FCC: US may open up govt-held airwaves; Genachowski supports tiered pricing by mobile, cable operators

“The U.S. could consider addressing the country’s shortage of airwaves for mobile telecommunications by re-licensing government-held spectrum for commercial use, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday,” William Launder reports for MarketWatch. “‘We have to do things like look harder and more carefully at government spectrum,’ and look for ‘innovative ways’ to share airwaves between the private and public sector, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said at a cable industry conference in Boston.”

“Mobile operators are increasingly seeking deals to acquire more spectrum from each other and from cable operators, in an attempt to meet consumers’ surging demand for broadband-intensive video-streaming services on mobile devices and tablets like Apple Inc.’s iPad,” Launder reports. “The FCC chairman also pointed to new efforts by cable operators to introduce usage-based pricing as a ‘completely appropriate’ step to meet consumers’ needs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Tablets like Apple Inc.’s iPad,” meaning: iPad 2 and the new iPad (2012).


    1. With a data cap at 2GB (Verizon) and 3GB (AT&T), mobile internet is maybe competition for dial-up, but is nowhere near providing competition for cable/dsl/satellite, unless your entire internet experience consists of email and IM and you never go anywhere near Youtube, Netflix, or iTunes. One movie off iTunes and you’ve used your entire data cap for the month!

  1. A lot of good more spectrum does while the FCC stands by and does nothing about those paltry 2GB data caps. I used my Verizon LTE iPad on vacation last month, and after one night of normal, typical internet browsing, I had used up one-third of my entire 2GB monthly data cap.

    There is no reason those caps have to be so criminally low, and the FCC has never investigated the carriers’ claims about their “necessity”. 250GB would be more reasonable. In the mean time, thanks for the extra spectrum FCC, I’m sure it’ll come in handy while I’m carefully sipping text-only data through my blazing fast LTE connection.

    1. Comcast gives cable internet subscribers a 30GB limit before warning them about excessive data usage, yet users of mobile devices only get 2GB before the price goes up. This discrepancy is totally unacceptable. I don’t know what it’s gonna take to break the stranglehold that Verizon, AT&T, et.al. have on mobile broadband, but something’s gotta give.

  2. My current DSL provider provides tiers… but they’re *speed* tiers, with no hard data cap.

    Which seems a far more sensible approach to me – people who need to stream video will pay more to get the higher speed tier, while those who use little internet don’t need as much speed. And limiting the speed of each customer will automatically limit how much data they’d be able to use.

    I really, really wish someone would speak up strongly for this, instead of continuing this nonsensical rush toward usage-based billing, which will stifle a lot of innovation. (Particularly in the area of streaming video, which the incumbent companies have a vested interest in squashing in favor of their own legacy businesses.)

    1. Indeed, I like your suggestion! Certainly solves a lot of problems. I think the carriers need to get over the antiquated cellular minutes model of business. It was good when cell phones first made their appearance on the market, but hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. Time to get with the the modern world.

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