Broadband No Longer a Luxury, Says FCC Chairman

On Tuesday evening at the International CTIA show in Orlando, Florida, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski boldly proclaimed that “broadband is no longer a luxury.” The statement underscored the theme of Genachowski’s comments, which largely urge immediate efforts to free up more wireless spectrum.

Citing four major factors for spectrum being pivotal to the FCC today – American competitiveness, opportunity, dollars and the cost of delay – Genachowski says “unleashing spectrum is a national priority.”

According to Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, the broadband adoption rate is 67% – too low, says the FCC chief, who believes that lagging broadband growth will imperil America’s economic opportunities.

For consumers, however, the ramifications of lingering inaction could be just as severe. Genachowski says such consequence may include: higher prices, more dropped connections, unreliable apps, lagging service, loss of jobs, and a even more jobs not created.

“If Congress does not approve incentive auctions to help move some broadcasters and others off their spectrum,” he concluded, the US stands to lose more than $30 billion in auctions revenues.

“And measured by the consumer benefits in education and energy and health care of the new spectrum, the cost of not freeing it up could be ten times that. Incentive auctions are the right idea at the right time,” Genachowski said, noting that “it is essential we move quickly.”