WASHINGTON (Reuters)-President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for extending wireless services at high speed to satisfy the voracious appetite of consumers and businesses, a task that could be difficult because the radio waves is a limited resource and application is virtually unlimited.
"Within the next five years, we will make it possible for companies to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans," Obama said during his annual State of the Union speech to Congress of the United States.
"This is not only a faster Internet and fewer dropped calls. It is about connecting every part of America to the digital age, "he said, noting the farmers in rural areas can sell their crops abroad and doctors can chat with patients via video.
The Obama administration has approved making 500 megahertz of wireless airwaves, or spectrum, available in the next decade to meet the growing demand for broadband services, including the Apple iPad and the widespread proliferation of smartphones.
The Federal Communications Commission hopes to reuse 120 MHz spectrum via auctions incentive, where broadcasters such as CBS Corp. would relinquish spectrum voluntarily in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.
"President Obama is helping the nation understand the benefits of the amazing stuff that can bring broadband wireless: in our business, healthcare, education and productivity," said the General Counsel of Verizon Wireless Steve Zipperstein.
"Wireless innovation requires public policies that promote innovation, growth and encouraging investment continues from Verizon and our partners in technology," he said.
However, the television broadcasting industry has raised concerns to renounce its airwaves. A representative from industry noted that it refrained from airwaves two years are still not fully usable.
"We urge Congress to immediately pass legislation spectrum inventory that identifies fully radio waves that are not used," said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and Jasmin Melvin; (Editing by Doina Chiacu)