In a keynote speech at the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment trade show in Las Vegas, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski laid out his agency’s agenda for dealing with the “looming spectrum crisis” that the U.S. wireless industry is certain to face as surging demand for new wireless broadband and other fourth-generation (4G) services continues to feed upon increasingly scarce supplies of spectrum. Describing spectrum as “the oxygen of our mobile networks,” Genachowski told his audience that the anticipated spectrum shortage poses “the biggest threat to the future of mobile in America.” Although the FCC has reallocated former analog TV channels in the 700 MHz band for wireless use and has undertaken other actions in the past few years to increase spectrum supplies by a factor of three, Genachowski said expert projections that show a 30-fold increase in wireless data traffic pose “a very serious challenge” for the industry and for the FCC. To address that challenge, Genachowski promised the FCC would embark upon a multi-prong approach that envisions “unleashing of spectrum for broadband, removing obstacles for 4G deployment like delays in tower siting, developing fair rules of the road to preserve the openness of the Internet while recognizing the differences between wired and wireless technologies, and empowering consumers by supporting a vibrant, transparent and competitive marketplace.” To the plaudits of audience members who contend that the tower siting process impedes the introduction of new services, Genachowski said the FCC would soon move forward “with a shot-clock proposal designed to speed the process, while taking into account the legitimate concerns of local authorities.” While acknowledging the “unique congestion issues” faced by wireless broadband operators, Genachowski defended his proposal to impose net neutrality rules on wireless carriers, asserting: “I believe firmly in the need for the FCC to preserve Internet openness, whether a person accesses the Internet from a desktop computer or a wireless laptop.” In remarks following Genachowski’s speech, AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega argued “there is no need to burden the mobile Internet with onerous new regulations,” as he warned that a wireless net neutrality mandate “could have unforeseen circumstances for jobs, investment, innovation.”