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One of the issues regulators and service providers at Spectrum Futures 2015 will debate is the reallocation of existing spectrum from one type of use to others.

The big theme is reallocation of television broadcast spectrum (TV white spaces and UHF spectrum) for mobile and untethered use.

The other big issue for 2016 will be reallocation of former satellite spectrum for mobile and untethered access.

As you might expect, with so much potential or existing revenue contingent on access to blocks of spectrum, there is lots of controversy. The satellite industry’s position, as you would expect, is “don’t take our spectrum if you don’t need it,” says Bob Horton, Horton Consulting owner.

The other issue is the increasingly tough position mobile and fixed service providers are in.

“There’s no money in carriage,” says Horton. What he means is that the basic “service provider” function–access to voice, messaging and Internet access–is an increasingly difficult proposition.

On the other hand, virtually every projection calls for orders of magnitude more bandwidth consumption over the next decade. Many predict 1,000 times more consumption will happen over the next decade.

That might seem like a wildly over-optimistic projection. But a requirement for three orders of magnitude more bandwidth arguably is a simple extrapolation of how bandwidth consumption or consumer access speeds have developed over several decades.

For all those reasons, and especially at the 2015 meeting, we will be adding a new content track specifically looking at spectrum reallocation–satellite to mobile and television to Internet access. We are looking for subject matter experts in those areas.

Regulators will play a huge role in setting the stage in 2016.

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