Two years ago, amid COVID-19, America’s use of wireless increased significantly. Wireless connections, like making a phone call, accessing telehealth, or streaming music all depend on spectrum – invisible waves that enable a wireless device to send and receive information instantly. The world looks a lot more ‘normal’ today, but we still rely on our wireless devices and spectrum more than ever.
The catch? Despite the demand going up there is only a limited amount of spectrum available. In fact, the current owner of the most spectrum is the federal government.
As the U.S. makes more spectrum available, there are a few principles that will ensure high quality access to more Americans. To do this, additional spectrum must be made available as soon as possible:
- With exclusive licenses: We all want high quality mobile experiences. These exclusive licenses encourage more investment, eliminate frustrating interference, and ensure reliable, interference-free connections!
- At full power levels: Americans in suburban and rural areas of the U.S. need service in an efficient and cost-effective manner too. Allowing wireless infrastructure to operate at full power levels would mean fewer cell sites needed, helping extend coverage to wider areas of our country sooner.
- In wide bands of contiguous spectrum: Bringing down the cost of wireless while maintaining good service means access to more communities across income levels. With wide bands of continuous spectrum being purchased together, more information can pass through the spectrum at a more efficient speed, thus lowering wireless costs.
Beyond the current everyday conventional use of wireless, we are seeing innovative and expanded use cases. Applications like extended reality, the metaverse and the industrial Internet of Things (IOT) are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.
Why does this matter now? After December 16th, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will no longer have the authority to auction spectrum. Congress must pass a short-term renewal, along with a pipeline of mid-band spectrum, to support the nation’s high wireless demand and to ensure the viability of expanded use cases, guarding future innovation.
For more information about spectrum and the importance of making more mid-band spectrum available, check out our blog on the spectrum pipeline! Also check out the new report from Rysavy Research, “5G Mid-Band Spectrum: The Benefits of Full Power, Wider Channels and Exclusive Licensing.”