HTSC: Don't Forget Government Spectrum
Says it is time to focus on incenting government users to share it or give it up
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/11/2012 3:46:06 PM
In letters to the leaders of the House Energy & Commerce and Senate Commerce Committee and their respective communications subcommittees, the High Tech Spectrum Coalition applauded the incentive auctions for reclaiming commercial spectrum from broadcasters, but added that there must also be focus on government spectrum as well.
"Now is the time to ensure the incentive auctions are as robust and successful as possible at liberating spectrum," they wrote, then added: "We should also turn our collective attention on ways to reap the economic benefits of underutilized federal spectrum assets...In 2010 the FCC concluded that the industry will need 275 MHz of cleared spectrum for licensed use. Voluntary incentive auctions alone will not fulfill this need. Our attention must also focus on transitioning federal spectrum for commercial use."
The companies in the coalition, which include Apple, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm, said that the challenges to finding and "liberating" federal spectrum are more complex than in the incentive auctions.
"We must be innovative in our collective thinking about how to incent federal users to become more efficient, to share with one another, to vacate, or to lease their spectrum."
FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is on the same page.
One proposal, which Rosenworcel raises in testimony for a hearing on incentive auctions Dec. 12 in the House Communications Subcommittee, is to pay government users to give it up. "I believe it is time to develop a series of incentives to serve as the catalyst for freeing more federal spectrum for commercial use. What if we were to financially reward federal authorities for efficient use of their spectrum? If we want to convert more airwaves to commercial use, I believe it is time to work with our government partners so they can realize value from using spectrum efficiently -- instead of only seeing loss from its reallocation."
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