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Why #WirelessIsDifferent: Net Neutrality Explained

In 2010, the FCC voted that wireless networks were different, and required mobile-specific rules. Here's why the Commission made the right decision then, and why the FCC needs to ensure #WirelessIsDifferent now.

NTIA Survey Shows Wireless Devices “Deeply Ingrained” in Americans’ Lives

9 out of 10 Americans over the age of 25 use mobile devices, according to the NTIA survey released yesterday. Americans are adopting mobile Internet faster than other technologies, including television. Urban and rural, young and old, minorities and underprivileged communities, all rely on their mobile devices as their primary or sole means to access the Internet.

While there are a number of other great statistics from the report, I think NTIA summed it up the best when it said, “The data suggest that the use of mobile devices for communications and information access has expanded exponentially and is now deeply ingrained in the American way of life.”

I applaud Administrator Strickling and his staff for developing and sharing this report because this kind of research helps inform our policy decisions. We must let the facts dictate policy.

While the statistics tell a fantastic wireless story about how we benefit tremendously throughout the mobile ecosystem, these numbers are also evidence for two important policy matters.

One, the NTIA survey provides a thorough look at Americans’ usage after the FCC’s 2010 vote when the Commissioners recognized wireless is different, and approved rules that reflected this reality. Thanks to the FCC's decision to keep a light regulatory touch, the mobile ecosystem flourished by providing companies with the freedom to compete and innovate, which is why Americans enjoy a plethora of products, services and apps. Limited only by imagination (and spectrum, but I’ll get to that later), companies were able to invest record sums in infrastructure, R&D and other integral pieces to create what we rely on today.

Two, in light of the significant increase in Americans who are relying on their mobile devices, and especially since it’s the sole or primary means for many low-income and minority populations to access the Internet, the wireless industry must have access to more spectrum to meet these needs. Whether it’s the report from Deloitte or Cisco’s VNI, it’s clear that other countries are racing to get more spectrum for their wireless industries so they may enjoy similar benefits for their users and economies. The AWS-3 auction in November and the upcoming Broadcast Incentive Auction are great steps toward meeting the National Broadband Plan for 500 MHz by 2020, but there is a lot more work to do. We're looking forward to working with the NTIA, FCC and other policymakers to find the next bands of spectrum to meet America’s demand.

Statement After the FCC October Open Meeting

After the FCC’s October Open Meeting addressing wireless infrastructure deployment and new spectrum bands, I said:

“I am pleased that the FCC took meaningful actions today to advance additional spectrum and quicker siting of wireless infrastructure, which are essential to keeping up with consumers’ skyrocketing demand for mobile wireless services.

“I applaud the Commission for modernizing its wireless infrastructure rules and establishing a framework to facilitate smarter and faster infrastructure deployment. Today’s Report and Order helps limit unnecessary delays in carriers’ ability to upgrade networks with cutting edge technologies and provide additional coverage or capacity; streamlines review processes to ease deployment of small cells and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS); and formally adopts CTIA’s Petition to permit the speedy deployment of temporary towers. We look forward to continuing to work with the Commission, local governments and other stakeholders to effectively implement this Order and provide consumers with additional advanced services in a more efficient and effective manner.

“In addition to innovative infrastructure deployments, technological advances can expand the range of spectrum frequencies suitable for mobile broadband services. I welcome the FCC’s Spectrum Horizons Notice of Inquiry, which explores the use of spectrum above 24 GHz, and we look forward to participating in the examination. While we will always work to locate more cleared licensed spectrum under 3 GHz, we also need to expand our search to find other complementary spectrum bands, and this Notice is an important step in that effort. I commend the Commission’s forward-looking approach to spectrum policy.”

 

CTIA Statement on the FCC Adopting the Inter-service Interference Order and Further Notice

Following the FCC's adoption of the Inter-service Interference Order and Further Notice, I said: 

“We appreciate yesterday’s adoption of another important item that will provide more clarity to potential incentive auction participants. A successful 600 MHz Incentive Auction is critical to meeting consumer demands for mobile broadband and the Inter-service Interference Order ...

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Boasting one of the lowest malware infection rates in the world, the U.S. wireless industry needs continued flexibility to manage their networks and exchange information with others to best respond to cyberthreats.

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