U.S. Needs More Spectrum to Accomodate Explosive Growth in Small Business Apps Use

SBE Council's landmark study, "Saving Time and Money with Mobile Apps: A Small Business 'App'ortunity," continues to receive widespread media coverage. Recent pieces focus on the explosive growth of mobile app usage by small businesses, and how these practical and innovative tools are saving firms time and money while improving productivity.

See the recent articles here:
DIY Apps Save Small Business Time and Money, BusinessWeek
Mobile Apps Fuel Small Businesses, McClatcy/Tribune

The explosive growth in apps (and their rapid adoption by consumers) also demonstrates why the U.S. needs more spectrum to accomodate and encourage this growth. This would start with a sound and common sense approach toward spectrum auctions. Unfortunately, the FCC seems to be doing all it can to mess them up. Similar to what the Administration is doing in other sectors (i.e.: energy), the FCC wants to pick winners and losers. In this case, choosing what companies will be able to participate in the auctions. It wants to "manage the outcome" of the auctions to ensure competition. That means it could exclude the biggest players that actually have the resources to purchase this valuable spectrum. Oh, and they need the spectrum too.

The current FCC is only impeding progress, something it has been doing quite well over the past several years. It has become the single greatest barrier to building out our nation's broadband and wireless infrastructure. The FCC is hamstringing investment, innovation, job growth, U.S. competitiveness, and in the case of spectrum auctions, an inflow of revenue to the federal government. It's time for Congress to start asking questions about what purpose such a government agency serves, particularly if it believes its main job is to micromanage a successful industry whose growth and vibrancy is so critical to the entire U.S. economy.

In regard to spectrum auctions, a bill has been introduced in the House to limit the damage that the FCC can do -- thank goodness. All players should be able to bid on spectrum, and the FCC must not be allowed to discriminate against specific companies. We all know what happens when government picks winners and losers in the marketplace. Time and again, industrial policy has proven itself a failure. The economic stakes are much too high to allow the FCC to pursue and prove (yet again) the failure of such misguided policy.

The FCC is overreaching. It is putting U.S. economic and innovative strength at risk, and Congress must hold it accountable.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO