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More Spectrum, More Jobs.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 952 -- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs-
A company that didn't exist eight years ago now practically rules the world.
Facebook now employs 3,000+ people directly in more than a dozen U.S. cities (and indirectly supports many multiples more who have staked out careers related to Facebook). Facebook has 845 million monthly active users, and sees 483 million daily active users interact with their respective social networks on its turf.
The rise of Facebook coincided with the the proliferation of high speed internet in American homes (you need speed to download all of those pictures of your friends), cheaper data storage (hosting all of those photos), and the coming of age of a new generation of digital natives with digital cameras.
So, what's next?
A lot of things. But, as smart phones proliferate, it's undeniable that mobile will be the next frontier.
Indeed, Deloitte predicts an explosion of what it calls the "app economy" over the next few years:
There is almost no limit to what could be for the app economy.
Except that there is a limit.
A recent Cisco report predicted that mobile data traffic will grow sixteenfold between 2011 and 2016, eventually totaling 1.74 exabytes of data per month, a rate equivalent to 4.8 trillion text messages a second. An FCC technical paper released in October 2010 in support of the commission’s National Broadband Plan projected that, without additional spectrum, mobile services would have a "spectrum deficit" of 90 MHz by 2013 and 275 MHz by 2014, which would affect services.
Smartphones like the iPhone and Android use 24 times more data than traditional “feature phones,” and tablet computers like the Apple iPad consume 122 times more data than feature phones.
Big data is the new name of the game. We are at the front end of an explosion of folks using their mobile devices to consume and produce almost unimaginable volumes of data.
And, while demand for spectrum is practically infinite, spectrum itself is finite. So what's the answer?
Rob Pegoraro sums it up:
Something crazy just happened in Washington: A complicated exchange of billions of Communications towerdollars’ worth of spectrum, affecting telecom services that millions of Americans rely on, has been arranged without major objections from any of the involved parties.
Wild, right? How rare is this headline, from Gary Shapiro at Forbes: "Congress Gets It..." Congress gets it? Seriously, that never happens. Well, this particular Congress did "get it" at that particular moment, at least.
As James Glassman, also at Forbes, put it, "Auction the Spectrum, Grow the Economy."
As an entrepreneur and political professional, I can say without a doubt that faster and more ubiquitous mobile data would allow me to actually do what I can only now conceptualize theoretically.
Right now, our mobile devices have been coasting along at a plateau. They're limited by the limitations on the spectrum. The next leap forward for our phones will require a leap forward in access to spectrum. And the next leap forward in mobile technology very well may lead to the next leap forward in the "app economy."
While the approval of this voluntary auction of spectrum has thus far gone off without much controversy (for good reason), there are opponents gathering, using the lexicon of the Occupy movement (1% this, 1% that), to suggest that allowing broadcasters to voluntarily re-purpose some of their vast and underutilized spectrum for an actual productive use in the wireless industry is somehow akin to Native Americans selling Manhattan for $24.
Watch. Assuming the FCC doesn't botch the implementation of this thing, we'll soon see wireless providers offering faster, cheaper, better, more reliable data plans. And phones and app makers will respond. And that is a very good thing.
Posted by Will Franklin · 23 February 2012 09:47 PM