As regulators in this country well know, what happens in the U.S. can have a profound impact on Canada (see story in this issue). The Federal Communications Commission has a new chair and many of the old guard are being replaced by the new Republican administration. One of those outgoing commissioners, Susan Ness, has some strong views when it comes to 3G and unlicensed spectrum, and some advice for industry and the new administration as they move forward. An excerpt from her May 17 speech to the Global Information Society Summit in Chicago appears below:  I disagree with the assertion that the United States lags behind the rest of the globe in achieving a "wireless Internet world." Cubs fans know that a fast start does not always lead to a pennant. While government-mandated standards may jump-start an industry, just as easily, a head start can become a false start. Despite predictions of early deployment in Europe and Japan, recent reports have acknowledged that the technology and its applications are not completely ready for prime time.  The U.S. has chosen flexibility over mandating a standard for third generation services. We have seen that innovation comes with manufacturers battling it out in the marketplace. And we have not limited the use of specific spectrum to specific technologies. Thus, existing wireless providers may migrate to advanced services whenever the marketplace warrants the move without first getting FCC permission.  We are working hard to find additional spectrum for advanced mobile services. I hope that Commerce Secretary Don Evans will encourage Federal users of spectrum to free up additional spectrum for such use, as we at the FCC are continuing to examine every feasible band to expand the allocation. Government and industry licensees that are capable of using spectrum more efficiently will benefit from rapidly adapting their services and sharing or clearing some of their spectrum. But at the end of the day, it will be the consumer who will determine whether the proffered services are valuable at a given price, enabling the provider to earn a reasonable return on investment. And that is as it should be. Unlicensed spectrum The vision of a wireless future does not rely solely on licensed spectrum. Rather, opportunities are exploding for communication between devices that operate with low power on unlicensed bands. Parties using unlicensed bands share spectrum with a wide assortment of other unlicensed services, and must adapt their technologies to avoid causing interference… Ever since I joined the FCC, I have believed that judicious use of unlicensed bands would promote the competitive delivery of new services in a spectrally efficient manner.  Almost 30 years ago, the FCC first adopted rules to allow "spread spectrum" transmitters to operate on an unlicensed basis once they were approved. For years, this technology was largely unnoticed. But in the last five years, manufacturers have introduced a flood of spread spectrum products. Cordless telephones, wireless LANs, and other short-range communications devices are everywhere. Requests for FCC approval of unlicensed RF emitters have increased more than tenfold. Over the past five years, the FCC has expanded opportunities to use such products on an unlicensed basis by making more spectrum available in the 5 GHz band. And we have further relaxed the criteria for operating in unlicensed spectrum to enable other technologies to enter the marketplace…  A final word The Information Age economy presents unique challenges and opportunities for the public and private sectors to work together to advance competition and innovation in communications for the benefit of the public.  I have been deeply honored to serve as a member of the Federal Communications Commission for the past seven years. I hope that my experience will enable others to avoid our pitfalls and to rejoice in the magnificent displays at each turn of the kaleidescope.