CEA: Unlicensed Spectrum Provides $62B Boost To Economy Annually

The Consumer Electronics Association said Monday that unlicensed spectrum generates $62 billion annually to the U.S. economy, led by Wi-Fi in and outside the home.

The report, Unlicensed Spectrum and the American Economy, comes as the government is freeing up more unlicensed spectrum, with cable operators standing to benefit.

According to CEA, Wi-Fi and wireless LANs account for almost a third ($20.029 billion) of that $62 billion total.

CEA based the study on sales estimates from "over 40 categories of devices or services using unlicensed spectrum," then attributed a price based on the "incremental" value  of unlicensed features, for example not attributing the entire retail price of a smart phone given its other, non-licensed spectrum, uses for storage or as a media player, or for accessing LTE.

CEA said its study also "properly isolates unlicensed uses in those devices with mixed licensed and unlicensed features, and avoids over-counting of devices and sales."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.