FCC Sets Aside Airwaves for 3G

The spectrum won't be available until 2004.

by / November 7, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- The FCC set aside airwaves on Thursday for use by higher-speed mobile wireless Internet service, known as third-generation or "3G" service.

The action follows a compromise reached over the summer with the Department of Defense, which relinquished some of its valuable spectrum for private use.

The compromise was embraced by the wireless industry. But analysts said the amount of airwaves provided was both less than what may be needed and spread across two non-contiguous swaths of spectrum, making it more expensive to use.

The FCC Thursday also began drafting rules for using the spectrum and for selling it in an auction. The airwaves will be available for use in 2004.

"[The] FCC can't make the woes of the wireless industry go away by allocating more spectrum," cautioned FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.

He also urged the commission to study 3G in European nations, which allocated considerable spectrum for a service that "has been less than a success."

So-called 3G services could include providing location services, Internet browsing, and personal data services via mobile phones or other devices.

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