The Next Broadband Challenge: Wireless
In June 2010, the President of the United States declared that “the next transformation in information technology” was beginning. He called it “the wireless broadband revolution.” National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers called it “the third wave of the internet’s development,” placing the mix of public and private initiative needed to make the most of it alongside 19th century land grants for railways and educational institutions, as an example of the long American history of “government actions to assure the necessary foundational investments for economic growth.” The President announced that 500 MHz of spectrum would be made available for mobile and fixed wireless broadband over the next ten years and that research into spectrum sharing technologies would be strongly supported. In the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama further reinforced the importance of “connecting every part of America to the digital age”, by enabling businesses to deploy next generation wireless broadband services.
This article explores the role of wireless technologies in providing broadband connectivity, and outlines challenges that arise in enabling wireless broadband development. It begins with a discussion of next generation broadband network initiatives, outlining the centrality of fiber connectivity in current plans. It then makes the case that wireless broadband technologies may be disruptive, and have the potential to displace fiber as an essential future broadband technology. Recognizing the importance of wireless broadband, the paper then explores the role of wireless networking in a next generation broadband environment and articulates policy challenges arising from the promised “wireless broadband revolution” in the United States and elsewhere.
Middleton, Catherine A. and Given, Jock, "The Next Broadband Challenge: Wireless" (2011). Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management Publications and Research. Paper 28.