Three years ago, I wrote about the end of broadcasted television signals through the air on February 17, 2009. It was one of the earliest articles here on The Futurist, and we have now arrived at the date when this transition will take place.
In the last 3 years, we have seen the Apple iPhone (now in a 2.0 version), as well as broad deployment of 3G service to cellular phones. Neither were available in February 2006. But these are small increments compared to what access to the previously unavailable 700 MHz spectrum will give rise to. The auction for the spectrum fetched $19.6 Billion, indicating how valuable this real-estate is.
Signals sent at this frequency can easily pass through walls, and over far greater distances than signals in higher frequency bands. More importantly, since wireless is the dominant (and often only) means of Internet access in many developing countries, the innovations designed to exploit the 700 MHz band in the US will inevitably be modified to supercharge wireless Internet access in India, Latin America, and Africa. An additional 1 billion broadband Internet users in developing regions will be connected by 2013, as predicted in Part I of this article. There are few technologies that can help pull people out of poverty so quickly.
In the depths of a recession, the events that spark the next expansion arise almost unnoticed. WIthin 24 months of this event, there will be a vast array of exciting wireless products and services for all of us to enjoy. Remember that today, despite the economy being in its darkest hour, was the day that it began.