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'Less Regulation Is More' When Encouraging Private Investment in Wireless Networks

Continued Private Investment Critical to Consumer Experience With Mobile Internet Devices (May 02, 2012)

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 05/02/12 -- Less regulation, more government spectrum available for consumer use, and fewer limitations on which companies can acquire and deploy more robust networks across additional bandwidth will lead to the President's goal of 98 percent LTE deployment in the United States, said the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) today.

The first commercial traffic crossed the Internet in 1992. Since then, technology has dramatically changed the way consumers communicate. Last year, U.S. consumers sent 2.3 trillion text messages and logged 2.29 trillion minutes on their wireless devices.(1) As consumer demand for wireless continues to grow, the supply of government allocated airwaves is not keeping up.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) projects that by 2014, mobile data traffic will be 35 times 2009 levels, equaling demand for 1,097 MHz of wireless broadband spectrum. The Commission therefore estimates that the deficit in wireless broadband spectrum will be 275 MHz by 2014.(2)

"With consumer demand on track to soon outpace supply, the government must move quickly to allocate more airwaves for consumer use in order to keep mobile broadband available, accessible and affordable," said IIA Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons. "And beyond making additional spectrum available, it's crucial that policy makers encourage the private investment necessary to deploy these airwaves for the benefit of all Americans."

From 1996 to 2011, the broadband industry invested nearly $1.2 trillion, and more private sector dollars are critical to reaching the President's goal of universal broadband.(3) The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act earmarked $7.2 billion for the expansion of broadband, and the FCC's recently launched Connect America Fund allocates $300 million more - but a FCC task force said reaching 100 million homes with a 100Mbps nationwide broadband network could cost as much as $350 billion.(4) Taxpayer funds alone will not suffice.

"Pro-Internet policy successes came when government removed barriers, rather than adding new ones," said IIA Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman. "Unfortunately those days may be ending. While there is rare bipartisan agreement that the biggest challenge to broadband-enabled growth is lack of private investment and available spectrum, there is growing disagreement on how to fix it."

Today, at an Internet Academy on Capitol Hill hosted by the IIA, industry experts will discuss, "20 Years Later: Are We Winning or Losing the Spectrum War?" Speakers Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics, and Morgan Reed, executive director of the Association for Competitive Technology, will join IIA Co-Chairmen Bruce Mehlman and Jamal Simmons to examine spectrum policy, bandwidth consumption versus availability, and the need for investment as wireless technologies continue to advance. Topics will include:

  • A look at how technology has changed since the first commercial traffic crossed the Internet in 1992.
  • The benefits of mobile technology, and how it has changed the day-to-day activities and operations of a typical Hill office.
  • The increase in bandwidth usage over the past two decades and the need for continued network investment.

For a quick look at how much technology and the world have changed over the past 20 years, visit the IIA website and view a printable Then & Now graphic at

About The Internet Innovation Alliance

The Internet Innovation Alliance was founded in 2004 and is a broad-based coalition supporting broadband availability and access for all Americans, including underserved and rural communities. It aims to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to this critical tool. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that leverage the power of entrepreneurs and the market to achieve universal broadband availability and adoption.


For more information contact:
Lauren DuBois
(917) 573-2485

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