CEA, CTIA Ask FCC to Reallocate Spectrum to Wireless Broadband

Letter warns commission of "looming spectrum crisis"

Looking to strike while the iron was hot, the Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA: The Wireless Association--backed by a host of computer companies and others--sent a letter to the FCC Wednesday asking it to reallocate spectrum to wireless broadband.

The letter was timed to the announcement by the FCC that it was requesting comment on what broadcasters were using their spectrum for currently and how they might give some of it back. But the letter was general, talking only about getting more spectrum, not where it would come from.

The support by the two groups was hardly surprising. Both have backed reclaiming broadcast spectrum. And they are preaching to the choir as well. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and broadband advisor Blair Levin have both been banging the drum hard for more spectrum, including targeting broadcasters for their beachfront property--witness Wednesday's comment request, which suggests broadcasters could give up some real estate without harming viewers, a point broadcasters dispute.

The letter, addressed to the chairman and commissioners, citing a "looming spectrum crisis" and urging them to "allocate more spectrum for wireless as soon as possible."

That will likely not be soon, however. Genachowski has said that it could take almost a decade to complete the process, wherever the spectrum comes from.

Signing on to the letter in addition to the associations were over 100 companies including Apple and Microsoft, AT&T and Verizon, DISH and EchoStar, Google, Best Buy and a host of others.