Here is an excerpt from a speech delivered to CTIA by acting Federal Communications Commission chairman Mignon Clyburn. It appears the FCC is on course to have incentive auctions conducted in 2014 and will continue addressing deploying more WiFi aboard aircraft. In short, no additional uncertainty during the interim.
“Mobile innovation is key to U.S. competitiveness. We currently lead the world in LTE deployment, with about as many LTE subscribers as the rest of the world combined. But maintaining this lead will only happen if we address one of the biggest challenges to our mobile future — the demand for spectrum.
The National Broadband Plan helped put the issue of spectrum squarely on the map, and the agency is doing a lot of creative things to make more spectrum available. Over the past four years, we have initiated and implemented significant spectrum policy innovations under Chairman Genachowski’s leadership and are moving full speed ahead during this transition period.
The Incentive Auctions team is continuing to work on, and evaluate, all of the input and proposals received during our workshops and webinars, and the Commission remains on track to issue auction rules this year and conduct an auction in 2014.
While the voluntary incentive auction proceeding receives much of the attention these days, it is hardly the only wireless engagement in our portfolio. Consistent with Congress’s directives in the Spectrum Act, we are moving forward with plans to auction 10 megahertz of spectrum in the H Block, and 55 megahertz in other bands, as required by the Act.
We not only plan to clear and reallocate spectrum. The FCC is continuing to promote new strategies to use spectrum more efficiently. We are promoting innovative ways to share spectrum, such as facilitating small cell technology in the 3.5 GHz band.
Our federal partners at the Commerce Department currently plan to meet in June to complete their recommendations on sharing in the 1755 – 1850 MHz band and we will continue to work with them to ensure the most efficient use of spectrum all the way around.
The FCC’s wireless agenda remains focused not only on licensed, but unlicensed spectrum. Building on our TV White Spaces order, we launched a proceeding in December to spur greater use of unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band and I will continue to encourage staff to find innovative ways, to promote unlicensed spectrum use.
Earlier this month, we initiated a proceeding to establish air-ground mobile broadband service as a secondary allocation in the 14 GHz KU band. This could dramatically enhance the quality of in-flight WiFi on planes.
I will encourage staff to work with primary licensees in the KU band and companies who are interested in providing this higher speed Internet service so that the flying public has an opportunity to access high quality broadband service on commercial aircraft.”