US president releases 500MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband

US president Barack Obama has signed a memorandum committing his government to release 500MHz of federal and commercial radio spectrum.

The move is part of a wider plan to free up spectrum by offering providing incentives to commercial and federal users to make more efficient use of spectrum.

The plan should nearly double the amount of commercial spectrum available for applications ranging from smartphones  and wireless broadband to machine-to-machine communication.

The move is a response to growing pressure on mobile networks, which have seen data traffic grow around 250 per cent per year. Some estimates say that wireless data traffic will grow to between 20 and 45 times 2009 levels in five years.

The newly available spectrum will be auctioned in a deal that could net the US government tens of billions of dollars, going on by the results of previous spectrum auctions. The US government also wants to find ways to share between the government and private-sector users, and to offer unlicensed spectrum to encourage innovation.

Money from the auction will be spent on public safety and infrastructure, including helping to build a nationwide mobile broadband network for public safety.

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