The President's Plan to Increase Spectrum - Technology & the Economy

Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, spoke today on technology policy, job creation, and economic growth – in particular the President’s move to dramatically increase the amount of federal and commercial spectrum available for smartphones and wireless Internet devices.

As our fact sheet explained, "In recent years, the amount of information flowing over some wireless networks has grown at over 250 percent per year, with some estimates indicating that the next five years will see an increase in wireless data of between 20 and 45 times 2009 levels, reflecting the increasing use of smartphones, netbooks, and other wireless devices. As the revolution in mobile broadband and related technologies unfolds, the demand for spectrum will continue to increase – leading to increasing fears of a 'spectrum crunch.'"

Summers put the move into historical perspective:

The most important innovations are those that create possibilities that could not have previously been imagined, and with them create the industries of the future and millions of new jobs.

The steam engine, electricity, the automobile – these were technologies that did not just permit existing products to be produced better or more cheaply, but opened whole new economic vistas. We are in the middle of another one of those revolutions right now.

The information technology revolution is redefining infrastructure. For millennia, progress in infrastructure came from the more effective movement of the commerce in goods and services. But in the digital world, we are concerned with the movements of images and ideas, bits rather than mass.

We are now in the midst of the third wave of the Internet’s development: mobile broadband.  And we have only begun to glimpse the benefits of that revolution, exemplified by smartphones, netbooks, and the applications that run on them.

He identified the four key parts of the President’s plan – read the full speech or the fact sheet for all the details:

  1. "First, identify and plan for the release of 500 MHz of spectrum."
  2. "The second part of the President’s plan is to provide new tools and new incentives to free up spectrum."
  3. "Third, redeploy the spectrum to high-value uses."
  4. "Fourth and finally, use the auction proceeds to promote public safety and job-creating infrastructure investment."
Related Topics: Technology