Signal Processing DesignLine Blog
Google's plan to open cellular spectrum to competition won a partial victory. Let's hope this is the first of many changes to the US system.
Two weeks ago, I noted that Google had proposed a novel spectrum-auctioning scheme. This scheme would let cellular providers to bid for access to spectrum in real time, which would allow numerous providers to "share" the same spectrum. As part of this proposal, consumers would be able to use any carrier and any device they to access the airwaves. Not surprisingly, the spectrum-auctioning idea got zero support from established carriers. However, Verizon voiced its support for letting customers pick the carrier and handset.
Last week the FCC accepted this latter proposal for its upcoming sale of the 700-MHz UHF band, while rejecting the idea of real-time spectrum auctioning. The reaction from the industry has been mixed, but I'm thrilled at this development. I think the existing US system is a backwards mess that hurts both consumers and phone makers without really helping the carriers. The FCC's decision is a big step in the right direction.
I would have been even happier if the spectrum-auction plan had been approved. On the plus side, two of the FCC commissioners backed the plan, so there is hope that we will see this idea implemented in the future.