FCC's Nov. 13 Wireless Auction: Key Facts About the Event
The increased use of wireless devices and mobile data—by the end of 2014, Cisco expects the number of mobile connected devices on the planet to exceed the number of people—has wireless carriers vying for ever more of it, and the FCC, at its pace, working to free up spectrum where it can. In mid-2015, the FCC will hold another such auction, this time called an "incentive auction," which will focus on spectrum that television networks have agreed to sell. The incentive auction is a first-of-its-kind event where television broadcasters can voluntarily offer up their spectrum at a price and the FCC can package it together for bidding by wireless carriers. It is another way to make more spectrum available for wireless users, but it will come from a completely different spectrum that was formerly used for analog television signals. That spectrum became available in 2008 after the FCC's move from analog to digital television broadcasting in the United States. In a related move to continue to expand the availability of more wireless spectrum for users, Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, recently proposed a study of a next-generation 5G system that would use the existing high-band spectrum as a way of looking to the future of wireless communications, according to another eWEEK story. The FCC chairman raised the issue in a Sept. 26 post, "Meeting the Mobile Moment," on the Official FCC Blog, where he called for such a study to be explored.
"Seizing the opportunities of mobile innovation is one of the FCC's highest priorities," including opening more spectrum to broadband uses, as well as ensuring more efficient and effective use of the existing spectrum, he wrote.