While it’s summer in Washington and things should slow down, the discussion of the need for wireless spectrum for broadband, and the related question of whether to reclaim television spectrum for that use, continues unabated.  This week, the FCC released a new report finding that between 14 and 24 million Americans have no access to broadband, and finding that a disproportionate number of those people are in rural areas.  While this report to Congress is meant as a factual report on the status of broadband deployment, and not a document that details solutions to the lack of access, both the statement about the report from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the FCC Press Release summarizing the report, suggest that one way to address this shortcoming is to encourage the deployment of wireless broadband.

While the FCC did not, in these documents specifically mention the TV spectrum as a source for that wireless capacity, as we have written before, the FCC’s Broadband Plan looks to the television spectrum for the majority of the spectrum that they hope to reclaim for broadband use.   Joining the FCC’s call for more spectrum was an even higher power.  The White House recently issued a Presidential Memorandum supporting the idea that the FCC free up 500 mhz of spectrum for wireless broadband purposes.  While the Memorandum tasked government agencies with finding ways to free spectrum that they are using to meet this perceived need, it also made clear that the government would look to meet part of the need by reclaiming spectrum from non-governmental users.  And they are not the only ones getting into the Act. 


Continue Reading FCC Wants More Wireless Broadband from TV Spectrum – Congress and the White House Get In on the Action

The FCC today released its National Broadband Plan to Congress, and in it spelled out its suggestions for the future of television. Facilitating the deployment of ubiquitous, dependable wireless broadband service is identified as a fundamental goal of the Commission’s proposals. The authors of the Commission’s report have viewed the problems experienced by some wireless broadband providers in major markets as indicative of a coming shortage in wireless capacity. Specifically, the Commission is concerned that as more and more applications for wireless broadband are deployed, the capacity of existing wireless spectrum will be exhausted, foreclosing opportunities presented by wireless broadband. And, as detailed below, the Commission sees the television spectrum as providing a significant part of the answer to that perceived spectrum shortfall.

The opportunities for broadband are many, in the view of the authors of the study. The Commission sees growing demand and future applications for wireless broadband not just in the areas of entertainment and commercial applications, but also in education, health, energy conservation, civic involvement, and public safety, among others. However, the Commission fears that sufficient spectrum will not be available to meet all of these needs.


Continue Reading FCC National Broadband Plan – What It Suggests for TV Broadcasters Spectrum