FCC Forecasts Major Spectrum Shortage
Given the growing U.S. consumer demand for mobile technologies, the shortage of spectrum is likely to reach 300 megahertz in the next five years, according to a new whitepaper released by the FCC Thursday.
The FCC's spectrum forecast found that "the amount of mobile data demanded by American consumers is likely to exceed capacity of our wireless networks in the near-term."
Driving the demand for spectrum is growth of the mobile technologies such as smart phones, tablet computers and e-books like the iPad and Kindle. The paper estimates that mobile broadband traffic will increase by 35 times the amount of recent levels.
Spectrum is the "oxygen of our mobile communications infrastructure," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, emphasizing the importance of meeting the growing demand.
The value of this exploding spectrum market is about $120 billion, the paper found.
The paper was released in conjunction with a spectrum summit held Thursday at the FCC. Forecasting spectrum is far from an exact science, Morgan Stanley telecom analyst Simon Flannery said at the event, calling it something of a "dark art."