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Government Turns to Competition to Free Wireless Spectrum

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January 13, 2010

Government Turns to Competition to Free Wireless Spectrum

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


Whoa, somebody must've slipped a free market mickey in the water supply at the White House: The Department of Justice is now saying the best way to encourage broadband improvements is via good old-fashioned free market competition.

Specifically, making more licenses available for wireless use: 'Given the potential of wireless services to reach underserved areas and to provide an alternative to wireline broadband providers in other areas, the Commission’s primary tool for promoting broadband competition should be freeing up spectrum,' the DOJ recently wrote to the FCC.


'Spectrum (News - Alert) shortage' is the mantra these days. TMC's Stefania Viscusi has reported that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is warning just such a shortage lies ahead.

CTIA (News - Alert), The Wireless Association's President and CEO, Steve Largent, recently testified before the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet to the effect that while the industry was “the most efficient users of spectrum in the world,” the “danger of consumer demand outpacing our capacity” does exist:

“With more than 276 million subscribers in the U.S., it is vital for our industry to secure at least 800 MHz of additional spectrum within the next six years.'

As industry observer Matthew Lasar notes, 'The Department of Justice has weighed in on the debate over whether the wireless industry needs more spectrum. Its answer is yes, but the DOJ wants those new licenses to go to competitive providers, not just the incumbent telcos.'

Viscusi also reported that Chris Whiteley (News - Alert), director of Business Development at xG Technology, told TMCnet “There is a gross underuse of the nation’s licensed spectrum, but licensing publicly-owned airwaves is not the answer to the spectrum crunch, it’s what caused the problem in the first place.” 

“Licensing spectrum to a few, well-entrenched players represents the command and control approach of the past and will do little if anything to save consumers on their monthly bills,” Whiteley said. “New technologies such as our xMax mobile VoIP system have the potential to open the field to new market entrants and enhanced competition.”

xMax was developed for the unlicensed 900 MHz band, which offers good range and signal penetration.
 
'To make sure spectrum that is riddled with wireless garbage can be made into a fully functioning wireless voice and data network, xMax uses advanced radio agility and a network architecture that work cooperatively to analyze channels and adapt on the fly to avoid other transmissions,' reported TMC's Susan J. Campbell recently.

Are the benefits of open competition making a comeback in Washington? Smelling salts all around, please. It just might work.
 
 
To find out more about xG Technology (News - Alert), visit the company at the 4GWE Conference. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami and collocated with ITEXPO East 2010, the 4GWE Conference will focus on the realities of deploying 4G technologies and delivering broadband wireless applications to a growing community of wireless broadband consumers. Visit xG Technology at booth #713. Don’t wait. Register now.
 

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi







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