- Associated Press - Monday, November 15, 2010

Federal officials looking for more airwaves to deliver wireless broadband services are recommending that the government reallocate a sizeable chunk of radio spectrum currently used for naval radar systems and weather satellites.

The proposal, outlined in a report released Monday by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, is intended to keep up with ballooning use of iPhones, laptops and other mobile devices that connect to the Internet over wireless networks. As more Americans watch video and do other online tasks that use a lot of bandwidth, the government is looking for ways to free up airwaves - slices of the electromagnetic spectrum over which data travel - to ease congested networks.

The wireless industry currently holds roughly 500 megahertz of licensed spectrum. In June, the Obama administration committed the federal government to releasing an additional 500 megahertz of spectrum now being used by government agencies and the private sector, and repurpose it for wireless broadband services over the next 10 years. Those airwaves would be auctioned off to commercial wireless carriers or set aside for unlicensed uses, such as Wi-Fi networks.