US to release 500 MHz for broadband; when will Asian governments get to work on refarming?

Posted on June 28, 2010  /  6 Comments

We do not normally use the US telecom policy as an example. But this is definitely something to be emulated. The future of Internet access in Asia is wireless. It’s high time governments started on the hard work of refarming frequencies to meet the demand.

The Obama administration is seeking to nearly double the wireless communications spectrum available for commercial use over the next 10 years, an effort that could greatly enhance the ability of consumers to send and receive video and data with smartphones and other hand-held devices.

President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum on Monday that aims to make available for auction some 500 megahertz of spectrum that is now controlled by the federal government and private companies, administration officials said Sunday. Most of that would be designated for commercial use in mobile broadband and similar applications, though aspects of the plan will require Congressional approval.

Full story.


  1. While at the premier telecommunication conference here at ITS 2010 in Tokyo, the theme may be whatever but it all is about spectrum and how the broadcasting sector’s inefficient use of spectrum is thwarting the growth of mobile as a platform for data access. Germany has recently successfully auctioned terrestrial frequency The culprits in the US according to Eli Naom are the community and the regional television stations with anachronistic technology usage. No longer can governments tolerate Status quo in spectrum usage, it is scarce its usage has to be optimized and governments have to do it. This is far more important for developing countries where the competing platforms like cable, fixed and fiber are underdeveloped.
    Thus, regulators and governments have to think beyond spectrum allocation as a milch cow bur optimize the allocation by reducing these artificial scarcity.
    By releasing only 15 MhZ for 3 G in the recently concluded auctions in India that seems to be the only motivations for the governments. This has to change. We have to follow the doggedness of the Obama administration of releasing more frequencies for mobile usage.

  2. We have already discussed the Asian roadmap for Digital Dividend. It’s merely a matter of political will. Asia is, actually, in a far more advantageous position than the USA and EU combined. In Asia, only the state-owned broadcasting entities use UHF frequencies and make analog transmission nationwide. Asia’s private broadcasting outfits depend on satellite. Therefore, the Asian governments don’t face the challenge the way the governments on both the coasts of north Atlantic face from broadcasting industry while refarming respective UHF frequencies. In fact, migrating to the digital broadcasting band allows the governments to issue more broadcasting licenses due to the new band’s ability to accommodate enhanced capacity. Meanwhile, the mobile broadband industry also gets enough space to breathe and serve the market more competitively. That’s why they affectionately call it “Digital Dividend.”