The New FCC Regulator`s Mobile Plan - The Mobile Broadband Agenda
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At the CTIA wireless conference in San Diego on October 7, Genachowski discussed in great detail his plan to shake up the mobile world. At least that's what he implied to the attendees of the conference when outlining the Obama administration's framework for regulating mobile Internet service.
Very few expected such major news when Genachowski took the stage at CTIA as an opening keynote speaker, but he swiftly introduced what he referred to as the "MBA Plan" (mobile broadband agenda): a comprehensive four-part plan that clearly outlines the FCC's dedication to an open Internet and how they intend to deal with a projected 30 percent increase in wireless traffic.
"Communications technologies are complex and changing rapidly, nowhere more than mobile and my time in business has convinced me that the last thing we want is heavy-handed and prescriptive regulation. Our goal is to empower innovators, not lawyers. That is why we are prioritizing consumer transparency," Genachowski said.
According to the Genachowski, these are the MBA Plan's four top priorities:
Add more spectrum capacity to prepare for what many believe will be an explosion of Internet traffic due to increased smart phone and wireless laptop use. Whether people are uploading videos and watching them or using their phones to access information using search engines, it seems abundantly clear that these types of activities are only going to increase.
According to Genachowski, the use of wireless connectivity is expected to increase by thirtyfold over the next couple of years, while capacity for such activities is only projected to grow by threefold. Genachowski said this unbalance is nothing short of a "looming spectrum crisis," which is why he is proposing two solutions to the problem: the FCC will either take the necessary steps to ensure that current networks are used more efficiently or the agency will free up more airwaves, similar to the way they auctioned off airwaves last year.
Remove any existing red tape to enable wireless carriers to build their networks faster. Genachowski made it very clear that it was the intention of his agency to expedite requests for the building of new cell towers and to help clear spectrum and clarify policies on long-contentious issues, such as roaming.
Codify and enforce supposed net neutrality policies. The new FCC regulator said he favored "regulations that would prohibit carriers from delivering some content faster than others." The fact that most of today's Internet traffic goes through the wired cable of DSL services can't be contested, but it's also true that an increasing portion of data also travels over cell phone networks. As a way of acknowledging the wireless industry, Genachowski implied there should be different sets of rules for wireless companies than for wired cable and DSL businesses.
Operate more openly by calling for a "fact-based, data-driven" open dialog with industry executives.
Genachowski's four top priorities are very consistent with the new tone the FCC has worked diligently to set since Obama took office. The most important development to come from the MBA Plan, however, is the FCC's goal to remove any obstacles surrounding 4G. Genachowski has said that the FCC intends to help the wireless industry and their stakeholders by expediting the introduction of 4G services and taking concrete steps to unleashing spectrum for 4G mobile broadband by removing obstacles to "robust and ubiquitous" 4G deployment. In addition, the new regulator has said the agency will provide "fair rules of the road for an open Internet and empower consumers by supporting a competitive marketplace."
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