House Passes Spectrum Bill

The House of Representatives Wednesday (April 14) passed (394 to 18) a measure that calls for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission to take and maintain a comprehensive inventory of the nation’s spectrum and report back to Congress. The report will include recommendations of which, if any, of the least utilized blocks of spectrum should be reallocated for commercial use or be subjected to spectrum sharing.

The bill comes just as the FCC is looking to free up additional wireless spectrum as part of its National Broadband Plan. As part of the plan, the FCC is banking on broadcasters voluntarily giving up some spectrum, an idea that is not well received in the broadcast community.

“The measure is a thoughtful approach to meeting the extraordinary spectrum demands the nation will soon face. It will produce a timely blueprint for our future decisions about which spectrum should be reallocated for auctions to commercial service providers,” said Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee.

Rep. Boucher has said that the FCC should not reclaim spectrum from broadcasters until a proper inventory is conducted.

The Senate is considering a similar bill.