FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed that the government put up 10 MHz of spectrum as a prize for the first person to come up with a way to make spectrum more efficient by a factor of 50 or 100 over the next decade.
That came in an op ed for the San Jose Mercury co-authored with Marty Cooper, inventor of the cell phone and a big proponent of focusing on making spectrum users more efficient.
"Ten megahertz of spectrum may not sound like much, but it could be sold or leased -- and spectrum auctions at the FCC bring in billions. Even a small slice of that revenue represents a pretty sweet incentive," they wrote.
At a Mobile Future forum in Washington Monday (Sept. ) where Rosenworcel was a guest speaker, she talked about the need for getting more creative in freeing up spectrum including the contest and incentivizing government users to give up or more efficiently use spectrum.
She said the current method of trying to get spectrum from government users--who hold about 60% of spectrum, according to Mobile Future's Jonathan Spalter--is to knock on the door with a big stick and "urge, coax, and cajole" spectrum out of them, with the FCC eventually auctions what "scraps" it could get for new mobile broadband service. She said when government agencies open that door, all they see it loss, not gain.
Rosenworcel said it would be more efficient to use carrots, like an incentive program.
She said some other things that could help free up more government spectrum is to conduct a amarket value survey of all federal spectrum, figure out how to have auctions of "imperfect" spectrum, meaning spectrum that is not fully cleared, and allowing winning bidders to negotiate with agencies for joint use.
Rosenworcel said it is important to start looking high and low, literally for more spectrum. She acknowledge that the sweet spot of mobile wireless spectrum, because of its propagation characteristics is 400 MHz to 3-4 GHz, but that the future would be finding a way to use spectrum outside that range, like combining really high-band spectrum (60 to even 90 GHz) with small cells.