiously as we must not derail the astounding progress made by imposing antiquated regulations and must protect the tremendous opportunity that exists in this space.
An alternative path forward - and the path that we at ADE strongly support - is action from Congress. Not long ago California Congressman Henry Waxman proposed a common sense and balanced approach to Internet policy. While his legislation has stalled for the time being, his efforts demonstrate a willingness within Congress to take action. When recently speaking on net neutrality, Congressman Waxman said he would “not close the door on moving legislation this Congress,” also noting that “cooler heads may prevail after the elections.” This statement is an optimistic sign, especially as some groups outside the mainstream continue to lobby for stringent regulations without the support of the public or our elected officials.
Read the whole thing.
Monday, October 18
At The Hill, Gautham Nagesh reports on the latest data from Cisco on worldwide broadband infrastructure. While South Korea remained #1 for “quality and availability” of broadband (and the U.S. ranks a disappointing 15th), there was good news:
Among nations of similar size, the U.S. was tied with Canada and ahead of Australia; the U.S. was also judged the world leader in mobile broadband along with Spain, Sweden and Denmark.