Larry Strickling could become an American hero. NTIA chief Strickling is looking at a remarkable 960 MHz of mostly U.S. government spectrum for sharing. It's not impossible this will double the effective spectrum for use in much of the United States. More likely, the other agencies - largely the Defense Department - will preserve much of the monopoly. Given that the entire Verizon or AT&T network can fit into 55 MHz, the potential gains are impressive.
The 3.5 GHz spectrum recently opened for sharing had largely been used by the Navy. With few aircraft carriers in Iowa and North Dakota, it lay fallow. The same is certainly true of other government spectrum now under investigation.
"Sharing is the U.S. Government policy," I heard as a member of the U.S. State Department ITAC. That policy arose out of the very important PCAST report, which in 2012 transformed the discussion about spectrum. François Rancy of the ITU and several EU officials have told me how influential it has been internationally.
Craig Mundie of Microsoft and Eric Schmidt of Google officially presented the report and gave it a strong public endorsement. From the FCC, Rashmi Doshi, Walter Johnston, & Julius Knapp had important input. They are respected engineers who unfortunately are usually overlooked by the FCC Commissioners. Perhaps most important, the PCAST group reached out to independents including Vint Cerf, David Clark, Andrea Goldsmith, Michael Marcus, Robert Horvitz, Jon M. Peha, and Eli Noam.
One reason that NTIA is making progressive moves is that the group is not just the usual lobbyists and government reps. Charla Rath of Verizon is included, but so is Marty Cooper, who built the first cellphone; Dennis Roberson of IIT, who has done important academic work on how spectrum is used; Dale Hatfield of the University of Colorado; and key public advocates Harold Feld of Public Knowledge and Mike Calabrese of the New America Foundation.