US president Barack Obama has signed a memorandum ordering federal agencies to identify 500MHz of spectrum controlled by federal and non-federal entities to be freed up over the next decade for wireless broadband use.
Executive departments, agencies, and offices, as well as independent agencies, have been directed to work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to complete a plan and timetable for identifying and making spectrum available.
The spectrum must be suitable for both mobile and fixed wireless broadband, and be available to be licensed by the FCC for exclusive use or made available for shared access by commercial and government users in order to enable licensed or unlicensed wireless broadband technologies to be deployed.
Obama outlined the need for extra spectrum to ensure future American competitiveness is not impaired. He added it will create new businesses, jobs and opportunities across the US.
He also called for “efficient and imaginative uses of spectrum” to achieve wireless broadband’s full potential.
Obama’s Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution memorandum read: “The internet, as vital infrastructure, has become central to the daily economic life of almost every American by creating unprecedented opportunities for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.
“We are now beginning the next transformation in information technology: the wireless broadband revolution.”
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said: “The initiatives endorsed today will spur economic growth, promote private investment and drive US global leadership in broadband innovation.
“Spectrum is the oxygen of wireless, and the future of our mobile economy depends on spectrum recovery and smart spectrum policies.”