On CNET today, I’ve posted a long critique of the recent report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) urging the White House to reverse course on a two-year old order to free up more spectrum for mobile users.
In 2010, soon after the FCC’s National Broadband Plan raised alarms about the need for more spectrum for an explosion in mobile broadband use, President Obama issued a Memorandum ordering federal agencies to free up as much as 500 MHz. of radio frequencies currently assigned to them.
After a great deal of dawdling, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees spectrum assignments within the federal government, issued a report earlier this year that seemed to offer progress. 95 MHz. of very attractive spectrum could in fact be cleared in the ten years called for by the White House.
But reading between the lines, it was clear that the 20 agencies involved in the plan had no serious intention of cooperating. Their cost estimates for relocation (which were simply reported by NTIA without any indication of how they’d been arrived at or even whether NTIA had been given any details) appeared to be based on an amount that would make any move economically impossible. Continue reading →