The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) got a bit of a black eye thanks to a report from an internal government watchdog that faulted the group's board members for failing to adhere to financial disclosure rules and not having adequate protections to monitor for conflicts of interest. The report also faulted FirstNet for how it awarded several contracts.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he will soon introduce legislation to reallocate up to 200 MHz of spectrum held by the government for commercial wireless use, establish a new spectrum auctions starting in 2018, and make it easier for federal agencies to relinquish their airwaves.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at incentivizing federal agencies to relinquish their spectrum holdings or share with other agencies in a bill modeled after the FCC's planned broadcast TV spectrum incentive auctions.
The Department of Defense and the broadcasting industry struck a deal that will clear the way for the FCC to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band as part of the AWS-3 auction, a move long sought by the CTIA and wireless carriers clamoring for more airwaves.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is pushing the CTIA to amend its policies so that carriers would be more proactive in allowing consumers to unlock their phones. Wheeler said the CTIA and the wireless industry should act by year-end or expect the FCC to issue regulations on the issue.
As the shutdown of the federal government grinds into its fourth day and appears likely to last through the weekend, analysts say that a prolonged shuttering of government operations could impact the FCC and other agencies' agendas on technology policy, especially for wireless spectrum and auctions.
At the Obama administration's direction, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration petitioned the FCC to mandate that carriers unlock mobile phones and tablets free of charge and let customers who have met their contractual obligations switch to another carrier.
President Obama signed a White House memorandum that orders federal agencies to more efficiently use the spectrum they control and make it easier to share the airwaves with carriers as part of a multi-pronged effort to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband.
AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA inked an agreement with the Department of Defense to explore the possibility of sharing 95 MHz of spectrum that is currently used by the Pentagon and other federal agencies located in the 1755- 1850 MHz band.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is seeking comment on the design and business plan of the nation's proposed interoperable public-safety broadband network.