My op-ed in Fierce Wireless

Leading wireless tech news outlet Fierce Wireless published my op-ed in support of the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2024 today. The bill will be discussed along with other national security issues in tomorrow’s hearing the Senate Commerce Committee, Spectrum and National Security.

The main point is that the FCC has already allocated 2 GHz of mid-band for unlicensed use, including 80 MHz in the very important C-Band. Meanwhile, full-power licensed spectrum – the lifeblood of 5G – languishes with a mere 450 Mhz of mid-band.

Compared to Japan and China, we’re barely even in the game. In nearly all instances, Wi-Fi signals can only travel 20 feet before performance drops off.

Assigning 4 times as much spectrum to a 20 foot network as we allocate to a network that provides near-universal coverage is insane. Residential broadband is shifting from the too-familiar cable hegemony to a combination of fixed wireless access (FWA,) low earth orbit satellites (like StarLink,) and fiber as well as traditional cable.

We all benefit from the emerging competition in this market, and that means correcting our spectrum imbalance.

Here’s a snippet:

FWA dominates net adds for residential broadband. Per Leichtman Research Group: Fixed wireless services accounted for 104% of the total net broadband additions in 2023, compared to 90% of the net adds in 2022, and 20% of the net adds in 2021

Between FTTH with higher ceiling and FWA with lower prices – and no linear TV to fall back on – cable is caught in the pincers. It can’t go after fiber because Congress is in love with it, but FWA has a vulnerability: Its future depends on government decisions about spectrum allocation.

Hence, depriving 5G FWA of access to spectrum makes business sense to cable, even if the means of doing so – over-allocating Wi-Fi in the name of a better internet experience – is absurd.

Share with your contacts if you please.