Lawmakers push for wireless spectrum inventory

Two U.S. senators introduced legislation that creates a national wireless spectrum inventory, which is seen as a crucial part of the the FCC's wider plan to free 500 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband use over the next 10 years.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) sponsored a bill, called the the Spectrum Measurement and Policy Reform Act, that directs the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to take an inventory of current spectrum allocations. One of the key recommendations of the FCC's national broadband plan is to find more efficient uses for current spectrum holdings.

The bill also authorizes the FCC to give TV broadcasters a share of the proceeds from spectrum they voluntarily give up for mobile broadband use via auctions. The FCC hopes to make 120 MHz of additional spectrum available as a result of the auctions, but the plan needs Congressional approval.

The introduction of the legislation comes on the heels of a response FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered to Kerry and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) last week about the FCC's spectrum inventory plans. Rockefeller is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and Kerry is the chairman of a subcommittee on communications, technology and the Internet, and the two had asked Genachowski to create a spectrum database. In his response, Genachowski said the FCC is moving ahead with a spectrum inventory that includes users and license holders.

In related news, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said it completed a five-year-long process to transition 35 MHz of broadcast auxiliary service spectrum across the country. The project, which cost around $750 million, will free new spectrum for mobile broadband use in the 2 GHz band.

For more:
- see this article
- see this Broadcasting & Cable article
- see this article
- see this Sprint release

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