(Photo by Flickr user Ervins Strauhmanis, used under a Creative Commons license)
Writing in the Huffington Post Monday, state Sen. Catherine Pugh calls on a pair of federal departments to free up more wireless spectrum.
The West Baltimore-based Senate President, who is running for mayor in 2016, writes that an increase in mobile devices leads to a need for more wireless airwaves for data transmission. Since two cellphone carriers can’t transmit data over the same airwaves at the same time, there is growing concern that spectrum will run out.
"The shortage of spectrum for commercial wireless is a genuine crisis waiting to happen."
With spectrum crossing cable, radio and wireless internet realms, companies are already horse-trading and fighting over the invisible commodity. Wireless carriers are also taking steps to speed up wireless in the face of more phones occupying the spectrum. On Monday, for instance, Nokia said it would try out pCell technology that turns interference into an asset. In Baltimore, companies have recently been cleared to put up small-cell antennae on light poles to improve coverage.
Pugh calls for a government-based fix in the op-ed, writing that the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Agriculture are sitting on spectrum that they don’t need.
“Understandably, no one — private citizens or government departments — likes to have to give up a prized possession,” she writes. “But the shortage of spectrum for commercial wireless is a genuine crisis waiting to happen. It’s in the national interest to make sure that the digital economy has the fuel it needs to continue to provide American consumers with fast, efficient service.”
As part of last week’s federal budget deal, Congress green-lighted an FCC auction that would sell off 30 mHz of federally-controlled spectrum outside of Agriculture and DoD. But Pugh says more will be needed.
Pugh hasn’t been afraid to take a position on tech issues. She derided municipal broadband in 2013. During this year’s legislative session, she sponsored the Senate version of a bill to provide tax credits for angel investors that ultimately failed.
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