WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today held the fourth hearing in a series discussing the role of spectrum policy in promoting wireless broadband, bringing interoperable broadband communications to public safety, creating jobs, and reducing the deficit. Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information in the Department of Commerce and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, shed light on how to improve federal government use of spectrum and reallocate resources to meet growing consumer demand for wireless broadband services.
“Today’s hearing addresses one of the hardest pieces of the spectrum puzzle: how to more efficiently use government spectrum and free additional resources to meet consumers’ growing wireless broadband needs,” said Walden. “The NTIA is going to have to ask some hard questions of government spectrum users: Is your spectrum use required or could the goal be accomplished using commercial systems? Can your agency’s use be combined with other government uses? Could your agency’s uses be more efficiently accomplished in less spectrum? Could your agency’s use be moved to other, less commercially desirable spectrum without sacrificing utility?”
“The Ten-Year Plan and Timetable, developed with input from other federal agencies and the Federal Communications Commission, identifies over 2,200 MHz of spectrum for evaluation, establishes a process for evaluating these candidate bands, and lays out the steps necessary to potentially make the selected spectrum available for wireless broadband services,” Strickling testified. “In addition to identifying additional spectrum for repurposing for wireless broadband use, NTIA is intently focused on ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, that federal agencies use and share spectrum efficiently and effectively, while protecting critical Federal government operations.”
Strickling also relayed the administration’s support for “Congress to adopt proposals to improve the process for reassigning spectrum encumbered by federal users to private use, grant authority for the FCC to hold incentive auctions, create governance structures and channel auction proceeds to manage the deployment and operation of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network, and spur innovation in wireless services by both providing for unlicensed access to wireless spectrum and funding critical research and development.”