The Federal Government Should Make More Spectrum Available
The Department of Commerce, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced its finding that 95 megahertz (MHz) of prime spectrum could be repurposed for wireless broadband use.
When President Barack Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 into law on February 22, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gained authority to 1) hold voluntary incentive auctions and 2) allocate necessary spectrum for a nationwide interoperable broadband network for first responders. The new law also provides A) $7 billion for public safety broadband network build out, and B) up to $1.75 billion for relocation costs for broadcasters. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the spectrum auction will raise $15 billion over the next eleven years.
In April 2011, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration published a Progress Report pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum issued on June 28, 2010, which directed the Department of Commerce, working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to identify and make available 500 megahertz of spectrum over the next ten years for expanded wireless broadband use. Since the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum, NTIA has completed two initiatives in support of the 500 megahertz goal, while the FCC has initiated several rulemakings. President Obama also has proposed the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative that reiterates the Administration’s support for freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum for commercial purposes through voluntary incentive auctions and more efficient use of government spectrum.
In April 2011, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration reported that a vast majority of Federal agencies are meeting their original relocation timeframe and cost estimates. NTIA expects the five remaining agencies to complete their relocation from the 1710-1755 MHz band by April 2013. Specifically, the Department of Defense, Tennessee Valley Authority, United States Department of Agriculture, and most of the Department of Energy systems will relocate by April 2011. The remaining Department of Energy systems will relocate by April 2013. The Department of Interior will complete its relocation effort by April 2013.
Recap: Using Spectrum to Advance Public Safety, Promote Broadband, Create Jobs, and Reduce the Deficit04/12/2011
FCC Chapter: 4.1
Status: In progress
The federal government, including the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Congress, should make more spectrum available for existing and new wireless broadband providers in order to foster additional wireless-wireline competition at higher speed tiers.
Additional spectrum is critical for increasing competition along two interrelated dimensions:
First, additional spectrum for mobile competitors is likely to enhance mobile competition.
Second, more spectrum makes possible faster download speeds, which would allow new and existing companies to use wireless technologies to serve as closer substitutes to fixed broadband providers for consumers seeking more than just low-end plans.