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FCC's Chairman Floats a Proposal to Allow Spectrum Sharing

March 26, 2014

Mobile devices and data traffic are growing exponentially for both consumers and business professionals. The soaring demand for mobile data will result to spectrum shortages and network slowdowns in the years ahead. The bandwidth crunch will create slow data rates, dropped connections, and freezing web pages. So what is the solution of these problems?

The U.S. Federal Communication will soon move forward on a 2-year-old proposal to experiment with spectrum sharing in an effort to deal with a skyrocketing demand for mobile data bandwidth and increasingly crowded mobile services. This announcement has been made by FCC Chairma, Tom Wheeler, during a conference on spectrum regulation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

Tom Wheeler plans to soon distribute a plan to implement spectrum -sharing recommendations made by the President's Council of Adviser on Science and Technology (PCAST) in 2012.

Wheeler's proposal would also include a single, "highly flexible band plan," instead of craving up the 3.5GHz band into small pieces for separate uses, he said. The goal is to avoid "the analog trap of Balkanizing spectrum into sub-bands, each with its own set of rules," he said.

 In the upcoming FCC proposal, the 3.5MHz band would be designated an "innovation band," as outlined in the PCAST report, Wheeler said. His proposal would allow for three tiers of priority access to the shared spectrum, with government agencies and licensed users getting the highest priority. But there would also be room for "general authorized use" of the shared spectrum, he said.

The FCC proposal would also include a flexible licensing and auction plan, he said.

During his speech, Wheeler also promoted the incentive auctions, scheduled for mid-2015, in which TV stations will be able to sell off their spectrum holdings in exchange for a portion of the price paid by bidders.

"If it is possible to marry the economics of demand with the economics of current spectrum holders, it should be possible, then, to allow market forces to determine the highest and best use of all spectrum," he said in a statement.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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