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Maximizing the Value of Spectrum

Bronwyn Flores, Communications, Coordinator, Consumer Technology Association

Spectrum is a finite resource and America is facing a nationwide shortfall. 
On May 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a much-needed move towards approving rules for the world’s first broadcast voluntary incentive spectrum auction. In layman’s terms, the FCC is setting up the framework for TV broadcasters to give up their spectrum rights – if they so choose – to the FCC, which will then auction that back to wireless providers. The vote is a win-win situation for entrepreneurs and consumers – all of us who want to be connected anytime-anywhere.
The “600 Mhz Band Plan,” as it is referred to, also creates great incentives for broadcasters and a swath of wireless providers. Broadcasters which volunteer to yield – some or all of – their spectrum ownership rights will, in turn, receive incentive payments from the FCC auction. 
Still don’t quite understand what spectrum is or why it’s so important? To put it bluntly, if it weren’t for spectrum, our technology would still be stuck in the 80s. Thanks to wireless spectrum, for example, consumers are able to stream music from smartphones and other handheld devices, rather than lug boomboxes on our shoulders. 
Spectrum is the fuel for innovation, providing our favorite tech devices with the mobility, personalization and ubiquitous connectivity we have all come to love. Sure, the DeLorean could travel through time, but our connected cars today can perform all sorts of amazing tasks that Marty McFly and Dr. Brown never dreamed of. For a closer look at the myriad of ways wireless spectrum fuels American innovation, watch this animated short produced by CEA.