We all know that just about every electronic device is becoming a connected device these days.  Mobile device (smartphones, tablets) usage continues to grow at a breakneck pace.  Recent stats from black Friday 2012 show mobile traffic was up 98% compared to 2011 and average page visits up 74%.  That is a lot of wireless network connectivity and huge expansion in a single year!  The FCC has decided to do something about it: release additional spectrum which previously was licensed space, but do it in a managed way. This is important for a few different reasons.  First, as more devices get connected the current spectrum congestion (3G/4G carrier and Wifi) will become a problem.  Remember those old ads criticizing cable modem internet because everyone shared the bandwidth?  Similar concept: there’s only so much bandwidth per channel and so much avaialable spectrum and thus more devices and users == more congestion.  Second, because it is still managed in some way it will prevent a flood of users/providers leading us back to congestion issues.  Third, because it is still managed it will prevent a “wild west” problem like we have with Wifi/Bluetooth/cordless phones, etc.  Ok, so they really all boil down to a single thing: managing congestion.

It will be interesting to see how the FCC implements the “reservation system” for the new spectrum and how it will affect end users.  This will also likely present some interesting problems to solve regarding the “priority” access the FCC says will be supported.  Ideally, the end user should really only notice this in a single way: better wireless connectivity and performance.  In reality, there will be growing pains that the end users will likely see.  Regardless, this is sure to usher in an expansion of existing technologies (cellular carrier access, Wifi) as well as new technologies and devices to leverage the new space.