The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

An Increasingly Connected Society Needs Spectrum

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


According to a January 7, 2013 article in Wireless Week, on December 25, 2012, nearly 17.4 million mobile devices, including tablets, Smartphones, and cell phones were activated.  In addition, nearly 1.76 billion applications were downloaded during the holiday week. On January 11, 2013, an article  in The New York Times listed among the devices and mobile apps found at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show those that provide the ability for users to remotely perform tasks such as turning on living room lights and opening their front doors remotely.  Additionally, the health and wellness industries are quickly adapting mobile technology for use by consumers by offering apps and wireless devices that provide the ability to check blood pressure and diabetes levels, and workout tracking devices.  As consumer appetite for mobile technology rises, the demand on existing spectrum allocations becomes increasingly strained. According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the U.S. government currently holds exclusive rights to more than 638 MHz of spectrum and shares another 1,030 MHz with commercial users.  On January 3, 2013, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai discussed the need for the federal government to relinquish some of its unused spectrum for mobile use.  According to Pai, almost 60 percent of the spectrum best used for mobile devices is currently held by the federal government, and unavailable for private sector use. There is an increasing need to expand spectrum available for private use, and the ongoing voluntary spectrum auctions may not provide enough spectrum to fill this growing need.  It is time for the federal government to improve its spectrum management in order to free up some of its unused spectrum for nonfederal use.

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