Samsung, Apple, Other Tech Companies Petition Congress For More Broadcast Bandwidth Spectrum

A group of high-tech companies, including Samsung, Apple, Research In Motion, Intel, and others petitioned the US Congress today to provide more broadcast bandwidth, ostensibly for smartphones and tablets like the Galaxy, iPhone, Nexus, and iPad. The group sent a letter to both House and Senate technology committees, asking them to auction off some of the spectrum that is being used by the federal government.

Other companies signing onto the petition include phone maker Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Cisco. Samsung has recently joined this group, calling itself the High Tech Spectrum Coalition (HTSC). It also includes other high-tech trade associations like the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

“HTSC urges Congress and the Administration to repurpose government and commercial spectrum for mobile broadband use,” said the petition, “in order to meet rising data demands for wireless services.”

The coalition continued, saying, “Now is the time to ensure the incentive auctions are as robust and successful as possible at liberating spectrum. We should also turn our collective attention on ways to reap the economic benefits of underutilized federal spectrum assets.”

The HTSC feels that spectrum is like fuel for the current wireless broadband marketplace, and that the current spectrum crunch is real and significant. Consumers continue to purchase and buy Android and iOS devices at unprecedented rates, fueling a substantial growth and need for wireless broadband spectrum. The petition points out that the continued adoption of devices using 4G and LTE data will increase consumer demand for more as they begin to see the benefits of rich media applications like video on-the-go.

The coalition says that the FCC estimates that the US will need an extra 275 MHz of spectrum within the next five years to meet this demand. Cisco chimed in to report that tablets can generate up to 80 times more data traffic than basic feature phones, and smartphones can generate up to 22 times more data demand than a basic handset. Laptops? They generate 208 times more data traffic than a basic phone handset.

Let’s hope Congress can do the math and start doing some future planning. The high-powered group of high-tech companies can only help matters with their enlightened self interest, because of course more spectrum means more devices needed to fill that spectrum. It’s win/win.

The HTSC website makes the case:

The time to identify and auction spectrum to meet our nation’s future wireless broadband needs is now. Currently, there is insufficient spectrum in the pipeline for auction to meet commercial wireless broadband demand. Once spectrum is identified it will take several years to prepare for and conduct an auction, which must occur before a carrier can build out its network to add capacity. We urge Congress to act quickly to ensure our nation’s mobile future.