Why Obama’s Wireless Plan Favors Broadband Over TV


The term broadband often the shortened form for ‘broadband internet access’ refers to a service that offers a connection to the Internet. In the US, the term was publicly introduced in the 1990’s by the US National Information Infrastructure project. During that time, broadband was exploited by the cable and telephone companies at large to sell their higher data rate products to the public primarily for accessing the Internet. Way back in 2009, broadband service was defined as that internet access which was faster than the dial up access. But that was way back in 2009 and no one would have known what would be the future of broadband. However, the scene looks brighter and better as in the current year, the US President, Barack Obama’s wireless plans are also directed in favor of broadband over television.

According to the statement made by the US President in his State of the Union Speech, he has promised 98% of the Americans a 4G wireless broadband coverage. 4G is the successor of the 2G and 3G generation of cellular wireless standards. The 4G system promises a secured all IP based mobile broadband service to mobile devices apart from smart phones and wireless modems in laptops. The use of the 4G system ensures a wide range of facilities like IP telephony, ultra broadband Internet access as well as gaming services. This wireless service is provided by renowned mobile phone service providers like Verizon and AT&T.

Presenting America with a wireless broadband service has always been on the cards for the US Government. According to the National Broadband Plan 2010, certain goals were laid down which included providing around 100 million US households an access to download speed of 100 megabits per second by the year 2020. The plan also included making United States the world leader in mobile innovation. Moreover, the plan also aimed at US gaining momentum in comparison to Japan, EU and South Korea who were ahead in using power grid technology. The Obama administration viewed it as necessary for United States to improve its energy demand and supply management and become adept in using power grid technologies. All this was possible only through a wireless plan that the US President declared was necessary for the nation. However, a clause comes attached to this plan where everything boils down to the spectrum. In the US, all licensed wireless connections use a private spectrum. All users have secured rights to it from the FCC.

The spectrum forms an important part of Obama’s wireless plans which favors Broadband over television. A vital part of Obama’s plan is to generate fund from a new spectrum auction to cover the costs of the plan. This would require the Congress to pass a law as well as a sanction from the television broadcasters to give up their airwaves. The spectrum is the cherry on the cake as the purpose is to make the parties using it pay more and to auction it to parties who would require to use it for the mobile broadband. Television broadcasters have to pay off 120 MHz of spectrum to support the requirement of 500 MHz of total spectrum according to the National Broadband Plan. Television broadcasters were found unwilling to do so as they make use of the spectrum to deliver broadcast TV to devices that have a special chip to support it. However, sources from FCC confirms that if offered a satisfying amount, television broadcasters are willing to give up their airwaves thus making the path clear for Obama’s wireless plans to take shape and ensure Americans access to a nationwide, wireless broadband service network.

About the Author:
The above article is composed and edited by Shirley Jones. She is associated with many Information Technology including Comcast internet as their freelance writer and adviser. In her free time she writes articles related to technology, mobile applications, mobile broadband comparison etc.