FCC Action Key to Our Mobile Future

By: Mike Montgomery

FCC action on a variety of fronts — including spectrum auctions and the transition to next-generation networks — is vitally important, and the agency will need to focus less on talk and more on concrete results under its next Chairman.

This was the takeaway from a recent Washington, D.C. event, “The Mobile Marketplace: The Deals and Consumer Trends Driving Spectrum Valuation,” hosted by Mobile Future, a DC-based group dedicated to encouraging investment and innovation in mobile technology.

If you don’t have the time to watch the webcast, here are some highlights:

Commissioner Ajit Pai outlined how the FCC can help, rather than hinder, growth in the mobile sector, by streamlining processes for mergers and spectrum acquisition, letting the market shape how spectrum auctions are put together, and helping facilitate what he called the “migration from legacy to IP-based networks.”

In other words, out with the outdated copper voice-centric networks that, according to a recent report, only carry 1% of all traffic in the United States, and in with next-generation high-speed broadband infrastructure.  This type of forward thinking policy is particularly important in California, where mobile innovation is a major economic driver in the state.

After Pai’s keynote, an all-star team of panelists discussed the current desire for mergers and spectrum acquisitions among communications providers, the growth in the mobile marketplace, the need to free up more spectrum (which should be of particular interest to Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach, given how bonkers the app economy has become), as well as offered advice for incoming FCC Chairman Wheeler.

Despite the panelists’ various backgrounds and areas of expertise, the overarching theme of the event was loud and clear: given the huge demand for advanced broadband networks and the ever-increasing consumer and business potential of the wireless sector, key decision makers must work to foster opportunity and investment in the industry.

Panelists agreed that Wheeler is well positioned to lead the FCC toward decisive action in modernizing our communications systems and, even more importantly, modernize our telecom regulations.  And this, although occurring 3,000 miles away, will inevitably have a positive impact throughout the expansive technology community in the Golden State.  Anyone whose business model has been stifled by regulation can tell you that public policy tremors in the Beltway can definitely be felt in the Golden State.