May 10, 2012
Thank You, Eliza Krigman
The numerous policy topics being discussed and debated during keynotes, panels and roundtables at the CTIA Wireless Show this week has reinforced how many challenges the industry faces.
Following a panel on spectrum policy, Eliza Krigman with Politico asked if I could do a brief interview. She posed a question that went to the heart of the spectrum (radio frequencies allocated to various uses) debate (how to find “more” spectrum). She wanted to know if I thought that efforts by the White House to bring together a governmental group to discuss ways to move forward on spectrum, or the bipartisan group efforts on the Hill, would lead to results.
Moving the spectrum debate from talk to action really is the key because it keeps the U.S. on a path to further innovation. Regardless of what you think about spectrum availability, this precious resource is being used up at an increasing rate. As was revealed Monday at the conference: a family of four will have an average of 12 wireless devices in the next few years, up from 10 today and eight a couple of years ago. Wireless use is growing even faster than the optimistic estimates of a few years back.
And while some spectrum efforts have been underway, they seem to move with something less than alacrity. One wonders what would have happened if on December 8, 1941, our military efforts moved by committee, or if the response to President Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s devolved into endless panels and debates on whether there was a moon, much less a way to reach it.
Of course the answer to ending the navel gazing is leadership. And leadership is not just listening to political groups pushing policies that simply result in spectrum scarcity, or addressing the issue in a committee hearing. What is needed is action, thoughtful action for sure, but action instead of the ongoing parade of reviews, hand-wringing, panels, talking, hearings and more talking.
Spectrum is the raw material of the current wireless communications innovation boom. To artificially restrict the supply of the materials is to actually restrict the product—innovation.