Broadband Spectrum Feedback Sought

WASHINGTON: The FCC set its comment period for broadband spectrum allocation. The commission is seeking feedback on whether its current spectrum allocations will be sufficient fora national broadband service.

“Specifically, participants in the proceeding have raised the issue that the United States will not have sufficient spectrum available to meet demands for wireless broadband in the near future,” the commission’s notice stated. “Therefore, we seek additional comment on the fundamental question of whether current spectrum allocations, including but not limited to the prime bands below 3.7 GHz, are adequate to support near- and longer-term demands of wireless broadband.”

The FCC previously issued a Notice of Inquiry regarding its national broadband plan; it’s generated around 240 comments so far. Feedback from the wireless industry focuses on the projected growth of cell-phone use. The industry currently has around 270 million subscribers. Motorola said 78 percent have devices that can access the Internet. About 40 million do so, up 75 percent from two years ago. The emerging smart devices are bigger bandwidth hogs as well. Current handhelds are estimated to use about 30 MB of data per month; smart phones consume around 30 times that much, and laptops, about 450 times more. The comments go on to say that U.S. spectrum allocation for wireless service “compares poorly” with other first-world nations.

The FCC wants technical feedback on what its current spectrum allocations will support, including backhaul; what bands are best for mobile wireless broadband; what bands are best for fixed wireless broadband; key public-interest issues in spectrum allocation.

Comments are due Oct. 13, with replies due by Nov. 13. All comments should refer to GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137, and can be submitted through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.

(Image by Aram Armstrong)

More on RF spectrum allocation and legislation:
Sept. 17, 2009:“Legislators Press for Spectrum Inventory
It’s rare to get agreement across party lines on Capitol Hill, but that was the case this morning when it came to radio frequency spectrum. Legislators and regulators alike agreed that an inventory was in order.

July 13, 2009: “Boucher Proffers House Spectrum Bill”
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have rolled out a bill that would initiate a radio spectrum inventory. The measure would direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communication Commission to do a comprehensive survey of the spectrum.

April 10, 2009: “National Broadband Plan Includes Wireless and TV White Spaces”
With regards to TV “white space”, the Notice of Inquiry asks, “Given the importance to wireless broadband services of backhaul to the PSTN and the Internet, how can this spectrum be maximized to provide point-to-point backhaul in rural areas?

February 6, 2009: “Boeing Receives Experimental License in TV Broadcast Spectrum”
The WE2XVQ experimental license issued to the Boeing Company allows operation in the 200 MHz to 224 MHz, 400 MHz to 405 MHz, 421 MHz to 607 MHz and 615 MHz to 930 MHz bands for “testing and analysis of software defined radio (SDR) equipment” in Berkeley, Mo. These bands include broadcast TV VHF channels 11, 12 and 13 and all UHF TV channels except 37.