SAN DIEGO, October 7, 2009 — The future of telecommunications technology will literally be in the palms of users’ hands, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday while speaking at CTIA – The Wireless Association’s annual convention in San Diego.
Though Genachowski has spent more time in the private sector than he has on public service, one thing has not changed since he took his new job three months ago: “It’s all about mobile,” the chairman said.
Wireless technology is “changing the world,” Genachowski observed. “In my time as an investor and executive I saw mobile go from a futurist fantasy, to a nice-to-have part of a company’s gameplan, to a must-have strategic priority,” he said. And every company in America must now have a mobile strategy to remain competitive, he added.
Wireless devices have gone through radical changes to become “sleek and powerful mini-PCs…freeing broadband from the desktop,” Genachowski said — “making it possible to imagine a world where the Internet is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
Mobile is “central” to the FCC’s current mission, the chairman declared. “No sector of the communications industry holds greater potential to enhance America’s economic competitiveness.”
The FCC must “foster innovation and investment” while “empowering and protecting consumers,” Genachowski said, “to help ensure the U.S. has a world-leading communications infrastructure for the 21st century” by “removing obstacles to 4G deployment.”
Genachowski wants to develop “fair rules of the road to preserve the Openness of the Internet” While he recognizes differences between wireline and wireless technologies, both must “empower consumers by supporting a vibrant, transparent and competitive” marketplace, he said.
Releasing more spectrum — “the oxygen of our mobile networks” — for consumer use is a commission priority, Genachowski declared. “The biggest threat to the future of mobile in America is the looming spectrum crisis.” Mobile data usage is predicted to explode to nearly 400 petabytes per month by 2013, he said. “You don’t have to know what a petabyte is to know that that’s a game-changing trajectory,” he added.
And one of the FCC’s “highest priorities” will be to “close the spectrum gap,” he said. Genachowski asked what would happen when every consumer has a wireless device like an iPhone, BlackBerry, or netbook in his hands. “We will need a lot more spectrum.”