FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday that the FCC
will exceed its 300 MHz target for freeing up spectrum for broadband, a target
the commission set in the National Broadband Plan.
"I am proud to announce today that we are on track to
exceed our first benchmark of freeing up 300 MHz of spectrum by 2015," he
said in a speech to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School Thursday,
according to a prepared text.
Genachowski gets to that 300-plus through a variety of
routes, including the broadcast incentive auctions, though he did not say how
much that would contribute to the total. The FCC's initial estimate was 120
MHz, but that total is expected to be less.
"While we can't know yet exactly how many megahertz incentive
auctions will free up," he said, "the opportunity is large,
particularly given the highly desirable nature of this 600 MHz spectrum for
mobile broadband." The FCC just this week released its framework for those
auctions, which the FCC hopes to have completed by 2014.
More spectrum is being freed up through other auctions -- 75
MHz of advanced wireless service spectrum to be auctioned by 2015 and allowing
unlicensed spectrum use in the TV white spaces, he said.
The Broadband Plan also set a 2020 target of freeing up 500
MHz, but Genachowski suggested that goal may have to be raised given
"game-changers" like tablets and machine-to-machine connectivity.
"In fact, 500 MHz may not be enough," he said. "Since we issued
the National Broadband Plan in 2010, we've seen new developments that have
turbocharged mobile demand."