Eshoo Says Auction Law Anticipates Unlicensed Use of Guard Bands

Says that is contrary to suggestion of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai at meeting launching incentive auction proposal
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In a letter to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai
Thursday, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) says that Congress specifically gave the
commission the discretion to create guard bands out of spectrum reclaimed from
broadcasters and to give unlicensed devices use of those bands, rather than
auction them.

The
FCC last month voted on a proposed framework for reclaiming and auctioning
broadcast spectrum. In his statement on the vote, Pai said that while the FCC
proposal assumes that the guard bands don't need to be licensed and auctioned,
he was not sure that was consistent with legislation establishing the auctions.

Eshoo,
one of the legislators who worked on that law, said she was sure the law did
allow for unlicensed devices to be either primary or secondary users of those
guard bands, "contrary to his assertion at the meeting."

Eshoo
represents some of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that
have been advocating for more unlicensed spectrum use.

"With
a nationwide block of spectrum dedicated for unlicensed innovation as Congress
envisioned," she wrote Pai, "the opportunities to support key sectors
of the U.S. economy, including
healthcare, education and energy are limitless."

A
Pai spokesman pointed out that Pai supports unlicensed use, but also supports
asking questions up front to make sure the FCC's implementation of the law
squares with the statute and congressional intent.

"Commissioner
Pai believes that unlicensed use is an important component of a responsible
spectrum strategy," he said. "In July, he called for an
all-of-the-above approach that includes unlicensed, and yesterday in San Diego, he called for the
Commission to start a proceeding to make available nearly 200 MHz of spectrum
for unlicensed use. With respect to incentive auctions, he believes that it is
important to ask all necessary questions and looks forward to reviewing the
record before reaching any conclusions. He appreciates Congresswoman Eshoo's
perspective and looks forward to working with her to structure the incentive
auctions in a manner consistent with the statute."

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