Monday, January 11, 2010

CES: Wireless frequency shortage looms on the horizon

U. S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School with Obama, and the two remained close over the years. In July, Genachowski helped organize an Obama fundraiser in Washington, D.C., that raised at least $1.3 million. Genachowski has a sterling career background in the law. He clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Abner Mikva. He also clerked for two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, David Souter and William Brennan. He worked in Congress from 1985 to 1988 for then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and was on the staff of the select committee on the Iran-Contra Affair during the Reagan administration. Image Credit: Mark Wilson

CES: Wireless frequency shortage looms on the horizon

United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said an impending shortage of wireless spectrum in the U.S. will dampen future economic growth unless action is taken to fix the problem.

"Our data shows there's a looming crisis, not tomorrow, not next week, not next year, but at some point in the future," Genachowski told attendees at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Friday. "The record is pretty clear that we need to find more spectrum," he continued.

"The wireless infrastructure in the U.S. will be our platform for ongoing innovation and investment," he said.

One way to more efficiently use spectrum is to encourage a secondary market where licensees can easily rent out to other organizations spectrum that they may not be using. That's one idea that the U.S. Department of Justice recently recommended to the FCC in a filing encouraging the agency to move quickly to free up more spectrum.

The FCC has identified the limited supply of wireless spectrum as one of the factors that could limit the growth of broadband Internet services in the U.S., which could result in slower economic growth and job creation.

Wireless spectrum issues will be addressed, along with other factors affecting broadband access and services, in a national broadband plan that the FCC is now assembling. The plan was originally due to be completed next month, but the FCC received a 30-day extension from the U.S. Congress.