Originally published: February 23, 2012
Last updated: March 3, 2012 - 6:03am
The ink is barely dry on spectrum legislation and experts already are saying more work is needed to ensure a steady stream of spectrum is available in the future.
Legislation included in the payroll tax cut package would free up more spectrum for wireless broadband by enticing broadcasters to give up some of their airwaves. The legislation authorizes the Federal Communications Commission to conduct reverse auctions to see how much it would take to get broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum. Then it allows auctions of the airwaves broadcasters give up. The FCC has said it hopes to free up 120 megahertz from this process, an amount some say is overly optimistic.
Former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) praised the passage of the legislation as an important step in providing more spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless technologies such as smart phones and tablets. But he added that policymakers need to move quickly to free up spectrum now being used by federal agencies. Wireless carriers failed to persuade Congress to include language in the spectrum legislation to re-purpose a chunk of spectrum now being used by the Defense Department.
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