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Genachowski: Spectrum Is The Oxygen Of Wireless Innovation

March 22, 2011

Expanding access to high-speed Internet is vital for the American economy, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski told CTIA's Wireless Conference on Tuesday.

The chairman, rarely one to make news with his speeches, avoided any mention of the looming regulatory fight over AT&T's merger with T-Mobile.

Here are a few highlights from his remarks as prepared.

On the demand for wireless broadband:

"I was at the Consumer Electronics Show two months ago, and it may as well have been a wireless convention. Virtually every product on the CES floor was connected to the Internet, and overwhelmingly through wireless connections. If you had shut down wireless Internet access, pretty much nothing there would have worked. As CES made clear, and you know well, broadband is no longer a luxury. It's an essential platform for new products, economic growth and job creation - creating opportunities and opening markets that allow businesses to start, grow, and hire."

On the economic impact of broadband development:

"According to industry studies, deploying the 40,000 towers needed for these next-generation mobile networks will create 53,000 jobs and help us reach the goal the President set to bring 4G service to 98 percent of Americans in the next 5 years. The bottom line: mobile broadband is being adopted faster than any computing platform in history, and could surpass all prior platforms in their potential to drive economic growth and opportunity."

On the increasing demand for next-generation wireless networks:

"The amount of spectrum available for mobile broadband represents about a threefold increase over where we were a few years ago. Sounds good, except that analysts forecast a 35X increase in mobile broadband traffic over the next 5 years. Cisco has projected a nearly 60X increase between 2009 and 2015. This explosion in demand for spectrum is putting strain on the limited supply available for mobile broadband, leading to a spectrum crunch."

Genachowski listed four ways his agency plans to "address these challenges and seize the opportunities of mobile."

1. Providing fair rules of the road for an open Internet.

2. Empowering consumers by supporting a vibrant, transparent and competitive marketplace.

3. Removing obstacles to robust and ubiquitous 4G deployment.

4. Unleashing spectrum for 4G mobile broadband and beyond.

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