“The Great Channel Squeeze” To Increase Wireless Access?

New York (Associated Press) December 16, 2011  –  The FCC and Congress are batting around an idea to put pay television frequencies to better use by dedicating them to cell phone companies for use in expansion of wireless broadband.  The government itself would be the broker, with the proceeds being used to fund tax cuts and unemployment benefits.  Consumers would benefit from faster downloads for their mobile devices.  By squeezing over-the-air television into smaller slices of airwaves, technology companies will be able to satisfy the growing demand for mobile broadband by U.S. consumers.  Additionally, these airwaves can be used in areas to connect customers to the internet where it is simply not cost-effective for DSL or cable internet providers to build out their networks.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement last week that “Unless we free up new spectrum for mobile broadband, the looming spectrum crunch risks throttling our mobile economy and frustrating mobile consumers.”  It is estimated that $16.5 billion could be generated over 10 years if Congress sells the broadcast channels, but as the bill stands right now, President Obama opposes the bill.  The Senate is working on a version of the bill that the president will accept.

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