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TMCNet:  CCAGW Weighs In On Spectrum Policy

[April 25, 2014]

CCAGW Weighs In On Spectrum Policy

WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--

Today, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Tom Schatz submitted a detailed commentary to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding questions posed in the committee's most recent white paper on "Modernizing U.S. Spectrum Policy." CCAGW's comments address multiple issues regarding modern communication law, including the structural changes needed to improve spectrum licensing, allocation of unlicensed spectrum, efficient use of spectrum, steps that can be taken to increase commercially available spectrum, requirements for spectrum licensing, and the role that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) should play in the licensing and management of spectrum. The responses read, in part, as follows:

1) What structural changes, if any, should be made to the FCC (News - Alert) to promote efficiency and predictability in spectrum licensing?

"The committee needs to look beyond the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when reviewing spectrum responsibility and management. If it is economically and fiscally feasble, perhaps a consolidation of the roles and responsibilities of spectrum management could be merged into one federal agency in order to reduce overlapping missions and duplication."


2) How should unlicensed spectrum be allocated and managed for long-term sustainability and flexibility?

"As Americans become increasingly dependent on the availability of unlicensed spectrum for various purposes… there is a heightened need for much of the spectrum currently found in the 'white space' or unlicensed guard bands."

3) What should be done to encourage efficient use of spectrum by government users?

"While the voluntary spectrum reverse auction is a first step toward providing more spectrum for mobile devices, unused spectrum currently allocated to federal agencies should be reviewed as a potential source for future auctions."

4) What other steps can be taken to increase the amount of commercially available spectrum?

"An annual or biannual review of government-held spectrum that is 'in the pipeline' should be required of all federal agencies holding spectrum allocations to determine whether it is viable for disbursement to the private sector in future spectrum auctions."

5) Should the Communications Act permit the FCC to use expected auction revenue as the basis for a public interest finding?

"The FCC uses the Department of Justice's criteria for selecting participants in the auction, placing the FCC in the position of picking winners and losers in the spectrum auction. This decision could have been avoided if the FCC was required to include expected auction revenues as part of its formula for a public interest finding when developing auction procedures."

6) What is the best balance between mitigating interference concerns and avoiding limiting flexibility in the future?

"Barring a legislative or regulatory solution, interference issues will likely be addressed by the telecommunications industry based on consumer demand for interference avoidance measures. By allowing the free market to innovate to meet consumer demand, interference issues will be resolved more effectively."

7) What role should NTIA play in the licensing and management of spectrum?

"There should be only one agency overseeing the allocation of spectrum within the federal government. The FCC and NTIA must coordinate and collaborate to ensure that the nation's spectrum needs are met, while at the same time meeting their own individual mission goals."

The responses in full context can be found here.

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.


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