CTIA and the wireless service providers they represent, weighed in on the wireless white space spectrum debate, and their view is squarely counter to Google’s. CTIA says wireless white space spectrum should be auctioned and licensed, not designated as unlicensed as Google advocates. Google made a lot of noise earlier this week with an ex-parte letter to the FCC, urging that white space spectrum should be unlicensed and used for wireless broadband applications. Wireless white space is spectrum allocated to television channels between 2 and 51. It’s great spectrum for broadband wireless and will come into serious play after the 2009 digital TV transition (although some of it is free now, depending on geography).
CTIA argues that licensing the spectrum is the surest way to reduce interference potential. That argument does have some validity. But it also doesn’t hurt that CTIA’s largest members are probably in the best position to win that extremely valuable spectrum at auction. If it goes unlicensed, interference issues aside, it could empower a variety of competitors for the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, among others. Depending on your perspective, that could be good or bad. CTIA would fall in the “bad” category and hence will push hard for some form of licensing.