A report compiled by Rysavy Research and commissioned by wireless association CTIA urges the federal government to prioritize the process of freeing up additional spectrum for the nation’s wireless carriers, warning that, unless additional spectrum resources are found, the growth of bandwidth-intensive applications that include broadband and video services will eventually exceed the capacity of present-day networks. Issued on Monday, the report follows the introduction of legislation, sponsored by Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and supported by CTIA, that would require the FCC to undertake an inventory of the nation’s airwaves as a first step toward reallocating unused or underused spectrum for future auctions. Although the report does not estimate how much spectrum U.S. carriers will need to meet burgeoning demand for mobile broadband, it cites figures, provided by the International Telecommunications Union, that project per-country spectrum needs of between 760-840 MHz by 2010 and between 1280-1720 MHz by 2020. While noting that 680 MHz of licensed spectrum is available to U.S. wireless carriers today, the report also points to data provided by AT&T, which estimates that growth in U.S. mobile data traffic will surge between 250% and 600% by 2018. At that pace, the report predicts that “current market and technology trends will very likely result in the exhaustion of currently available mobile spectrum” within the next decade. Although construction of additional cell sites and the implementation of spectrum-efficient technologies such as WiMAX and LTE will help increase capacity, the study adds that, “alone, they are unlikely to address the expected magnitude of the demand.” As such, the report recommends that, “given the long timeframes involved in going from planning to auction to deployment, planning for new licensed spectrum should begin as soon as possible.”