As mobile broadband has increasingly become an integral part of the modern U.S. economy and of Americans’ lives, the spectrum needed to provide it has become a critically important resource. Next year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be holding an auction of quality low-band spectrum, which will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure a competitive wireless broadband market. Some 73 percent of this low-band spectrum is currently held by two providers: AT&T and Verizon. As part of the SaveWirelessChoice coalition, CCIA is working to ensure that pro-competitive rules are adopted for the auction to prevent the perpetuation of a spectrum duopoly.

CCIA has long valued the critical role competition plays in determining whether innovation occurs in an industry. Robust competition is what drives companies to innovate in an attempt to differentiate themselves from others. If AT&T and Verizon are allowed to continue their dominance of low-band spectrum, there would be no incentive for them to innovate. One cannot expect these two large incumbents to come up with the next breakthrough technology. To cede this spectrum to a legacy duopoly would be to ratify a modern-day Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the world outside Europe between Spain and Portugal in the 15th century. We can all be thankful that this original version of #TwoFew did not last.

SaveWirelessChoice is calling for the FCC to:

  • hold the 600 MHz incentive auction on schedule in early 2016;
  • reserve 40 MHz or at least half of the available spectrum for companies other than Verizon and AT&T

The incentive auction will have a large impact on whether the wireless broadband market of the future will be an open sea churning with innovation, or a still lake dominated by two carriers. We encourage you to visit the SaveWirelessChoice website and “Take Action.”

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