Republican Staffers: Clearing Spectrum, Not Sharing, Is Priority
In hearing memo, they argue that spectrum sharing plans are speculative and should be last resort
John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/11/2012 3:10:27 PM
That came in a memo to members from majority committee staffers Tuesday (Sept. 11) in advance of a Sept. 13 hearing in that subcommittee on freeing up government spectrum.
A recent National Telecommunications & Information Administration report on freeing up that spectrum suggested sharing should be an important part of that plan, a point echoed by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The Republican staffers say, instead, that that option should only be reserved for instances where clearing spectrum is "impossible."
NTIA has said that clearing spectrum could cost $18 billion and take ten years, which was one of the reasons it suggested sharing should be part of the equation as a way to free it up more quickly and at less expense.
But the staff memo says NTIA has conceded that estimate was not based on independent analysis, and may be inflated and inaccurate. "While the subcommittee welcomes the PCAST report to the extent that it explores additional options, sharing spectrum in the way it envisions is less useful than clearing spectrum and too untested to be the focus of the subcommittee's spectrum strategy. Such sharing should be reserved for cases in which Federal clearing is impossible."
The staffers are not saying sharing should not be explored, but do say the sharing push is speculative and more emphasis should be placed on clearing spectrum, which gives users the certainty of exclusive use and thus the incentive to pay more for the spectrum and invest in the infrastructure to employ it.
Guess where those Republican E&C staffers worked before they became Congressional staff? CTIA, the cell phone lobbying group that lobbies primarily for AT&T and Verizon. Those companies want to gobble up and exclusively license all of the useful spectrum so no competitor can get any. They don't like the idea of shared spectrum because it might allow competition.
Spectrum Skeptic - 9/12/2012 9:37:43 PM EDT
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