Looking to stay ahead of Asian and European rivals in broadband deployment, the U.S. is making an aggressive bid to open up spectrum for emerging WiMAX technology.
The U.S. is moving to open up WiMAX spectrum on several fronts, including the 700-MHz frequency band, said Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. Gallagher also serves as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The move is part of the Bush administration’s effort to stay “one or two steps ahead of other countries” and provide “universal, affordable access for broadband [in the United States] by 2007,” Gallagher said during a presentation at the WCA’s 12th Annual International Symposium and Expo on Wednesday (Jan. 18).
WiMAX — the IEEE 802.16 standard — is a specification for fixed broadband wireless access systems employing a point-to-multipoint architecture. At present, the early versions of WiMAX are deployed at the 2.5-, 3.5- and 5.8-GHz frequency bands.
Washington is looking to expand the spectrum to satisfy what could be enormous demand for the technology. This year and next, the U.S. government is expected to auction off the separate 1,710- and 2,110-MHz frequency bands for WiMAX applications.
By 2008, it will auction off the long-awaited 700-MHz band, which is currently occupied by analog TV. The U.S. hopes to shift the TV market to digital by 2009, thereby freeing up the spectrum for WiMAX, Gallagher said.
“I think you will have an opportunity for WiMAX in those frequencies,” he said.