updated 02:40 pm EDT, Fri June 18, 2010
FCC to grab mobile satellite bands for cell use
The FCC on Friday outlined a strategy to switch 90MHz of wireless spectrum over to cellular Internet access. Spectrum Task Force members at the FCC hope to take up a portion of the mobile satellite service band that had largely gone unused. Flipping the space should provide more bandwidth without cutting into mobile satellite use across the country.
The expansion is part of a larger strategy in the FCC's National Broadband Plan to overcome what it terms a spectrum gap between availability and demand. As part of the plan, it has proposed switching 500MHz of spectrum to long-range data use and has already taken action on some of its promises, such as clearing Harbinger's 4G plans and negotiating for 35MHz of weather balloon bands.
Cellular access, unlike landlines, is especially sensitive to bandwidth issues as there is often only a limited amount of usable frequency before running into interference. TV and radio broadcasters have sometimes objected to the FCC's moves, though, as they risk taking away valuable channel space.