FCC Chairman Julius Genachowki has penned an op-ed for the tech site TechCrunch in which he praises the current state of mobile broadband in America:
It wasn’t long ago that Asia and Europe were seen as ahead of the U.S. in broadband-powered innovation and infrastructure. Take mobile. As a 2008 Businessweek story said, America’s reputation for too long was as a “wireless backwater.” But thanks to America’s innovative technology and broadband companies, and to smart government policies, the story today is different. It’s one of comeback and leadership.
After trailing in key 3G metrics, we are now leading the world in deploying the next generation of wireless broadband networks – 4G LTE – at scale. We have 69% of the world’s LTE subscribers, making the United States the global test bed for LTE apps and services.
Despite our leading the charge in mobile broadband, however, Genachowski warns there are speed bumps ahead. Among them is a shortage of spectrum:
[A] key challenge on the mobile side is the wireless spectrum crunch. U.S. mobile data traffic grew almost 300% last year, and driven by 4G LTE smartphones and tablets, traffic is projected to grow an additional 16-fold by 2016. With this exponential growth, demand for our wireless capacity is on pace to exceed supply. Congested wireless networks are slower wireless networks.