Thanks, Mr. President: More Spectrum Means More Jobs

Yesterday, the White House released the President’s Memorandum on spectrum policy and, in a refreshing change, it looks as if it’s actually geared to encourage investment. 

Thanks to every new gadget from Apple, Microsoft and Google, consumers are inhaling wireless spectrum as they demand more and more mobile broadband applications. The downside is that as more devices compete for a finite amount of spectrum, fewer opportunities to create innovative products and technologies will arise, thus limiting job growth and investment.  By signing the Presidential Memorandum, not only has President Obama doubled the amount of spectrum available for commercial purposes, but he’s set in motion a plan that has the potential to raise tens of billions of dollars that can go into public safety and infrastructure investments that will create jobs.  And we like jobs.

The plan calls for setting up an auction that will release 500 MHz of Federal and nonfederal spectrum over the next 10 years for both mobile and fixed wireless broadband use.  In addition, the FCC would be responsible for reorganizing how spectrum bands are released, so that they’ll be used for their most productive – and lucrative – use. 

The auction proceeds will then be funneled into various good ideas, such as the creation of an interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety use, investment in growth-enhancing infrastructure like NextGen air traffic control, high-speed rail, and Smart Grid,  and even – gasp – deficit reduction.

With the sudden surge of raw capitalism surrounding mobile broadband, it seems as if 44 is trying to put a new dust jacket on Hayek: The Road to Surfdom.

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