My Kingdom for a Hertz: Can Washington Keep the Mobile Revolution Going?

May 15, 2012

Two years ago, the National Broadband Plan recommended that the government allocate 300 MHz of new spectrum to mobile broadband networks within five years and an additional 200 MHz for various uses within ten years. Since the Plan was published, 20 MHz has been reserved for a Public Safety Network, 40 MHz has been reserved to protect GPS receivers, the Defense Department has asked for 10 years and $12 billion to relocate military applications in the 1755 – 1850 MHz band, Congress has constrained the FCC’s repacking power, and demand for mobile network capacity has continued to grow. Some critics, such as National Broadband Plan chief Blair Levin, say we're are moving backward, while others question the wisdom of the goal.

What’s the appropriate spectrum goal, what can policymakers do to meet it, and what are the alternatives in case it’s not achievable? A panel of experts will examine the realistic demand for spectrum, the state of the technologies that make it available, the progress that we’ve made and the setbacks we’ve suffered, and the remaining policy options to meet the nation’s apparently insatiable demand for mobile broadband.