Mobile broadband is on the rise, but with carriers trying to offer better and faster services, there is a resource that might go scarce soon: radio spectrum allocation. Most technologies today can support the network load through code-division, which lets data and voice packets share the same space, bandwidth permitting. However, as the need for “ubiquitous mobile Internet coverage” arises, the FCC feels the need to be proactive in allocating for these resources as demand grows.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski says the move will encourage broadcasters to sell the unused spectrum that they own. As an alternative, broadcasting companies can can or move to alternative frequencies more adequate for broadcasting, such as VHF, which is not adequate for mobile telephony.
To ensure ongoing innovation in mobile broadband, we must pursue several strategies vigorously: freeing up more spectrum for both licensed use and for unlicensed services like Wi-Fi; driving faster speeds, greater capacity, and ubiquitous mobile Internet coverage.
The proposed rules on said auction have been circulated among FCC commissioners for discussion on September 28. While the effects of the said move will not likely be immediately felt by consumers, this will be beneficial in the long run.
“The auctions will yield innumerable benefits for American consumers to access wireless broadband and ensure that devices such as smartphones and tablets can continue to connect to those networks,” said Julie Kearney, vice president of the Consumer Electronics Association, the standards and trade organization that runs the annual Consumer Electronics Show every January.
Will a reallocation of the radio spectrum result in better services and faster mobile broadband speeds? That will be up to the mobile carriers and regulators. But as consumers, it's up to us to be vigilant that we get reasonable service for what we pay.