Originally published: December 15, 2011
Last updated: December 22, 2011 - 4:47pm
[Commentary] The spectrum bill that passed the House this week will make any technologist weep. I know the tech community is upset over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but this bill represents a somewhat geekier threat -- killing more unlicensed spectrum. So Silicon Valley may want to get active over this one, too.
The House version of the bill will ensure that none of the airwaves auctioned off from the digital TV band will be used for unlicensed wireless, where services such as Wi-Fi or white spaces broadband exist. So far this bill eliminates more unlicensed spectrum, which is a problem as our demand for more mobile data threatens to push mobile operators into the red. But in many of the predictions of a looming data tsunami the importance of Wi-Fi, (which relies on unlicensed airwaves) goes understated. But, instead of focusing more on delivering licensed airwaves to handle the demand for mobile broadband, the industry, FCC and Congress should be looking at ways to prioritize what types of traffic need to run over licensed airwaves.