Shapiro Pushes ‘Declaration,' More Wireless Broadband

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New York - Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), launched the Declaration of Innovation, called for more spectrum dedicated to wireless broadband and discussed changes for the 2012 International CES in a speech this morning.

The Declaration of Innovation

is an online pledge for Americans to sign in support of policies that ensure innovation remains the strategic advantage of the U.S., Shapiro said in his keynote at CES Line Show, here.  

"As we prepare to celebrate our nation's 235th birthday on July 4, CEA's Innovation Movement is calling on all Americans to sign our Declaration of Innovation, pledging to return innovation to its rightful place as the center of America's economic policy," he said.

The Declaration echoes the theme of the CEA best-seller

"The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream,"

authored by Shapiro and the

Innovation Movement

-- free trade, skilled immigration, spectrum and lower deficits.

The Declaration of Innovation specifically states:

"We believe American innovators should be able to buy and sell their products around the world.

"We believe that more spectrum must be available for wireless broadband.

"We believe in welcoming the best and brightest minds to the United States.

"We believe in cutting the federal deficit."

He urged his audience to sign up, saying, "235 years ago the Declaration of Independence was signed with a quill pen and a jar of ink. Today, thanks to the innovations of this industry, you can go to

and sign via smartphone, tablet or PC, or by going to our Facebook page."

He noted, "Join us ... promote it. We owe it to our children: a future that is as least as bright as our present."

Shapiro said that the U.S. is in a "spectrum crunch" and that spectrum is like "waterfront property... there is only so much to go around" and that much of it is controlled by TV broadcasters.

Shapiro said that CEA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Obama administration and the Republican party in Congress are all backing legislation take back part of the TV broadcasters spectrum and put it up for auction for wireless broadband use. 

He highlighted some eye-opening statistics on the need for more wireless spectrum:

  • Smartphones use 24 times as much spectrum as traditional cellphones.
  • Tablet PCs transmit 122 times the data of traditional cellphones. 
  • Wireless usage will multiply in the U.S. by 40 times in coming years.
  • By 2014 there will be a 300MHz deficit in wireless spectrum.

CEA estimated that only 8 percent of American households now rely solely on over-the-air TV broadcasts. Nielsen just estimated that number at 9.6 percent.

Shapiro noted that broadcasters, who do not own the spectrum they use since it has been provided to them free by the government since the 1940s, would under the proposed legislation in Congress, voluntarily give up some of the spectrum and would share in the proceeds of the spectrum auction.

"The auction would provide the 300MHz we need by 2014 and would provide the U.S. Treasury with $30 billion," after broadcasters get a cut of the proceeds, Shapiro said.

"TV stations would still have enough spectrum to cover 100 percent of all households in the U.S. TV broadcasts in the U.S. would not end," Shapiro stressed. "The auction would stimulate innovation and create economic development."

He added that that spectrum is "the lifeblood of innovation. More video is downloaded onto YouTube in 60 days that what the major networks have broadcasted in 60 years."

Faster wireless networks, which are predicted in coming years, "assumes that there will be hundreds of megahertz of spectrum coming online."

Shapiro also noted that the proposed auction would allocate 120MHz of unlicensed spectrum, which companies in the past have used to develop such products as remote control garage door openers, Wi-Fi, baby monitors and others. There would be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop "new products with this spectrum we haven't even thought of."

He added that in 2015 "wireless will outpace wired broadband usage. If you remember the days of waiting for dial-up" in the 1990s, the same will be true in the wireless age. He said expanded wireless broadband is "crucial for the further economic development of America."

As for the 2012 International CES, Shapiro announced that the National Science Federation and CEA have partnered on a new exhibit for the show called "Eureka Park" -- an exhibit area for small companies to display new technology that will be commercially available in three years and products that are not available on the market now.

"It has been one week since we reached out to companies to see if there is an interest, and we have signed 28 firm," with Shapiro expecting more to come.

The 2012 show will be held Jan. 10-13, a Tuesday to Friday show vs. the usual Thursday to Sunday schedule. Shapiro said this will appeal to exhibitors and attendees since the dates are "pushed back" from the holidays and will be appreciated by those who prefer weekday and not weekend travel.


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