June 28th, 2010
03:53 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama doubles broadband spectrum

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/28/art.summers.gi.jpg caption="National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers announced that commercial broadband spectrum will double."]

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum Monday that would double commercial spectrum available for wireless broadband technologies.

The amount of information flowing over wireless networks has exploded in recent years raising concerns about a "spectrum crunch." According to the White House, wireless data will increase between 20 and 45 times 2009 levels in the next five years.

The memorandum will commit the federal government into making available another 500 MHz of spectrum during the next ten years, increasing easy and fast access to wireless across America, including rural areas. This would allow expansion of coverage for smartphones and netbooks among other devices as well as potentially increasing the services they provide.

The announcement was made in a speech Monday by National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers, who stressed the plan would provide jobs and spark innovation.

"At their root, these initiatives involve the government acting as a catalyst for private sector investments and growth," Summers said. "Opening up spectrum will create the foundation for new private sector investment and economic activity – in mobile broadband and a range of other high-value uses – that would not have been possible without the coordinating and organizing role of government."

Tim O'Reilly, who writes and speaks extensively about Government 2.0 technologies and is the founder & CEO of O'Reilly Media, describes wireless spectrum as "one of the key infrastructure elements of the 21st century." He called the announcement today "a bold move to energize new investment."

While for centuries, infrastructure was built to move goods and services, today Obama is laying the groundwork to move "images and ideas," according to Summers. "Bits rather than mass."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski supported Obama's memorandum in a statement. "Spectrum is the oxygen of wireless, and the future of our mobile economy depends on spectrum recovery and smart spectrum policies."

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Eric

    Hey, dummy, how about pointing that "laser focus" of yours on more pressing issues, like the fact we have too much "spectrum" on your Katrina, I mean oil leak.

    Barry = POTUS FAIL

    June 28, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Donald

    Oh no the world going to end, obama want to spy on us, lol. let's roll right wingers.

    June 28, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Just proves people talk too much.

    June 28, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Crazy Harry

    Dateline 6/28/2010 – Fox News

    OBAMA Slamming More Government Intervention Down Our Throats!

    This must be a plot by the liberals to allow them to have more evil iPhones. We must stop this reckless president from continuing his support for the liberal lefties.

    June 28, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Timmy


    June 28, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Wisconsinite - the GObP Loves Big Oil, But Hates Suffering Americans

    @Eric June 28th, 2010 4:04 pm ET

    Hey, dummy, how about pointing that "laser focus" of yours on more pressing issues, like the fact we have too much "spectrum" on your Katrina, I mean oil leak.

    Barry = POTUS FAIL

    Oh for God's sake! You see, it's stupid, moronic, childish comments like this that make all of us people who HAVE a brain even stronger in our resolve to NEVER let idiots like you take OUR country "back"!

    June 28, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Eric June 28th, 2010 4:04 pm ET

    Hey, dummy, how about pointing that "laser focus" of yours on more pressing issues, like the fact we have too much "spectrum" on your Katrina, I mean oil leak.

    Barry = POTUS FAIL

    Back to Rush Limpballs moronic lemming.. your brainless chatter is not need here.

    eric's birth = EPIC FAIL

    June 28, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Barry

    Does this president have any sense? Right wingers are going crazy with just thin foil antennae and he wants to increase the broadband spectrum? Beck is gonna start seeing and talking to George Washington and lucifer and I don't like what they are gonna be telling him.

    June 28, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Jeff in Virginia

    go figure, the wingers are attacking Obama for doing ANYTHING other than making a private company stop an oil leak.


    June 28, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. IsNot

    Increasing the spectrum will make it easier for those rural (and possibly) inbreds to make even more moronic comments like those of Eric's.

    Seriously, though–this will benefit everyone in the long run because providers are already throttling back access because of the crunch. Any increase in bandwidth is a good thing.

    Sadly, though, the cost will never go down. I wish we had the same level of cheap/free access as they have in many other industrialized nations.

    June 28, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Peter E

    Whoopde doo... And what will all of that broadband be used for? A bunch of nonsensical tweets from people who think they have to give updates on every minute of their pathetic lives.

    June 28, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Limbaugh is a liberal

    I have $20 that less than 5% of Americans (or commenters here) know what the words 'broadband spectrum' actually mean.

    June 28, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |