Demand for mobile broadband capacity is projected to outstrip wireless network supply in the next decade unless the federal government takes action to reform both commercial and government use of this finite public resource, the electromagnetic spectrum, to make it more efficient.  Spectrum legislation passed the 112th Congress, as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.  It authorized the FCC to conduct Incentive Auctions for which TV and radio broadcasters may choose to relinquish their licensed frequencies for future mobile broadband use in exchange for a share of the auction proceeds.  The public safety nonprofit FirstNet will also be entitled to auction proceeds to help fund wireless operations of first responders. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department’s NTIA and the FCC had already started work on a spectrum inventory project in order to identify unused and underused commercial and federal government frequency blocks that may be re-assigned and/or auctioned for licensed or unlicensed wireless broadband use.  All of these initiatives trace their origins to the 2010 National Broadband Plan that Congress mandated the FCC to develop.

In response to this year’s legislation, the FCC has initiated rulemakings on both commercial mobile Spectrum Holdings, and Incentive Auctions.  CCIA supports FCC adoption of pro-competitive spectrum holdings limitations per frequency band so that the largest two companies in an already concentrated mobile broadband cannot increase their dominant market power via incentive auctions.  All spectrum blocks are not created equal, but have different propagation characteristics that must be taken into account depending, for example on whether the frequencies are needed for congested urban use or rural use.  CCIA also supports the reservation of some of the newly available spectrum for unlicensed use, including a significant portion that would be available on a uniform nationwide basis for the first time.  Use of so-called TV white spaces and dynamic spectrum sharing by smart devices can increase the efficiency of spectrum use so that more wireless users can be accommodated for a diversity of functions.

Most Recent Statements&Findings:

CCIA Applauds FCC Vote on Special Access

The FCC has approved the mandatory data request for the carrier wholesale and broadband for business markets.  This is a step towards addressing the market failure known as special access, which involves the rates American businesses pay the largest telecommunications carriers for broadband connections to the Internet.  For many years, the FCC has been discussing reforms to…

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CCIA Opposes Online Sales Tax Collection Amendment to Defense Authorization Bill

The FCC has approved the mandatory data request for the carrier wholesale and broadband for business markets.  This is a step towards addressing the market failure known as special access, which involves the rates American businesses pay the largest telecommunications carriers for broadband connections to the Internet.  For many years, the FCC has been discussing reforms to…

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Open Internet Rights in America Being Tested in Court

Earlier this week, the FCC filed a Court brief in defense of its open Internet rule that has been challenged by Verizon and one small wireless carrier, Metro PCS.   Verizon claims to support the Internet remaining “an unrestricted and open platform, where people can access the lawful content, services and applications of their choice.”   It simply objects to an…

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FCC Approves Verizon Collaboration with Cable Companies

The Federal Communications Commission released its Order on Thursday approving the myriad of agreements between Verizon and its largest cable competitors.  The Order follows last week’s approval with revisions mandated by the Justice Department. While the Computer & Communications Industry Association appreciates the time and effort the FCC took to carefully consider these unprecedented agreements, the…

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