Tuesday, March 22, 2011

UK Recognizes the Need for More Spectrum and Announces Plans for Its Largest Auction Ever

Everyone has probably heard the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) assertion that there is no spectrum crunch. Many have refuted NAB’s claim, including FCC Chairman Genachowski. Further evidence can be found overseas in the UK, which just announced its plans to hold its largest ever single auction of additional spectrum for mobile services in the UK, equivalent to three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today. The UK regulator, Ofcom, has come to the same conclusion as the FCC: More mobile spectrum is essential to meet the demands of increasing mobile traffic. If the U.S. doesn’t make additional mobile spectrum available as well, it risks falling behind the UK and other countries in mobile wireless innovation. The U.S. shouldn’t allow that to happen.


Anonymous said...

Yes, and this is spectrum above 800 MHz, not below 700 MHz....UK has only allocated about 1/5 the amount to date and yet enjoy faster speeds, greater competition....plus there will be STRICT buildout requirements.

Steve Crowley said...

I understand the wireless industry's focus on broadcast spectrum. I'd like to see, however, more campaigning on the part of industry and others for Congress to pass legislation ordering completion of a thorough spectrum inventory of federal and non-federal authorizations and utilization, and updated on a regular basis. I'm curious why such legislation hasn't passed by now. Regardless of what happens with the broadcasters, the wireless industry is going to want to know what's going on in other bands, sooner rather than later.

Fred Campbell said...

You both make good points. I would be surprised, however, if speeds are faster in the UK. I also don't see what competition has to do with spectrum allocation. How are the two issues related?

Regarding strict buildout requirements, I don't see the relationship there either. Over 95% the U.S. population has coverage, even though the U.S. population density is likely much lower than in the UK. The issue is spectrum density, not spectrum coverage.

Regarding the spectrum inventory issues, I agree that an inventory would be useful.