As spectrum debate heats up, lawmaker calls for inventory of airwaves

The contentious debate over whether more spectrum is needed for wireless broadband use and where it should come from got an airing at a Congressional hearing yesterday, with the CTIA and broadcasters each voicing their concerns.

The hearing, at the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on communications, technology and the Internet, came a little less than two weeks after the FCC sent out a notice seeking official public comment on how TV broadcasters use their current spectrum holdings, and whether they should give up some spectrum for wireless broadband use.

Before any decision is made, the government needs to conduct a thorough inventory of current spectrum holdings and how the spectrum is being used, said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee's chairman. The FCC raised the issue of taking spectrum from broadcasters as part of its national broadband plan, which is due to Congress in February.

Broadcasters, meanwhile, have expressed vehement opposition to such a plan. They have argued they are efficiently using their spectrum, and offer services including mobile DTV. Indeed, Gordon Smith, the president of the National Association of Broadcasters, held up a handset playing a TV program and declared: "Soon the BlackBerry will be a TV. Your iPhone will be a TV."

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this CNET article

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