Last updated: October 26, 2011 - 9:10pm
The issue of unlicensed spectrum is proving to be an important sticking point in negotiations over the House version of spectrum reform legislation.
Other issues, such as allocating the D Block of spectrum for public-safety use and incentivizing television broadcasters to give up their spectrum, have garnered more attention, but according to aides familiar with the negotiations, how to deal with unlicensed spectrum is also a critical point of disagreement. Unlicensed spectrum frequencies are not dedicated to any one particular company. A range of devices including remote controls, garage door openers, baby monitors and Wi-Fi rely on unlicensed spectrum bands.
Democrats on the House Commerce Committee are pushing to devote more spectrum for unlicensed use. They argue that unlicensed spectrum spurs innovation and economic growth. Opening up more unlicensed spectrum is also a top priority for many tech companies. Top Republicans on the committee want to preserve some unlicensed spectrum, but they argue that dedicating too much spectrum for unlicensed use is a give-away to big tech companies.
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