Former Senator Pete Domenici died Sept. 13, 2017 at the age of 85.

Pai: Domenici Had Rich Spectrum Policy History

Says late senator paved way for explosion of mobile

Former New Mexico Republican senator Pete Domenici, who died Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the age of 85, was a force for FCC spectrum auctions.

That is according to a tribute from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was a fan and also worked with Domenici's daughter when she was chief of the FCC's International Bureau.

"Senator Domenici left a lasting impact in so many areas of public policy and law," said the chairman in a statement. "For example, as a key Senate Budget Committee expert, he saw the potential of spectrum auctions and helped engineer the compromise in the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which gave the FCC the authority to conduct such auctions.  As Budget Committee Chairman in 1997, he drafted and shepherded the Balanced Budget Act, which greatly expanded the auctions program.

"Thereafter, he actively supported the Commission's work in this area," he said. "All this makes Senator Domenici's legacy in communications policy a rich one: he helped pave the way for the mobile revolution that continues to this day and enabled the FCC to deliver substantial funds to the Treasury for deficit reduction and other purposes. And not least, he was a kind and decent man, as I learned firsthand during my time as a Senate staffer."

Domenici endeared himself to broadcasters by questioning whether the FCC should allow unlicensed mobile devices to share spectrum with DTV stations