Moving Beyond the Rhetoric

Posted by: Joan Marsh on February 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

After seeing NAB’s latest salvo in the spectrum debate in the Feb. 7 issue of Communications Daily, I have to admit that I agree with NAB on one point:  it’s time to move beyond the rhetoric.  Let’s dissect NAB’s most recent retort.

First, NAB claims that the “spectrum crisis” rhetoric is overheated.  There’s certainly been a lot of (wasted) debate about the phrase “spectrum crisis.”  Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you call it:  you can call it a crisis; you can call it a crunch; you can call it a duck.  What matters is what it means for U.S. wireless leadership and the availability of wireless data services by U.S. consumers.

There is no longer any serious debate that mobile data traffic growth continues to explode.  Let’s turn again to the recent Cisco forecast.  By 2015, global mobile data traffic is forecasted to reach an annual run rate of 75 exabytes.  That’s the equivalent of 19 billion DVDs, or about 75 times the amount of global IP traffic (mobile and fixed together) generated in 2000.

No matter what label is used, these types of growth trends will lead to only one result:  wireless network capacity exhaust (a topic appropriate for a separate blog).  So, we can continue to mindlessly debate whether there’s really a spectrum “crisis,” or we can get on with discussing how this country is going to manage forecasted wireless data demands while maintaining leadership in the global wireless revolution.

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