One of the most amazing turning points in technology advancement has been the US Government’s decision to allow unlicensed spectrum to be used in the form of WiFi. Instead of taking the short-term gain of revenue via spectrum auction, it was released for free for everyone to use. As a result, cable companies can compete wirelessly with 4G providers and they need no private spectrum to do so.
The point is, unlicensed spectrum has truly revolutionized technology and productivity. Think this through – even the companies who sell “competitive to WiFi” 4G service are benefiting from WiFi. Consider carriers often wheel in large-scale WiFi equipment to sporting events and other venues because of cellular capacity issues. AT&T has over 30,000 WiFi hotspots thanks in-part to acquisitions like Wayport who added 20,000 hotspots and Superclick Networks.
My thoughts in Nov 2008 on the AT&T Wayport acquisition and Optimum WiFi analysis
Moreover, Verizon for its part allows on certain plans for its 4G devices to be used as wireless hotspots at no additional charge. They benefit from the increased 4G usage which must be paid for of course.
The challenge we have today as a technology industry is the government is essentially broke and borrowing almost 50 cents on every dollar it spends. There is obviously an incentive to maximize revenue during these fiscal cliff negotiations and an area to look for it is unlicensed spectrum in the white spaces world.
As a proponent of this spectrum affording the world an unlicenced “Super WiFi” of sorts, I obviously am concerned.
You should be too.
To learn more be sure to read Carl Ford’s comments and attend this virtual event (with top speakers from the FCC and more) on Incentive Auctions/actions and be at Super WiFi Summit January 30-February 1, 2013 - Miami, Florida.