Wireless Technology and Spectrum Demand: Advanced Wireless Services [Updated April 22, 2008]   [open pdf - 69KB]

From the Summary: "Advances in wireless telecommunications technology are converging with Internet technology to foster new generations of applications and services. Presently, the United States and other countries are moving to third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) mobile telephony. A related trend is the growth in use of Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) and WiMAX (an industry designation for a type of broadband standard). Wi-Fi uses local wireless networks for high-speed (broadband) mobile access to the Internet. WiMAX uses broadband wireless to link fixed points and also supports mobile devices. From the perspective of spectrum management, a significant difference in the technologies is that 3G, 4G, and WiMAX services operate on designated, licensed frequencies, while Wi-Fi shares unlicenced [sic] spectrum with other uses. From the perspective of spectrum policy, a key difference between licensed and unlicensed use is that the market for services delivered over licensed frequencies is developed by the license-holder whereas demand for services on unlicensed frequencies is developed by the manufacturers of the devices. […] H.R. 5682 (Allen), the Rural America Communication Expansion for the Future Act of 2008, would provide incentives to encourage broadband use in rural areas, including a grants program for local governments 'to establish publicly-available networks of broadband service.' The Wireless Internet Nationwide for Families Act of 2008, H.R. 5846 (Eshoo) would require the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to auction two national licenses for unpaired spectrum that would be used to provide free broadband services to consumers and public safety."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS20993
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