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What spectrum crunch?

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a major report this month recommending to President Barack Obama that he direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify 1000MHz of federal spectrum for shared use.

With new technology coming to market that makes spectrum sharing achievable, the shift away from segmenting spectrum into discreet pieces assigned to specific users, toward an approach where various spectrum users including federal and commercial users share wide swaths of frequency could transform spectrum scarcity into abundance.

In fact according to the report, shared spectrum use could conservatively "multiply the effective capacity of spectrum by a factor of 1000."

In this week's Sound Off, I depart from the normal interview format to present a few excerpts from the report. The idea of implementing an architecture based on sharing to bands currently reserved for federal users is intriguing because of its potential to relieve what the Federal Communications Commission has described on different occasions as a future spectrum "crisis" or spectrum "crunch."

As the commission moves forward with implementation of voluntary incentive auctions, the release of the new report from the president's advisors on science and technology should raise questions about whether incentive auctions ultimately will be necessary, or at least whether the time, expense, viewer confusion and even possible loss of life among tower crews makes sense if the spectrum sharing idea can create an abundance of spectrum capacity.