Going Mobile: Technology and Policy Issues in the Mobile Internet

March 2, 2010
ITIF recommends a light touch of regulation and a heavy dose of spectrum to facilitate the growth of the Mobile Internet.

The Internet is changing. In a few short years, Internet use will come predominately from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets rather than traditional PCs using fixed broadband. A fully mobile broadband Internet offers exciting opportunities for innovation in networks, devices, and applications with enormous benefits for the economy and society.

The shift from a wire-centric Internet to a mobile one has profound implications for technology, policy, and applications. A new report by ITIF Research Fellow Richard Bennett explains how mobile networks are changing as they become part of the Internet, the implications mobile networking has for public policy, and how policymakers can facilitate the flowering of the mobile Internet. This will only come to pass, however, when engineering and policy collaborate to successfully overcome the challenges to the development of a Mobile Internet that lives up to its full potential. For this to happen, policymakers must do two key things: First, they need to refrain from strangling the Mobile Internet with excessive regulation, realizing that the well of innovation that brought us where we are has not run dry. Second, policy makers need to ensure that the mobile Internet can develop the infrastructure it needs, the most important part of which is spectrum. Policymakers need to make tough choices, transferring spectrum from less compelling historical uses to the emerging Mobile Internet.