President Obama issued an executive order today which will free up 500 MHz of Federal and non-federal spectrum over the next ten years, which will allow telecoms to expand their data networks and cover more Americans with 4G wireless broadband service. Although the spectrum shift will take place over the next decade or so, a White House Fact Sheet states that we could see 335 MHz of the spectrum re-purposed by the FCC in the next few years.
“A combination of American entrepreneurship and innovation, private investment, and smart policy has positioned the United States as the global leader in wireless broadband technologies. Expanding the availability of spectrum for innovative and flexible commercial uses, including for broadband services, will further promote our Nation’s economic development by providing citizens and businesses with greater speed and availability of coverage, encourage further development of cutting-edge wireless technologies, applications, and services, and help reduce usage charges for households and businesses. We must continue to make additional spectrum available as promptly as possible for the benefit of consumers and businesses. At the same time, we must ensure that Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are able to maintain mission critical capabilities that depend on spectrum today, as well as effectively and efficiently meet future requirements.” – White House Fact Sheet
The Obama administration will be pumping $100 million into the development of better spectrum sharing, with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) tasked with working more closely with the private sector to develop advanced communications technologies. The FCC will continue to develop and promote “efficient, innovative, and flexible use of spectrum, including by imposing network build-out requirements or other conditions to guard against wasteful spectrum warehousing.”