White House Backs FCC Plan For Wireless Broadband

If you’re having trouble getting a signal on your smartphone, the White House feels your pain. The Obama administration has endorsed an FCC plan to nearly double the bandwidth available for wireless devices by freeing up additional wireless spectrum. But don’t expect blazing speeds or better signals overnight. The plan will take several years to implement, require congressional approval, and is tied to a bandwidth auction to get the carriers to pay for the right to use the spectrum.

As downloaded by The Wall Street Journal:

The FCC’s plan for reallocating spectrum could take several years and any auctions would require congressional approval. The White House is calling for billions of dollars in proceeds from the auctions to be used for building a new public safety network for police and firemen and to help pay for other “growth enhancing infrastructure,” like high-speed rail projects.

A key part of the move will also be to help build a nationwide interoperable mobile broadband network for public safety, an administration official said.

As proposed, some of the new bandwidth will come from government agencies that currently “own” certain frequencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Other frequencies could come from TV stations, though broadcasters have already expressed concern about possible pressure to give up frequencies.

“We appreciate FCC assurances that further reclamation of broadcast television spectrum will be completely voluntary,” said Dennis Wharton of National Association of Broadcasters.

So, add this possible battle to the issues that will keep you waiting for all of that juicy broadband.

Obama to Nearly Double Spectrum for Wireless Devices [WSJ.com]