As Wi-Fi gains in popularity, the government has been wrestling with the debate over how much spectrum to turn over to private companies and the public while still maintaining enough for government and military use and ensuring the process does not create a security issue for the nation.
The Secretary of Commerce will lead the task force, comprised of more than a dozen heads of federal government branches, according to President Bush's memorandum to the heads of the executive departments and agencies. Under the task force, members will seek to stimulate efficient and beneficial use of spectrum by the federal government.
"It's a step in the right direction. What kicked them in the butt to do something like this is Wi-Fi," said Sam Bhavnani, a mobile-computing analyst with research firm ARS. "Wi-Fi is the first positive thing we've seen in this three-year tech slump. The (task force) will be slow, because it's the government, but at least it's something they are addressing."
Bhavnani noted that while there is a lot of spectrum available, it is being used by the government at a time when there is increasing growth in laptops equipped with Wi-Fi cards and demand for 802.11 technology is soaring.
The task force will serve as an advisory body only and make recommendations to address local, state and private spectrum use, according to President Bush's memorandum.
Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission and politicians such as Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and George Allen, R-Va., are also pushing for more spectrum for wireless broadband access.
Last month, the FCC saidfor a variety of uses, from wireless radio services to networking.
And Sens. Boxer and Allen proposed theearlier this year, a move designed to allocate more radio spectrum for unlicensed use by wireless broadband devices.
News.com's Richard Shim contributed to this report.