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Spectrum Crisis: Fact Or Exaggeration?

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My friends at RF Globalnet had an interesting article written by their editor,Paul Kruczkowski, on November 12th with the above title. Here is the introduction:

It appears that the wireless spectrum crisis may have recently become the mobile broadband spectrum debate. Since 2010 — when the FCC declared that there would be a spectrum deficit of 275 MHz as soon as 2014, and subsequently released its National Broadband Plan to make 300 MHz of spectrum available by 2015 and 500 MHz available by the end of 2020 — it has been widely accepted that we are facing an impending spectrum crisis. The CTIA – The Wireless Association has long supported this position and recently reinforced it with data in its Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey showing significant growth in wireless subscriber connections and wireless network data traffic over the past year. Others, however, are questioning the validity of the crisis claims and the projections of runaway wireless network data traffic that have been used to support this argument since 2010.

The interesting thing about the critics of the presumed crisis is that they agree with the FCC and CTIA that the wireless broadband industry would benefit from more available spectrum. On the other hand, they definitely disagree with CTIA’s projected 100%+ annual growth of network data traffic and the FCC’s doomsday position of a massive spectrum deficit by 2014. Tim Farrar, president of consulting and research firm Telecom, Media and Finance Associates, Inc., recently wrote an article on GigaOM called “The Myth of the Wireless Spectrum Crisis”, in which he questioned the FCC’s and CTIA’s narrative of an impending spectrum crisis and used the CTIA’s own data to show that network data traffic growth slowed substantially in the first six months of 2012.

For bureaucratic reasons I can not reprint the whole article, but urge readers to surf over to it. The comments are also interesting. While much cynicism about the cellular industry’s spectrum goals comes from broadcasting circles, RF Globalnet is a techie publication with readers generally unrelated to broadcasting issues.
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