• On October 21, 2010, the FCC released a white paper titled “Mobile Broadband: The Benefits of Additional Spectrum” which “details the looming spectrum crunch in a concrete, data-driven fashion.” The paper provides a technical analysis demonstrating the need for more spectrum, as well as the value that additional spectrum will provide. Chairman Genachowski, in remarks at the Spectrum Summit held the same day, warned that a spectrum crunch “will stifle American innovation and economic growth and cost us the opportunity to lead the world in mobile communications.” Chairman Genachowski highlighted many of the steps the FCC has taken to release spectrum so far and identified three new initiatives. First, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on incentive auctions and using broadcast spectrum for broadband. Second, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to expand the experimental licensing program. And, finally, a Notice of Inquiry “to accelerate opportunistic uses of spectrum... including technological advances that enable greater use of secondary markets.” The white paper is available here. Chairman Genachowski’s speech is available here.
  • On October 19, 2010, FTC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker spoke at a conference hosted by Law Seminars International on spectrum issues in Washington, DC. She proposed four short-term action items for encouraging 4G spectrum development while the FCC works on longer-term goals of freeing up spectrum for wireless use. The four action items are:
  1. completing the FCC’s proceedings on repurposing the MSS bands for terrestrial use;
  2. enhancing the FCC’s spectrum trading and leasing rules to get more spectrum into the hands of those who are ready to deploy 4G;
  3. reviewing and revising the FCC’s current technical requirements and service rules to ensure they can accommodate 4G deployments; and
  4. developing a targeted strategy to promote 4G deployments in rural areas.

Commissioner Baker stated that the FCC should encourage a better secondary market for trading and leasing spectrum by making more information available rather than by changing any existing rules. With regard to technical requirements, however, she suggested surveying the current rules to determine if any should be changed based on technology advancements. Finally, on rural 4G deployment Commissioner Baker suggested consumer education and signal boosters among other items. Her speech may be found here.