Federal Communications Commission

Chairman Genachowski: The Clock is Ticking

March 16th, 2011 by George Krebs

This morning Chairman Genachowski spoke on spectrum, consumers and America’s small businesses, delivering the keynote address of the Mobile Future Forum. He called attention to the growth of broadband in America and the looming spectrum crisis. Then he laid out our solution: voluntary, market-based incentive auctions to free up this essential resource in the airwaves. He emphasized that we must act now to set the pace for the 21st century and said, “there’s no other choice than for the U.S. to lead.”

Given the theme, the event was appropriately held at Voxiva, a mobile based information solutions firm recently named one of the most innovative companies in the world. Peter Rysavy of Rysavy Research released a report prior to the Chairman’s talk entitled The Spectrum Imperative: Mobile Broadband Spectrum and its impacts for U.S. Consumers and the Economy. Here's an excerpt from the Chairman's speech.

To some, it was a surprise that the Broadband Plan included major sections on mobile broadband.  At the time, many assumed that broadband was what you got when you connected your computer to the modem plugged into your wall.

…Mobile broadband is being adopted faster than any computing platform in history.  The number of smartphones and tablets being sold now exceeds the number of PCs.

The Mobile Future report released this morning puts a fine point on this.  According to their report, quote, “The clock is ticking, with rising demand rapidly closing the gap with existing supply.  The consequences of inaction are severe, widespread and wholly negative for consumers and the U.S. economy.”

The point deserves emphasis:  the clock is ticking on our mobile future. Demand for spectrum is rapidly outstripping supply.  The networks we have today won’t be able to handle consumer and business needs. 

Read the rest of the Chairman’s speech The Clock is Ticking.

12 Responses to “Chairman Genachowski: The Clock is Ticking”

  1. Chris says:

    Sadly, it seams like Clearwire and the carriers that use their network is the only mobile broadband provider to provide affordable broadband. While Clearwire may be a great provider, it would be nice to have additional providers that are affordable and have no data limits.

  2. denny_technology says:

    The Mobile Future report released this morning puts a fine point on this. According to their report, quote, “The clock is ticking, with rising demand rapidly closing the gap with existing supply.

  3. Nellie says:

    All this hoopla over nothing. As usual...Americans think they are getting the cutting edge...
    meanwhile Asia has passed the cutting edge...a decade ago.

    What we get is...cutting edge prices and a horse and buggy on steroids.

    get a job!

  4. Ray says:

    I understand how important future needs have become; but, what about today and the wire line DSL service I use every day? Performance measured on "" test finds my download speed ranging from 13,149 kbps to 100 kbps (The promised download speedd is 3,000 kbps.). Upload ranges 502 kbps to 311 kbps. Latency ranges 387 ms to 62 ms. Jitter from 547 ms to 1 ms. E-mail is unreliable. The location is 17554. There are a number of tests on the database.

    "We are working on it," is no response.

    The future, sure; but what about today?

    Thank you for your interest. Respectfully, Ray

  5. Guest says:

    Wireless Internet is still fairly new and it takes a while to build an infrastructure to support it. There is LTE technology coming up which will boost speeds for mobile broadband. The problem is how fast could it be implemented and price to which consumers could afford to acquire it.

  6. Steve Crowley says:

    I think the National Broadband Plan's goal of the reallocation of 500 megahertz of spectrum to wireless broadband is reasonable. An inventory of federal and non-federal spectrum authorizations and utilization should be completed and published to help reach that goal.

    In addition to the Cisco mobile data demand forecast, the Commission has two other forecasts, one prepared by Yankee Group and one by Coda. These are cited in the Commission's October 2010 Technical Paper on spectrum requirements. Yankee Group and Coda are independent research firms. Cisco is not. Some of the same people responsible for marketing Cisco hardware to service providers are involved in preparing the Cisco forecast, which is used to help market that hardware. We don't know how the interest in selling hardware affects preparation of the forecast. Thus, I think it prudent for the Commission rely on independent research only, and revise the October 2010 Technical Paper accordingly.

  7. manpan says:

    Unfortunately I cannot support President Obama's proposed National Wireless Initiative without statutory Network Neutrality rules and Title II reclassification of broadband by the FCC. Auctioning off public spectrum to the wireless cartel -- carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless without public interest obligations is unacceptable to me as a consumer. Also any taxpayer subsidized funding on expanding broadband deployment through funding new fixed wire-line and/or mobile connections must be spent transparently by the carriers. When public money is spent to expand broadband then broadband must be open and universal. No corporate gatekeepers, ISP discrimination etc. I do not support discrimination online by governments or corporations. Also the National Broadband Plan fails to address the issues of a lack of competition, higher prices (as a result of limited competition) and sub-par service with providers finding new ways to maximize revenues at the expense of users and innovators versus improving their network capacity. AT&T does not need T Mobil's spectrum to improve their shoddy wireless service they need to invest more in upgrading their network infrastructure something they'll never do when there is less competition in the market. AT&T is a spectrum hog. AT&T's data caps unfairly exempt their services online putting them at an unfair disadvantage over competitors and harming users wanting to use a competitor's product/service online. Broadband adoption issues need to be addressed. Openness encourages more public participation so keeping the Net open is first step to higher broadband adoption -- thus we need Net Neutrality to prevent corporate gatekeepers from discriminating online and making the Net closed. Also more competition, better quality service thru more network investment and lower more affordable prices help. No auctioning off spectrum unless there are public interest obligations.

  8. Guest says:

    I hope Genachowski is smart enough to realize that "mobile broadband" does not and will not work without a fiber connection from telephone companies. Mobile companies always want to get from the air to the ground (fiber) as soon as possible. So the magic that happens to make the smart phone work is provided by telephone companies across the entire United States.

  9. Guest says:

    The telephone companies across the US that provide fiber connections to mobile companies are in jeopardy of losing funding in the new Broadband Plan. When the lights go off on these companies so does the connection to your smart phone.

  10. Guest says:

    I have to use Mobile broadband as my main broadband internet connection and it is max 5GBs and after throttled to a extreme and alot of times I only get 10-15Kbps and it is a shared data card between about 6 people in my house and it is alot of time needs more to meet the demand and it can't get anymore when my Max speed is low.

  11. Guest says:

    When will the FCC finally admit there is a competition crisis. Saying cricket is a logical competitor to ATT is like saying my little league team is a competitor to a major league team. look at financials.

    The clock is ticking and this FCC is shooting airballs!

  12. Guest says:

    As long as corporate lobbyists are allowed to yank our government around however they want, the telecom and broadband providers and the industry in general is going to remain wholly profit-based and will not build out high speed infrastructure and create the things that the U.S. needs to be competitive on a global scale. I appreciate the effort being made by the FCC, and I sympathize with the futility of it that those of you tasked with the job of improving technology for citizens of the U.S. must feel. Now that television bandwidth was sold to cell providers, for example, the audio on my television completely cuts out instead of just gets staticy, and the picture pixellates like a corrupted JPG file instead of just gets snowy. The switch to digital TV was a terrible failure, thanks in part to telecom lobbyists. I pay $60 a month for Internet and get 70K bytes a second download speeds on a good day. My upload speeds for running a web server are a fraction of that. The U.S. is so far behind and the corporations have become so powerful and resistant to improving things that I don't see how the FCC is going to be able to help.

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