The Mobile Internet: Challenges Facing the Wireless Web Panel
April 5, 2001 U.S. Capitol HC-5
On Thursday, April 5, 2001 the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC) hosted a discussion on "The Mobile Internet: Challenges Facing the Wireless Web." The event was widely attended by congressional staffers, press, the private sector and, despite the recess, a Member of Congress -- The Honorable Vern Ehlers. The full video of the event may be made available online at some point in the future contingent upon resources.
The esteemed panel consisted of representatives from both the public and private sector that included:
- Tom Sugrue, Chief, Wireless Bureau, FCC
- Joe Gattuso, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, DOC
- Gerard Waldron, Covington & Burling (Moderator)
- Rich Barth, Motorola, Inc.
- Steve Berry, Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association
- Cheryl Crate, Pegasus Communications
- Leslie Harris, Leslie Harris & Associates Representing WEBNow
The event began with an introductory overview by Gerry Waldron [bio] that concisely described the scope of the issue, background information about it and the federal government's and Congress' role in wireless Internet issues. Mr. Waldron continued on to moderate the panel.
Tom Sugrue [bio], Wireless Bureau Chief of the Federal Communications Commission, elaborated on the role of the FCC in assuring the wireless Internet achieves its potential -- particularly in 3G services. The FCC recently issued a report on this topic.
Joe Gattuso [bio] with Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications & Information Administration discussed the bifurcated jurisdiction between the FCC and the DOC. Mr. Gattuso also touched upon difficulties (cost and logistics) in moving current spectrum licensees to other bands to ensure the wireless industry has enough spectrum to roll out services. NTIA also recently issued a report on this issue.
Rich Barth [bio] from Motorola commented that in order to meet expected consumer demand for wireless services the industry and government must come together to ensure that there is enough spectrum. Mr. Barth predicted that unless that happened, five years from now "there will be a lot of angry people wondering why these stupid fools didn't make the right decisions today."
Steve Berry [bio] from the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association seconded Mr. Barth's comments and commented that the industry "desperately needed spectrum." He noted that industry needs some of the spectrum currently held by the Department of Defense, which has indicated that it must retain all of its spectrum.
Cheryl Crate [bio] from Pegasus Communications -- a two-way satellite Internet provider serving rural areas. Ms. Crate noted that the technology currently works. Ms. Crate noted that the satellite services are often stalled by regulatory issues in the international arena.
Leslie Harris [bio] of Leslie Harris & Associates represented WEB NOW on the panel. WEB NOW is a group of educational institutions and associations that currently use a segment of spectrum (called the ITFS band) for distance learning and other educational purposes. Ms. Harris noted that the educational community's use of the IFTS spectrum is extremely important in that it is enabling distance learning and other classroom services. She noted that the ITFS licensees should be allowed to continue to use that spectrum for those services.
This event was hosted in conjunction with the Internet Caucus and its Co-Chairs -- Senators Burns and Leahy and Representatives Goodlatte and Boucher.
Made possible with the generous support of the Internet Caucus Advisory Committee Supporters Group.