It’s no secret that the wireless industry is in need of more spectrum. Both wireless subscribers and their data usage are growing at a rapid rate resulting in congestion across networks.
While the “spectrum crunch” issue is not disputed, the way in which new spectrum would be distributed is sparking a big debate in Washington. The solution involves putting the spectrum that is no longer used by broadcast radio and television companies up for auction. However, the problem is between policymakers and the FCC. Legislators want to hold open auctions for the spectrum, but the FCC wants to have the power to say who is and isn’t included in the auction.
According to Bruce Mehlman, the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Tech Policy and the Co-Chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance, open auctions are the better alternative for users and the U.S. economy. As he explained, old government decisions that set limitations are the reason for the current mess. He, therefore, believes that the market should be open for anyone who wants to participate in the auction to have the opportunity to do so.
“The biggest challenge is if the FCC gets its way… I think the spectrum crunch these very auctions are expected to alleviate doesn’t get alleviated… then problems continue,” said Mehlman.
Incidentally, several small wireless carriers including Sprint and T-Mobile, recently asked lawmakers to preserve the FCC’s authority in auctions. Verizon and AT&T are not in favor of this preservation because they believe the FCC could favor the smaller mobile players.
What’s the answer for the spectrum crunch? Please let us know your thoughts.