New gov’t rules could drastically increase mobile internet connectivity

Brand advertisers, especially those interested in online advertising on mobile devices, should take note of a recent ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that may dramatically increase the amount of bandwidth available to internet-enabled technology.

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 by YuMe

Brand advertisers, especially those interested in online advertising on mobile devices, should take note of a recent ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that may dramatically increase the amount of bandwidth available to internet-enabled technology.

The FCC voted unanimously in September to maybe allow for airwaves currently dedicated to broadcast television to instead be repurposed for wireless networks, The New York Times reported. The move would create more bandwidth for mobile devices like smartphones, which could become increasingly necessary as the FCC predicted that mobile internet traffic will increase by a factor of 30 over the next three years. Under the proposal, the FCC would auction off the bandwidth in 2014 – the first ever public auction of wireless broadband.

"In this flat, competitive world, capital and talent can flow anywhere," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, according to the Times. "We’re in a global bandwidth race. It’s similar to the space race in that success will unleash waves of innovation that will go a long way toward determining who leads our global economy in the 21st century."

How the broadband auction benefits video advertisers
As the FCC noted, more Americans are using smartphones and tablets to accomplish an array of tasks. The Pew Research Center reported in June that 88 percent of Americans now own a mobile device, and 55 percent of them use a cellphone to access the internet. In April 2009, only 31 percent of U.S. cellphone owners used their device to go online.

However, that growth could be severely curtailed without an increase in available wireless broadband. In comparison to cellphones, smartphones use 35 times more broadband spectrum and tablets use 121 times more spectrum. As the use of internet-enabled devices grows, more broadband needs to be set aside to enable continued growth in the sector, and auctions are an efficient way to do that, according to the FCC.

"Spectrum is our nation’s ‘invisible infrastructure,’ supporting mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that require much more spectrum than traditional [cellphones] to support the rapidly growing demands of consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs who increasingly rely on mobile [i]nternet to communicate and innovate," the FCC said in a September 28 statement.

Internet video advertising is particularly well poised to benefit from the proposed auction. Not only could more available broadband ensure that mobile video ads load more quickly, but it could also mean that mobile device users can expect a better overall web browsing experience on their smartphones and tablets and thus turn to the devices more often for consuming media. In addition, the auction will be removing broadband currently owned by television companies, with mobile internet connectivity receiving governmental support at the expense of television's ability to reach consumers.