That agenda meshes with the argument Genachowski has recently made that broadband speeds and capacity are a pillar of U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. And the FCC under his watch has left no confusion that wireless will be a crucial driver of the broadband ecosystem.
"Over the past four years, the U.S. has regained global leadership in mobile, setting the pace in key areas like the apps economy, mobile operating systems and the rollout of 4G LTE networks at scale," Genachowski said. "The U.S. has become the world's testbed for 4G LTE services and applications, which is vital for U.S. innovation, leadership, and for sustainability -- job creation. And to maintain our leadership, and to spur future innovation, we need to ensure that the U.S. has a strategic bandwidth advantage -- advanced, high-capacity and ubiquitous broadband. That requires maximizing the value of the airwaves and ensuring that the spectrum crunch doesn't slow growth in the mobile economy."
The FCC's action appears to resolve a long-simmering dispute between AT&T and Sirius XM concerning the potential for LTE traffic in the contested band to interfere with satellite-radio transmissions.
"The era of regulatory dispute and uncertainty in the WCS band is finally drawing to a close," Joan Marsh, AT&T's vice president of federal regulatory issues, said in a statement.
Marsh said that AT&T plans to deliver service in the WCS band as early as three years from now.
Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulatory affairs with CTIA, the principal trade association representing the wireless industry, hailed the FCC's move as another mark of progress in the group's policy agenda of making new spectrum available to its members.
"Freeing up underutilized spectrum is a critical component in the effort to meet the rapidly-escalating demand for mobile broadband services," he said in a statement. "Whether through removing regulatory barriers or clearing underutilized spectrum in bands that can be used for mobile services, delivering additional spectrum for mobile broadband allows the U.S. wireless industry to invest billions of dollars every year and deploy world-leading networks, resulting in significant economic benefits for U.S. consumers and businesses."
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