In broadband plan, FCC's Levin acknowledges need for more spectrum

WASHINGTON--In crafting a national broadband plan, the FCC is looking to create a framework that will speed up the cycle of broadband deployment and adoption, an FCC official said Wednesday.

blair levin fccBlair Levin, who heads the commission's broadband program, said the plan's logical course will be one that "unleashes forces that quicken that cycle or removes forces that slow down that cycle." Levin was speaking to telecom executives and lobbyists at a meeting of the Udwin Breakfast Group in Washington, D.C.

One key area will be access to spectrum, and Levin conceded that there is not a lot to dole out. "There's not enough of it," he acknowledged. At broadband policy workshops in August, several Tier 1 carriers, including T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, argued for more licensed spectrum to keep pace with customers' bandwidth demands, especially for mobile broadband.

When asked whether the FCC would be working with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the White House to find ways of more efficiently using or reallocating spectrum used by federal agencies, Levin said that there was a distinct possibility that could happen.

"To do an intellectually credible job, you have to put everything on the table," he said.

The FCC has been charged by Congress to present a national broadband plan by February. Levin said the plan will not be "self-executing," and that Congress and state and local governments likely will have to get involved to execute it.

Levin said current spectrum holders should be prepared to justify their ongoing use of the airwaves.

"I think to a certain extent I want you to be worried," Levin said in response to a question about whether the broadband plan could put pressure on spectrum holders to defend their use of the spectrum. "You should be worried. I wake up at 5 in the morning worried about something, and my way of coping with it is to make other people worried. That's actually the intellectual process we should go through."

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