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Justice Department calls to liberate spectrum


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The US Justice Department has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to free up wireless frequencies to enable greater competition in the country’s mobile broadband market, Reuters reports.
The US Justice Department has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to free up wireless frequencies to enable greater competition in the country’s mobile broadband market, Reuters reports.

The call comes as the FCC is undergoing a public consultation process while it formulates a national broadband plan, which is due for submission to congress on 17 February. The department, in a letter signed by top antitrust official Christine Varney, said: ‘The scarcity of spectrum is a fundamental obstacle that the commission should address. Reallocating spectrum that is being underutilised would encourage the deployment of wireless services and could help to make such services more competitive with wireline offerings.’

A lack of spectrum had previously been highlighted by the FCC as an issue which could hinder the mobile broadband market in the near future. As reported by CommsUpdate on 7 October 2009, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski unveiled the regulator’s four part Mobile Broadband Agenda, which promises to ‘unleash’ spectrum for mobile broadband.

Describing spectrum as the ‘oxygen’ of mobile networks, Genachowski warned operators of a looming spectrum crisis. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has also urged the FCC to make it easier for consumers to determine which broadband provider gives better service, specifically by taking steps to close the gap between actual and advertised speeds.


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