Spectrum Worries at CES: Deja Vu All Over Again

Mon, 01/10/2011 - 6:23am
By Larry Downes,Guest Column

Article Sourcec: CNET News LAS VEGAS -- The message at this year’s CES Tech Policy Summit was all about spectrum, and the looming crisis brought on by exploding demand for mobile broadband relying on limited frequencies. Speakers including FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and three of his four fellow commissioners all sounded the same theme: the FCC's top priority for the coming year will be to unleash more spectrum, before it's too late. "Without action," Genachowski said, "demand for spectrum will soon outstrip supply."

No one in the audience, including industry representatives, consumers, and manufacturers of the exciting new wireless devices and services on display on the show floor, would disagree. As new 4G devices and services, Internet-enabled televisions, device-to-device communications services, and a remarkable range of new apps are announced, users are already pushing the limits of existing mobile capacity.

But as Yogi Berra famously said, it's deja vu all over again.

What few here seem to remember is that Chairman Genachowski and other government officials sounded the same alarm precisely a year ago at last year's CES, making the same promises to prioritize ways of freeing up additional spectrum.

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