FCC chief warns of spectrum crisis

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski says he’s bringing more spectrum to the US mobile sector, but admits it won’t be enough.
 
He warned at the CTIA conference in San Diego yesterday of a “looming spectrum crisis.”
 
“Spectrum is the oxygen of our mobile networks,” he said in a prepared speech. While adequate short-term spectrum was available, the longer-term picture was very different.
 
Mobile data usage was “exploding”, from 6 petabytes per month last year to an estimated 400 petabytes per month in 2013, he said. Other experts had predicted a 30-fold increase in wireless traffic. 
 
“I believe that that the biggest threat to the future of mobile in America is the looming spectrum crisis.”
 
“[W]hat happens when every mobile user has an iPhone, a Palm Pre, a Blackberry Tour or whatever the next device is? 
 
“The short answer: we will need a lot more spectrum.
 
He said that, including last year’s 700 MHz auction, the FCC had increased available commercial spectrum threefold in recent year.
 
He said the FCC would search for currently occupied frequencies that could be reallocated to mobile broadband and would consider secondary spectrum markets and “spectrum flexibility policies.”
 
Genachowski’s remarks to the industry follow a letter from CTIA CEO Steve Largent to the FCC two weeks ago calling for the release of an extra 800MHz over the next six years.

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