Kerry Reintroduces Wireless Innovation Act of 2007

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The piecemeal approach to reconstituting the omnibus Senate telecom bill has begun.

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) has reintroduced the Wireless Innovation Act of 2007, which would allow unlicensed devices to operate in spectrum that will eventually be reclaimed after the transition to digital but is still being used by broadcasters.

Kerry was co-sponsor of the bill in the last Congress along with former Senator George Allen (R-Va.). That bill was amended to the video franchise reform bill that was undone by the network neutrality issue.

There is difference of opinion whether Congress will take another whack at an omnibus bill or take it in chunks.

The FCC has already begun the process of allowing advanced wireless devices to use some of the space between broadcasters, but has not yet decided whether they will have to be licensed.

Kerry, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the FCC, has not been pleased with the FCC's progress on the so called "white spaces" issue. "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems intent to inexplicably drag its feet on this measure," he said in announcing the bill, "despite broad bipartisan support in the Congress, as indicated by the Senate Commerce Committee's unanimous acceptance of a similar measure last year.”

Kerry said he would seek immediate passage.