Skip to main content

Comcast: Crucial for Government to Free Up More Unlicensed Wireless

Comcast senior VP Thomas Nagel plans to tell a Senate Communications
Subcommittee panel that getting more unlicensed spectrum is crucial to cable
and the country.

"Further growth in data consumption via unlicensed
technologies simply cannot occur unless service providers have access to more
unlicensed spectrum," he says, according to a copy of his testimony for a June
4 hearing on the State of Wireless Communications.

just expanded its wireless offerings in Atlanta and Chicago,
a point Nagel
plans to make in his testimony.

Taking a page from another wireless technology - broadcasting
-- Nagel also emphasized the superiority of wireless communications in
emergencies, but in this case unlicensed spectrum. "[T]he importance of
robust, widely available unlicensed networks has been made abundantly clear
over the past 12 months, when Wi-Fi networks played an important role in
facilitating communications in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Winter Storm
Nemo and the horrific attack in the Boston Marathon.

Broadcasters have been arguing that their one-to-many
wireless technology is one reason the government should not be so quick to take
back their spectrum to auction it to wireless cellular companies and to set
aside for more unlicensed spectrum.

Nagel argues that setting aside more unlicensed wireless or
loosening the regulations on unlicensed "does not mean undermining
licensed technologies." He praises the FCC's proposals to make it easier
to deploy next-generation unlicensed technology in the 5 GHz band, and the
incentive auction proposal that includes unlicensed set-asides.

The hearing is the latest in a series of media
oversight hearings in the subcommittee.