Spectrum delay is not an option

President Obama, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and House and Senate leaders from both parties have all coalesced around the use of voluntary incentive auctions to repurpose broadcast spectrum for mobile. While there has been some progress on spectrum legislation moving through both the House and Senate, the clock is ticking loudly for American wireless consumers. With estimates ranging from 7-10 years to bring the repurposed broadcast spectrum online, and likely even longer to free up unused government airwaves, these are slowly becoming longer-term solutions to an immediate problem.

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As the FCC Chairman reminded us in remarks this week, the U.S. leads the world in 4G deployment and mobile usage. But to maintain this position and continue to deliver the vast economic opportunities from continued mobile investment and innovation, bipartisan leadership is needed now more than ever to get the government moving on spectrum auctions. Officials must also get serious about freeing up government spectrum holdings. Delay is not an option.

To provide maximum benefits both for American consumers and the American treasury, any reasonable solution must encourage the open participation by the greatest number of stakeholders, including those who need additional spectrum to meet the growing demands of the 300 million mobile consumers in the U.S.

Now is the time for leadership. Policymakers on Capitol Hill, at the FCC and in the Administration must work together to chart a clear and sustainable path to address the nation's immediate spectrum needs as quickly as possible. Mobile innovation, economic growth and hundreds of millions of mobile consumers can't afford to wait.

Spalter, chairman of Mobile Future, has been founding CEO of leading technology, media, and research companies, including Public Insight, Snocap, and Atmedica Worldwide. He served in the Clinton Administration as a director on the National Security Council.