FCC Chairman Meets Technology Thought-Leaders in Austin

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June 3, 2015


This April, WNCG Prof. Jeffrey Andrews and other experts met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to discuss spectrum innovation. The discussion between Wheeler and Andrews explored how current research can inform FCC and U.S. spectrum policies and research investments for a still-undefined 5G cellular standard.

Austin Technology Incubator’s Bart Bohn hosted the meeting, which was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin. Aside from Chairman Wheeler and his head of PR and outreach, other attendees included ECE Prof. Bob Metcalfe, WiFi Alliance CEO and President Edgar Figueroa, Executive Director Liz Maxfield of the Wireless History Foundation and HomeAway CTO Ross Buhrdorf.

The informal meeting was arranged so the chairman could gather information and feedback on FCC topics from technology thought-leaders. Wheeler was particularly interested in Prof. Andrew’s views on 5G spectral policy and the lack of federally-sponsored 5G research in the U.S. compared to Europe. Prof. Andrews’ paper, “What Will 5G Be?” was the second most downloaded paper from IEEE in 2014.

“The one-hour meeting was intimate and extremely informative,” Prof. Andrews states. “I found the Chairman to be curious, thoughtful and well-informed on pressing issues in the wireless field.”

According to prof. Andrews, the meeting also discussed millimeter wave spectrum issues and LTE-U at length, as well as the upcoming 600 MHz reverse auctions of beachfront spectrum formerly used for television broadcasting.

“The U.S. risks falling behind Europe and Asia if the FCC does not lead by earmarking certain spectrum for mobile broadband development, including in the 100-300 GHz range, and if the National Science Foundation and other organizations at the federal level do not fund research centers of excellence,” Prof. Andrews mentions.