The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that the US government was investigating a way to share portions of its wireless spectrum holdings with the private sector for use in broadband networks.
Chairman Julius Genachowsky said in a speech at the CTIA wireless association conference that his agency was working with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on a plan which would allow for spectrum currently allotted for government use to be shared with commercial carriers as LTE wireless broadband network space.
The move, said Genachowsky, was part of a larger effort by the Commission to expand the space available for wireless broadband networks in the US.
"We are exploring a variety of next frontier solutions," Genachowsky told attendees. "But we see two big opportunities: spectrum sharing and small cells."
The small cell strategy would use large numbers of low-range femtocell devices to help supplement coverage and free up space. The FCC believes that the technology, when used with the correct frequencies, could free up additional spectrum space.
"We are talking about an opportunity to free up 100 MHz of spectrum for broadband, potentially even more over time," Genachowsky said.
The availability of wireless spectrum space has become a top concern for government groups as carriers look to expand the availability of wireless broadband.
In the US, the effort has included the repurposing and auction of space previously allocated for other broadcast mediums.
In the UK, the effort has included moves by Ofcom to open up the former television broadcast spectrum for broadband.
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