Airwaves Dwindling With Rapid Growth of Wireless Services
As companies race to bring wireless voice and
Internet services to American consumers, their demand of the
nation's airwaves is outpacing supply, the nation's
telecommunications chief said Monday.
Regulators are now looking at new ways to leverage the
frequencies available, said Bill Kennard, chairman of the Federal
"For your industry and for the commission, the biggest
challenge is the dwindling supply of quality spectrum," said
Kennard, addressing the Cellular Telecommunications Industry
Association convention here.
He laid out a series of steps to better utilize existing
portions of the airwaves. For example, license holders that aren't
using all of their the frequencies should be able to post that
availability on a Web site for other interested companies, Kennard
The FCC is expected to auction frequencies this spring that are
particularly good for delivering wireless Internet service to home
and handheld computers. These currently belong to analog TV
broadcasters using channels 60 to 69. Those broadcasters will
eventually transition to digital and have to give up those analog
channels, but that could take years.
Kennard is urging broadcasters currently occupying those analog
channels to voluntarily negotiate deals with the auction winners so
that the airwaves can start being put to use to provide wireless
data and other services as soon as possible.