May 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C…. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is urging the Obama Administration to accelerate the transition of government-owned spectrum bandwidth to the private sector.

In a letter that ITI signed with the High Tech Spectrum Coalition, CTIA-The Wireless Association, and the Telecommunications Industry Association, the groups urged the White House to accelerate the shift of spectrum from the government to the private sector.

“While industry is continuing to develop and deploy increasingly efficient spectrum technologies, the fact remains there is a spectrum crunch that no amount of efficiencies will satisfy.  If policymakers do not act in the short-term to clear additional spectrum for licensed mobile broadband use, our country’s networks will become increasingly strained, and the U.S. hold on mobile broadband leadership will start to wane,” they wrote.

Broadband AnalysisEarlier this year, Cisco noted that overall mobile data traffic is expected to grow to 10.8 exabytes per month this year – an 18-fold increase over 2011.  If policymakers fail to make additional broadband spectrum available to handle the increased traffic, there could be a significant negative impact on consumer experience, innovation and the rapidly growing mobile economy.

To meet this challenge, ITI and other associated groups capped nearly two years of advocacy when President Obama signed the authorization earlier this year to make more spectrum available for commercial broadband through incentive auctions.  However, the letter outlines concerns about delayed action as the FCC and NTIA have undertaken a lengthy process to determine how to repurpose government spectrum for commercial mobile broadband technologies.

“The FCC has stated that it will not begin incentive auction rulemaking until the Fall, and the spectrum reclaimed through that process is unlikely to be placed into commercial use for some time.  So, while some progress has been made to repurpose spectrum for commercially licensed mobile broadband use, not enough has been identified – especially from federal government spectrum bands,” the groups noted.  “What is needed is a commitment that identifies definitive bands and a specific implementable plan of action to provide regulatory certainty for investment.  We urge policymakers to make progress on both fronts this year; industry is committed to do what we can to assist your Administration to reach these important decisions as promptly as possible.”

The full letter is available on the ITI website.