FCC chairman calls for wireless spectrum marketplace

FCC chairman calls for wireless spectrum marketplace

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

JUNE 8—At the SuperComm trade show in Atlanta this week, Federal Communications Commission chairman William E. Kennard warned of a spectrum drought that could upset communications vendors' plans to put wireless Internet capability into everything from telephones to toasters.

'We're running out of spectrum in this country,' he said.

Spectrum refers to the finite bands of radio frequencies used for wireless transmissions. FCC allocates portions of the radio spectrum to licensed users.

'Unless some genius comes up with compression technologies, I'm afraid we're going to run out,' Kennard said.

FCC has been managing radio spectrum by auctioning off rights to specific bands to commercial users. It has not been an effective way to manage the resource, however. Kennard called for establishing a secondary market where spectrum licenses can be bought and sold.

'Unless we start thinking of spectrum as a commodity that can be moved in the marketplace, we are going to have bottlenecks,' he said.


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