31 Telecommunications Policy 566-72 (Nov.-Dec. 2007). Martin Cooper, CEO, Arraycomm & “Father of the Cellphone”, Tullock Lecturer February 2007.
People are mobile! They are naturally, inherently mobile. You see that every time you drive the streets of the District and the beltway. It seems that few people are where they want to be and they all seem to be on their way to somewhere else. And yet we in the telecommunications business have a history of constraining this need for mobility. We started by chaining people to their homes and desks with copper wire, then we introduced wireless but trapped them in their cars, and now that personal cellular telephony is a reality, we offer mobility for their computers but then give them a high cost, slow, ubiquitous service or the constraint of a WiFi ‘‘hot spot’’ that lengthens the chains but hardly eliminates them. Effective personal telecommunications should deliver ubiquitous, reliable, ever-increasing bandwidth to individuals at ever-decreasing cost. There is no technological or economic reason that keeps us from doing just that but we in the telecommunications industry are far from fulfilling this need; and at the top of the list of excuses for our painfully slow progress is the radio frequency spectrum.