The inventor of the cell phone says that the FCC should not
be focused on trying to get more spectrum from any of the current users, but
instead on spurring more efficient use of the spectrum already out there.
Martin Cooper says that is the only way to meet the
projected 40-fold increase in demand for spectrum.
In an interview for C-SPAN's Communicators series, Cooper,
who developed a cell phone system for Motorola (2.5 pounds, with a battery that
lasted for 20 minutes), said making that spectrum exponentially more efficient
is doable. Cooper's company, ArrayComm, is in the business of achieving that
Talking about his theory of spectral efficiency, Cooper said
that given how much more efficient transmissions are since the days of
Marconi--by a trillion times, or doubled every month over the past 110 years--
he saw that continuing if there is incentive to keep finding more efficiencies.
"We know we can keep doing this for the next 50 or 60 years," he said, and
then hand that process off to the next generation.
Cooper said that freeing up more spectrum is "a wish
and a hope." While he said that the spectrum belonged to the public, he
also said it is very difficult to get spectrum from licensees because the way
the allocation process has been set up, it is more like ownership.
The FCC has proposed trying to free up 500 mhz of spectrum
by 2020, including paying broadcasters to clear off some of theirs. Cooper said
there was nothing wrong with the FCC's plan, or in the theory or redistributing
spectrum in general. But he said it was naive to think that was the solution.
"The plan is a good plan, but they should not give the impression that it
is going to solve the problem.
Cooper said the solution is new technology that carriers
"can and will use" when it is in their interest. "The solution
to the spectrum problem is not redistributing spectrum, it's not taking
spectrum away from one entity. It's not even sharing the spectrum. It is, in
fact, creating new capacity, in effect creating new spectrum. And that process
has been going on for 100 years and there is potential for increasing the
amount of spectrum that is enormous."