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 Files Comments On Spectrum For Mobile Broadband

Last week CCIA filed Comments in the FCC’s 2 GHz rulemaking proceeding.  The Commission’s proposed rules would grant mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) licensees flexibility to use their licensed spectrum to deploy mobile voice and broadband services – increasing the amount of spectrum available for these services. CCIA’s supports the Commission’s work to increase the amount of spectrum…

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FCC Takes Up Key Spectrum Issues Today

The FCC is expected to launch rulemakings today that could make way for more competition and useable broadband spectrum – a goal of its National Broadband Plan. The FCC is to consider a rule that would allow Dish Network to deploy its recently acquired mobile broadband spectrum. Another measure on the agenda would foster 700…

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Public Interest Groups, Companies Letter To FCC On Verizon Cable Deal

More transparency is needed to study the implications of the proposed Verizon cable deal. Today public interest groups, telecommunications companies and CCIA sent a letter to the FCC saying the spectrum transaction among some of the nations largest Internet access providers is a matter that needs greater transparency and the FCC needed access to redacted documents.

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Lightsquared Announcement Disappoints CCIA, Wireless Users

The FCC has revoked Lightsquared’s waiver to operate its nationwide, satellite-based broadband network. The move comes after those trying to block the system lobbied against it claiming it would interfere with GPS traffic. CCIA and others hoping for more available spectrum and more wireless broadband competition are disappointed with this setback. Federal regulatory bureaucracy and…

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