'Spectrum Crunch' On Horizon Could Slow Hawaii's Digital Future

WASHINGTON — Hawaii last year launched a broadband initiative with the stated goal of providing ultra-high-speed Internet access to every citizen by 2018.

Ambitious, but not a technological panacea. That's because much of the data being moved around today is moving not through wires but through the airwaves. The breadth of the wireless spectrum could limit any economic benefits Hawaii hopes to realize from the broadband initiative, slowing the waterfall to a trickle for those who access the web from their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The problem isn't unique to Hawaii, but it could have an outsize effect in the islands. So local advocates — small business owners, a state lawmaker and an Army sergeant stationed in Honolulu — have joined a national push to raise awareness about the impending problem known as the "spectrum crunch." And they're enlisting the help of Hawaii's powerful senior U.S. senator, Daniel K. Inouye.

What Is Spectrum Crunch?

The Federal Communications Commission explains the stakes:

Have feedback? Suggestions?