Part of the FCC’s national broadband plan calls for an additional 500 Mhz in spectrum for mobile broadband services. There’s great reason to do so. Mobile broadband is already in great demand and growing vociferously.
Consider Apple’s latest numbers. They’ve now sold 3 million iPad and 1.7 million iPhone 4 devices in record time, both of which will consume vast amounts mobile broadband bandwidth. But it’s not just Apple. Android (Google’s mobile operating system for smartphones and more) powered devices are also in great demand, with 160,000 now being sold per day. All of these devices need mobile broadband access to reach their full potential. These observations don’t even include the demand for mobile broadband from laptops and netbooks via USB (and embedded) 3G/4G modems.
The government is taking notice. The White House is endorsing the FCC’s national broadband plan spectrum push. President Obama is signing a presidential memorandum today which commits the federal government to auction off an additional 500 Mhz of spectrum over the next ten years.
The spectrum will come from both government and commercial sources. The New York Times reports that 45% of this spectrum is currently held by the government. Other sources include television broadcast spectrum currently held by local broadcasters. The auctioning process will still require congressional action.