Originally published: January 9, 2012
Last updated: January 9, 2012 - 9:27pm
In a letter to Senate leadership, a bipartisan group of senators criticized the House version of legislation to overhaul how the country uses its airwaves.
Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) support the Senate version of the legislation but said the House bill would inappropriately tie the hands of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The House version, sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), would prohibit the FCC from designating additional airwaves for unlicensed use. Unlicensed spectrum, which can be used by any company for free, powers technologies such as Wi-Fi, garage door openers and remote controls. In their letter, the senators argued that Congress should allow the FCC to make its own decision about how best to use the airwaves. "In the rush to fill the Treasury’s coffers with revenue from spectrum auctions, we must not neglect the fertile ground for innovation that unlicensed spectrum offers and the subsequent economic value it produces," the senators wrote. The senators also criticized the House bill for prohibiting the FCC from imposing various conditions on which companies can buy spectrum leases at auction.
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