FCC to Auction Spectrum for 3G Services
The FCC on Thursday redirected a hefty chunk of the airwaves for third-generation wireless services.In a widely anticipated vote, the Federal Communications Commission Thursday redirected a hefty chunk of the airwaves for advanced wireless services, also known as third-generation, or 3G, services. The decision is a boon to the wireless industry, which continuously lobbies for new frequencies in an era in which very little spectrum remains unused. The FCC allocated 90MHz of spectrum for fixed services (such as high-speed wireless Internet access) and mobile service (such as cellular telephony) and proposed auctioning it off along the same terms as other wireless licenses in the same bands. A portion of the spectrum earmarked for 3G is used today by the federal government, and another portion was originally licensed for "wireless cable"-like services. Existing licensees will be relocated to other bands, the FCC said today. FCC Chairman Michael Powell said that making the new spectrum available will promote the introduction of new services and play a role in restoring health to the telecom industry. "Todays decisions on the allocation and proposed service rules lay the groundwork for future innovation," Powell said in a statement accompanying the decision. "Within this framework, service providers can be expected to move spectrum quickly to its highest and best use."
The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), the industrys largest lobby group, applauded the FCC decision. "Competition and innovation have been, and continue to be, the engine of growth for the wireless industry," said Tom Wheeler, president and CEO of CTIA in Washington, in a press release. "The FCCs initiative today helps clear the spectrum pathway the industry needs to further this economic growth."