GAO urges independent spectrum-review panel

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Congress should establish an independent commission to determine whether
reform is needed for spectrum management now conducted by the Federal
Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications Infrastructure
Administration, the General Accounting Office said Monday.

The GAO, the investigative and auditing arm of Congress, recommended
legislative action because neither the FCC nor the NTIA "specifically agreed" to
an independent commission after hearing the GAO's suggestion.

The report followed the signing Friday by the FCC and the NTIA of an
agreement to cooperate when making spectrum-use policies and to meet at least
biannually for joint planning sessions.

As envisioned by the GAO, the independent commission would include "all
stakeholders," including commercial interests, government agencies, regulators
and others.

The GAO said disagreements over how and whether to increase market-based
methods of doling out spectrum, such as auctions, have stalled