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Posted at 5:27 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Kerry, Snowe introduce spectrum inventory bill

By Cecilia Kang

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snow (R-Maine) said Wednesday that they are introducing legislation that allows federal agencies to survey how the government is using spectrum that could otherwise be used for commercial wireless.

The bill is being reintroduced amid greater focus by the White House and Federal Communications Commission on freeing up radio waves for mobile high-speed networks.

In a release, the key members of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet said their bill would allow the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to take stock of radio spectrum being used.

Broadcasters, who have been asked to participate in voluntary auctions to give up some channels to be converted for mobile broadband networks, have complained that they are being unfairly targeted. They criticize the government for focusing on television airwaves when other spectrum being used by government agencies could also be used to run a projected flood of new smart phones and tablets. FCC and the White House say broadcasters will be compensated for the radio waves -- many of which aren't being used by television stations.

Kerry and Snowe said accurate data on spectrum use would be "essential to sound policy decisions and spectrum management."

The proposed RADIOS Act would also establish Wi-Fi hot spots and other systems in federal buildings.

"Such efforts would improve wireless and broadband coverage for all Americans and result in lower costs to taxpayers, since spectrum would be utilized more effectively by Federal agencies," the lawmakers wrote.

Related stories:
President Obama pitches $18 billion wireless plan

Ex-Senator Gordon Smith pitches for broadcasters

By Cecilia Kang  | March 2, 2011; 5:27 PM ET
Categories:  FCC, Mobile  
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Comments

I'd like to see the FCC make more frequencies available for free/home use, particularly higher frequencies that can carry significant bandwidth.

Imagine WiFi that could work for miles. You could have wireless internet for pennies instead of the big dollars amounts we pay AT&T and Verizon today.

Probably won't happen because there's too much money at stake.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 3, 2011 2:17 AM | Report abuse

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