Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission issued a public notice on the use and allocation of wireless spectrum as it pertains to the National Broadband Plan.
The FCC is seeking comments through Oct. 23 “on the sufficiency of current spectrum allocations in spectrum bands, including but not limited to the prime spectrum bands below 3.7 GHz, for purposes of the Commission’s development of a National Broadband Plan.”
The FCC said responses received in its National Broadband Plan have indicated that some parties were concerned that there isn’t enough spectrum available to meet demands for wireless broadband in the future, which led to yesterday’s public notice.
The FCC cited the following examples as some of the reasons to take a closer look at wireless spectrum:
- Wireless association CTIA said that the wireless market in the United States now encompasses more than 270 million subscribers, and the vast number of mobile devices also place heavy burdens on networks.
- Motorola noted 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 smartphone consumes 30 times that amount, and a single connected notebook or laptop computer is consuming 450 times that amount.
- Wireless devices are increasingly used to access bandwidth-intensive applications, such as video, Internet gaming and social networking. WCAI noted that these kinds of mobile data applications require bandwidth between 1 and 5 Mbps, compared with 6 to 12 kbps for a mobile voice call.
The FCC wants to gauge what the current spectrum is being used for and whether it’s being used efficiently, and the Commission seeks to find out what spectrum would be best for mobile wireless and fixed broadband services and applications.