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Obama’s Moon Shot

The only President to ever carry and use a Blackberry today announced an ambitious plan that will allow people and things to communicate using new IP-based wireless technologies on a scale never before seen. 

This is a huge step in the right direction.

In Cisco’s view, a new era of visual communications is upon us. Americans will use video to communicate with each other, ensure the safety of our citizens and critical infrastructures, for information gathering and collaboration, and in ways that we cannot even imagine.

Like President Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon, President Obama’s 10-year spectrum initiative promises to put the United States at the forefront of technologies that will be needed to support a very different communications system than the one that exists today. 

The President’s spectrum mission is intended to spur productivity, investment and innovation in wireless technologies and applications, and in the process create a significant number of new jobs.

Last March, the FCC unanimously recommended that the nation’s airwaves be reconfigured to support new IP-based broadband technologies.  President Obama’s direction to his Executive Branch agencies to work together will make that recommendation a reality.

Our use of handheld or laptop devices is driving enormous demand that will force mobile operators to obtain more spectrum.  Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (“VNI”) estimates that mobile data traffic is doubling every year through 2013.  

North America Mobile Data Traffic Growth 

What’s driving that growth?  Simply put, video. 

North American mobile networks are already starting to carry more video than any other type of traffic.  By 2014, 68 percent of the data transferred over North American mobile networks will be video. 

In handling the growing demand, mobile operators will need to invest in new and more efficient core and radio edge networks, offload traffic to unlicensed Wi-Fi networks at home and in the business setting, and utilize advanced antenna technologies to wring every ounce of efficiency out of spectrum.  The efforts will be substantial, but, in Cisco’s view, it will not be sufficient.

And that’s why the President’s decision to push existing federal and commercial users to make 500 MHz of spectrum available is so important. To meet the coming demand, more spectrum is needed.  

Rarely has a topic like radio spectrum been elevated to a Presidential agenda. It took a President who loves his mobile email and web access to do it.

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1 Comments.


  1. Hi Mary.. Great post. It is a good idea that could keep the US at the top of the tech game in years to come. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Google and Apple and even the cell phone providers jumping all over this initiative to gain more market share.

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