“Wireless devices such as Apple’s iPhone are transforming the way we go online, making it possible to look up driving directions, find the nearest coffee shop and update Facebook on the go. All this has a price – in airwaves,” Joelle Tessler reports for The Associated Press.
“As mobile phones become more sophisticated, they transmit and receive more data over the airwaves. But the spectrum of wireless frequencies is finite – and devices like the iPhone are allowed to use only so much of it,” Tessler reports. “Now wireless phone companies fear they’re in danger of running out of room, leaving congested networks that frustrate users and slow innovation. So the wireless companies want the government to give them bigger slices of airwaves – even if other users have to give up rights to theirs.”
“That won’t happen without a fight. Wireless companies are eyeing some frequencies used by TV broadcasters, satellite-communications companies and federal agencies such as the Pentagon. Already, some of those groups are pushing back,” Tessler reports. “That means tough choices are ahead. But one way or another, Washington will keep up with the exploding growth of the wireless market, insists Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va. He is sponsoring a bill that would mandate a government inventory of the airwaves to identify unused or underused bands that could be reallocated.”
“Two trends are driving the demand,” Tessler reports. “First, advanced new wireless applications – such as mobile video and online games – devour far more bandwidth than voice calls or basic text messages… Second, consumers are flocking to wireless Internet connections, in some cases dropping landline accounts altogether. ABI Research projects U.S. mobile broadband subscriptions will climb to 150 million by 2014, up from 48 million this year and 5 million in 2007.”
Tessler reports, “The FCC’s attention for now is on TV broadcasters, which hold nearly 300 megahertz of airwaves that are mainly used to serve just 10 percent of American homes – those that still rely solely on over-the-air TV signals… Wireless carriers are also setting their sights on frequencies held by companies that deliver voice and data services through satellites… Some of these companies have a lot of bandwidth but not a lot of customers.”
Full article here.