spectrum crisis

The U.S. is running out of wireless spectrum.

The United States is facing an imminent spectrum crisis in which exploding demand from smartphones will soon overwhelm the nation’s wireless capacit, according to the FCC.


The problem, the FCC says, is the lack of new spectrum being made available to wireless data carriers. Smartphone data traffic is growing so fast, the FCC says, that–if nothing is done–we will use up our available spectrum by 2013.

(Fortunately, the FCC has a plan–see below).

Here are the charts:




See? By 2013, we’re screwed. By 2014, we’re really screwed. And, of course, the problem won’t just affect iPhones. It will hobble Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, Palm, and any other remaining smartphones, too.

So, what’s the FCC’s plan to fix this?

Something called “Incentive Auctions,” in which the owners of old, under-used spectrum–TV and radio broadcast spectrum, for example–put the spectrum up for auction and get a portion of the proceeds.

This plan, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says, will encourage companies to part with unused spectrum, create more spectrum that can be used by wireless data providers, and narrow our massive budget deficit–because the bulk of the proceeds will go to the Treasury.

What do we think? Just government scaremongering? Good plan?

FCC Chair Julius Genachowski will present and defend this plan at the Startup 2011 conference on May 10, 2011 in NYC. We’ll let you know how he does!

Photo credit: Know Your Cell

Via Business Insider