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Policy - Broadband, Communications, & Spectrum

Broadband, Communications, & Spectrum

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Mobile technologies have changed the way we work, play, and connect with each other. In March 2012, smartphone penetration in the U.S. surpassed traditional mobile phone penetration. Today, more than two of every three phones sold in the U.S. is a smartphone. This, coupled with the ubiquity of tablets and other mobile devices, has caused mobile broadband data traffic to skyrocket. This trend will be exacerbated as the Internet of Things develops and previously unconnected devices are added to the Internet.

To ensure that technology continues to bring the global community closer together, ITI works to develop and promote policies that will result in advancing deployment of next-generation broadband networks, both wired and wireless. Through forward-looking telecommunications and spectrum policy, the U.S. can promote investment, create jobs, and drive innovation. The United States has led the world in the mobile broadband marketplace, in large part due to smart spectrum policy. As the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Plan pointed out, “wireless broadband is poised to become the key platform for innovation over the next decade.” To recognize this potential, however, spectrum must be available to meet the needs of consumers. Smart spectrum and telecommunications policies must be in place to meet this demand if we hope to continue seeing innovation and investment in the mobile marketplace.

ITI started 2012 with a major victory in the spectrum arena. After nearly two years of advocacy for spectrum legislation in Congress and with the administration, the president in February 2012 signed the authorization for incentive auctions and making more spectrum available for commercial broadband. In the critical final weeks of congressional debate, ITI worked to broker a compromise with our member companies, key law enforcement and telecom stakeholders, the White House, and congressional leaders that advanced the public safety wireless network while allowing for more spectrum to be made available for commercial development.

Going forward, ITI continues to work with members of Congress, the FCC, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to build on this success and make more spectrum available for mobile broadband. One of the largest sources for underutilized spectrum is the U.S. federal government. The U.S. government is the single largest holder of spectrum, and federal entities must reassess and be incentivized to look at whether there are more efficient alternatives to meet the needs of their spectrum users. We want to be sure that all relevant entities are continuing to move underutilized spectrum to higher-­value commercial use.

Links to additional material:

FCC’s National Broadband Plan (Chapter 5: Spectrum)

High Tech Spectrum Coalition


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