Legislation May be a Key to IT Sector Growth, Eisenach Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The decision announced recently by the Bush administration to allow wireless carriers access to 90Mhz of spectrum for broadband communications may prove to be “one of the keys to the next generation of IT sector growth,” according to Progress & Freedom Foundation President Jeffrey A. Eisenach. But will Congress pass legislation needed to transfer the spectrum? In an online article, “One Step Closer to 3G Nirvana,” Eisenach makes the case for doing what it takes to free up the spectrum.
“The Bush administration’s decision to allocate spectrum for next-generation wireless services is a big win for consumers, the wireless industry and the entire information technology sector,” Eisenach writes. “These new ‘3G’ services will allow consumers fast, mobile access to the Internet on laptops, PDAs, Web-enabled cell phones and other digital devices…it’s only a matter of time before wireless joins the broadband revolution.”
According to Eisenach, who writes that a maturing Internet will be used to deliver online music, movies and other rich digital content to cell phones and other devices, the ‘3G’ decision “will allow wireless to compete head-to-head with cable modems, DSL and satellites, just as cell phones today are competing effectively with landline telephony.” He says broadband competition could be greatly enhanced with as many as four or five new wireless providers in each market, a balm to those who fear a monopolization of the broadband market by cable or Bell companies.
But his favorable assessment of the potential for the new spectrum comes with caveats: Congress must approve the proposed relocation fund (through which money from spectrum auctions will pay for relocating current users, primarily the defense department and other government entities) or there will be years of delays; the NextWave ‘auction 35’ mess should be fixed; and states, localities and regulatory bodies must refrain from over-regulating the expanding wireless sector.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.