Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FCC Seeks Input on New Spectrum for BB Wireless

The FCC is seeking public comment on the sufficiency of current spectrum allocations, including but not limited to the prime spectrum bands below 3.7 GHz, for purposes developing its National Broadband Plan. The FCC's Public Notice asks for detailed, fact-based responses and, to the extent possible, quantitative data and analytical justification. Specifically, the FCC is seeking public input on the following subjects:

1. What is the ability of current spectrum allocations to support next-generation build-outs and
the anticipated surge in demand and throughput requirements?

2. What spectrum bands are best positioned to support mobile wireless broadband?

3. What spectrum bands are best positioned to support fixed wireless broadband?

4. What are the key issues in moving spectrum allocations toward their highest and best use in the
public interest?

5. What is the ability of current spectrum allocations to support both the fixed and mobile
wireless backhaul market?

The FCC's request for information also noted the following interesting facts and observations gathered from various sources across the industry:

  • CTIA notes that the wireless market in the United States now encompasses over 270 million subscribers.

  • Motorola notes that more than 78 percent of U.S. wireless consumers have a wireless device that is capable of accessing the Internet, and approximately 40 million American consumers are active users of mobile Internet services -- a 75 percent increase from two years ago.

  • According to Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI), a traditional handheld device, with average customer usage patterns, will consume about 30 megabytes of data in a month, a single smart phone consumes 30 times that amount, and a single connected notebook or laptop computer is consuming 450 times that amount.

  • Customers of T-Mobile's G1 smartphone use 50 times the data of an average T-Mobile customer.

  • Mobile applications, such as video, Internet gaming, and social networking typically require bandwidth between 1 and 5 Mbps, compared to 6 to 12 kbps for a mobile voice call.

  • According to CTIA, mobile carriers in the United States operate with just under 450 MHz of spectrum, which CTIA contends compares poorly with many other OECD nations .

  • CTIA further adds there is only 40 MHz of spectrum "in the pipeline" for CMRS providers.

  • WCAI suggests the need for spectrum for fixed wireless broadband could be 150 megahertz.

  • IEEE recommends the use of TV spectrum as potential spectrum available for wireless broadband Internet services.

  • UTC/Edison suggests that reallocating the 1.8 GHz band will support the operations, maintenance, and management of the electricity supply.

  • API recommends that critical infrastructure entities receive access to the 700 MHz band.

  • T-Mobile notes that the United States should follow the example of other nations that are making spectrum available for 3G service in the 1.7 to 1.9 GHz bands, 2.5 GHz, and 2.6 GHz bands.

  • AT&T stated the demand for data on its wireless networks is exploding at such a rapid rate that technological solutions alone cannot be the answer. The ability of AT&T to handle the 5,000% growth in data usage over the past three years relies upon broad contiguous bands of spectrum. To help support this growth, in 2009 AT&T plans to build add an additional 2,000 cell sites to its networks.


See also