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Tech CEOs urge progressive policies on wireless

The government needs to find more wireless airwaves to accomodate a coming explosion of wireless apps, high-tech CEOs say in a new report.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor on

The government needs to find  more wireless airwaves to accomodate a coming explosion of wireless apps, high-tech CEOs say in a new report, Reuters reports.

The Technology CEO Council issued a report today, called "Freeing Our Unused Spectrum," that urges Congress to order the Bush administration to analyze which airwaves are not being used best, and how they might be re-allocated. Calling radio spectrum one of our most important natural resources, the council says:

It is also one of the scarcest, thanks in large measure to artificial constraints imposed by public policy. It does not have to be this way. Just as crop rotation and other practices of modern agriculture dramatically improved humans' capacity to feed themselves... as modern air-traffic-control systems made possible 20th century air travel... and as advancing technologies enable us to find and extract oil and natural gas more efficiently, thus extending the global supply of energy... so too do we have the technology and techniques to significantly expand the use and usability of spectrum. What is needed is permission. A more enlightened and progressive policy approach can dramatically expand America's (and the world's) supply of precious radio spectrum -- despite the fact that it is, like any other natural resource, finite.

Reuters reports that the organization plans to urge the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to consider allowing government airwaves that are underutilized to be used for other purposes.

"Our nation's wireless needs are too often governed by 1970s regulations that hinder economic progress and innovation," Motorola Inc. <MOT.N> CEO Edward Zander said in a statement obtained by Reuters. He serves as chairman of the technology organization.

The executives also plan to suggest the FCC ease restrictions on wireless licenses so companies have more flexibility to use the airwaves for new services. They also will recommend making more unlicensed spectrum available that could be used for a variety of purposes.

The organization also plans to recommend Congress and regulators ensure that public safety organizations have the airwaves they need. Safety officials have complained about poor communications during disasters like the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

The FCC is slated to start auctioning some airwaves June 29, including some airwaves that government agencies are vacating.

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