Meeting the Mobile Moment

Last weekend’s record-setting launch of the new iPhone is just the newest reminder that our appetite for new cellular technologies appears to be insatiable. And this constant cycle of mobile innovation is not just delighting U. S. consumers, it’s a major force in driving economic growth, boosting U. S. competition, and enabling solutions to challenges like education and health care.

Seizing the opportunities of cellular innovation is one of the FCC’s highest focal points. Our mobile agenda rests on three pillars: making more spectrum available for broadband; using the market and technology to ensure more efficient and efficient use of our spectrum; and advertising the deployment of mobile facilities. Today, I’m circulating to my colleagues a series of proposals that would advance all these goals.

High-speed cellular broadband requires high-speed broadband buildout. However , the regulatory burdens associated with deployments can be expensive and time-consuming. We have to fix that.

For that reason, I circulated an item today that takes concrete steps to instantly and substantially ease the burdens associated with deploying wireless equipment.

The draft order identifies that a technological revolution with regard to facilities deployment has changed the landscape. Brand new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) networks and other small-cell systems use parts that are a fraction of the size of traditional macrocells and can be installed – unobtrusively – on application poles, buildings, and other existing structures.

The draft order accounts for that change by making a far more efficient process for small deployments that do not trigger concerns about environmental protection or historical preservation.

The Order also implements federal statutory assignments that are intended to make State and local review more efficient for cellular deployments and modifications that are extremely unlikely to affect local areas. At the same time, it preserves our commitment in order to safeguarding the essential roles that State, local, and Tribal governments enjoy in this process.

Preserving the mobile revolution also depends upon our invisible infrastructure – spectrum. The fact that there is no low-hanging fruit in our spectrum inventory that can easily end up being repurposed for broadband means that the Commission needs to think creatively about how exactly to make more spectrum available and increase the efficiency of its use.

Historically, mobile wireless solutions have been targeted at bands below a few GHz due to technological and useful limitations. However , there have been significant advancements in antenna and processing technologies that may allow the use of higher frequencies – in this case those above 24 GHz – for mobile apps.

Acting on a suggestion of the Commission’s Technological Advisory Council, I am circulating to my fellow commissioners a Notice of Inquiry that seeks to broaden the Commission’s understanding of the state of the art in technological developments that will enable the usage of millimeter wave spectrum above 24 GHz for mobile wireless solutions.

Early studies show these new technologies – what several are calling “5G” – may ultimately facilitate a throughput as high as 10 Gigabits/second, a speed which is orders of magnitude greater than that available today. Our effort here is to learn about the technology and ensure a regulatory environment where these technologies may flourish.

Perhaps the perhaps most obviously spectrum innovation being advanced by the Commission is the world’s first voluntary incentive auction, which will use market forces to repurpose spectrum in the TV band so that the spectrum can be utilized by wireless providers.

Today, I shared two plans related to this historic auction. The foremost is a draft Order and Further Discover of Proposed Rulemaking to address aggregate broadcaster-to-broadcaster interference during repacking, as well as settle the methodology for predicting interference between broadcast and cellular operations in the same or nearby channels in nearby markets throughout and following the auction.

In the second item, a Discover of Proposed Rulemaking relating to LPTV stations and TV translators, all of us explore various actions the Commission rate can take to mitigate the potential influence of the incentive auction and the repacking process on these stations. LPTV and TV translator stations provide diverse and local programming with regard to viewers, especially in rural and remote control locations, and we intend to do what we should can to promote their continued viability.

The wireless environment is incredibly dynamic; constantly producing new and innovative services and applications for consumers and companies. I look forward to working with my colleagues on these items to help build on our own mobile momentum.

Finally, and importantly, seizing the possibilities of innovation does not mean that the responsibilities that come with providing communications services can be left aside. To that end, we will be hearing a presentation in next month’s open meeting from the Public Safety and Homeland Protection Bureau regarding its inquiry into one of the most extensive 911 outages up to now. This past April, for about six hours, more than 11 million consumers throughout Washington state and portions of 6 other states from Ca to Florida lacked the ability to create 911 calls. The outage had not been caused by a storm or disaster. Nor was there a failure of the local provider’s network. Rather, the outage was traced to a technical problem in a third-party vendor’s equipment.

Innovative IP-based technologies hold the potential to vastly improve emergency calling and response. And IP transport can provide great resiliency. Yet we need a better understanding of the risks included, and how to mitigate them to ensure that reliable access to 911 is preserved. Agency staff will present its findings and lessons learned to help prevent this kind of outages from occurring in the future.

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