White House Wants Doubled Wireless Broadband Spectrum

But commercial and TV broadcast may have to sacrifice

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The White House has announced a plan to reserve 500 megahertz of federal and commercial spectrum for use by wireless devices, doubling the amount of existing spectrum available for wireless access. Here's what this would change.

  • White House Touts Broadband Plan An official tells Politico's Mike Allen the plan is meant to "foster investment, economic growth and help create hundreds of thousands of jobs by meeting the burgeoning demand for mobile and fixed broadband, other high-value uses and benefits for other industries. ... It will bring the benefits of wireless broadband and the opportunities it fosters across the entire country, including rural areas."
  • Meeting Growing Demand Ars Technica's Matthew Lasar explains, "The call comes with the requisite 'looming spectrum crisis' prose, citing estimates that over the next five years wireless data flow will jump to between 20 and 45 times the total bandwidth used in 2009. 'As the revolution in mobile broadband and related technologies unfolds, the demand for spectrum will continue to increase - leading to increasing fears of a spectrum crunch', the statement says."
  • Industry Will Have to Give Up Some Spectrum Engadget's Chris Ziegler writes, "It's looking more and more like at least some privately-held spectrum is going to need to be reallocated involuntarily, but there's a lot of underused and unused airspace out there right now, so it'll be interesting to see if these guys can comply with the order in a drama-free manner."
  • Bad News for TV Broadcast The New York Times' Edward Wyatt notes, "some aspects could be opposed by television broadcast companies, which will be asked if they want to give up some of their spectrum for auction. Cable companies that have invested heavily in wired telecommunications networks could also lose from the new direction."
  • Using Excess Funds to Build Emergency Broadband Network Politics Daily's Alex Wagner writes, "The White House is seeking further seeking Congressional approval to use proceeds from the auction of federal spectrum to upgrade federal agencies' communications systems and establish a new, 'interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety.' The aim of this network would be to ensure better coordination between emergency services across different jurisdictions, a problem identified in the wake of 9/11."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.