Anyone who has attempted to connect a whole office complex or a university campus to a wireless router will definitely know how difficult it can be getting a clear signal. Almost all the time, several routers that are close to one another, get tangled with one another, thereby reducing the quality and distance of each other’s signal. It is estimated that within the next 5-10 years, the number of people using wireless broadband (estimates range from 20x-45x) will become very much compared to that number now. Some cities are looking into developing an umbrella of service using metro areas. One can easily predict how wonderful plans like this can actually create digital traffic jams.
This is an answer the Obama administration is looking to tackle completely and, if possible, increase the current block of the spectrum that is meant for wireless devices. The White House is working with the FCC in trying to achieve this as the FCC has already made a similar suggestion in the past as part of its general national broadband plan. The White House’s plans are almost a carbon copy of the FCC’s plans. Before moving on in developing the incentive packages, the White House must first of all, establish and set aside parts of the spectrum that are currently in use.
Right now, most of the owners of the spectrum are not really excited about letting people buy their spectrum. 120MHz alone are owned by TV broadcast networks and they seem to be anxious on the issue of availability of free programming. This will be one of the reasons they would likely give for not selling. The government, on its own, doesn’t intend to force any company or business to sell or hand over their licenses. What the government intends to do is to create “incentive packages” which would offer various companies and businesses something of great importance.
From what White House economic advisor Larry Summers said, broadcasters can choose to take part in a voluntary program and receive payment for their airwaves. Summers said during a speech at the New America Foundation that “ultimately, government will not make these decisions”. He continues by saying “our role is simply to set up a mechanism to help shift spectrum to its highest value uses — as current licensees and prospective users see fit. This initiative will catalyze private sector investment, contribute to economic growth, make revenue available to the federal government, and help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
Even though broadcasters wouldn’t agree to any arrangement, they however welcomed assurances that any revenue and deal on the issue would be voluntary.Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters said “we appreciate FCC assurances that further reclamation of broadcast television spectrum will be completely voluntary”. He further said that “we’re convinced that America can have both the finest broadband and broadcasting system in the world without jeopardizing the future of free and local TV service to tens of millions of viewers”.
Some people have warned the government to be wary of companies and groups that will try to buy spectrum they don’t intend using. They believe that if such deals go through there will be consequences when wavelength’s prices go up. The consequence being that those companies will auction out the wavelengths.