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FCC calls for more frequencies

Electromagnetic spectrum just not wide enough

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The FCC has noticed there just aren't enough radio frequencies, and if the USA wants national broadband it's going to have to find more space in which to put it.

If the USA is going to have a National Broadband plan, then it's going to have to speed up the audit of radio spectrum usage, in the hope of discovering large swathes of it aren't being used, or are at least being used very inefficiently.

Blair Levin is the FCC official trying to put together the National Broadband plan, and told industry executives on Wednesday that: "A key input is spectrum". Continuing this remarkable insight, Mr Levin continued: "There is consensus in the record; there is not enough of it."

Just as in Europe, it's the military who are being accused of hoarding spectrum against possible future use. While the UK is well on the way to understanding who uses which frequencies and for what, industry lobbyists the CTIA reckon that the USA is over a decade away from such an understanding.

It is much easier to just take bands away from the amateur radio crowd, such as 2360-2400MHz (just below the wi-fi bands) which GE Healthcare has been trying to get reallocated for a while now (FCC consultation PDF).

Hoping for more insight on Mr. Levin's remarks, we headed over to the FCC blog, but no-one's had the chance to explain where the additional spectrum might come from (or, more importantly, what happens when it becomes clear there isn't going to be any). The FCC Twitter feed was, needless to say, equally unhelpful on the matter. ®

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