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Boucher Proffers House Spectrum Bill

WASHINGTON: Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have rolled out a bill that would initiate a radio spectrum inventory. The measure would direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communication Commission to do a comprehensive survey of the spectrum. The goal is to update who and what agencies are using bandwidth, how they’re using it, and where the gaps are, if any remain. The nation’s airwaves are notoriously crowded, hence the push in recent years to open up broadcast taboo channels to unlicensed devices.

Within 180 days of the date of enactment of this measure, the NTIA and the FCC would be required to make the inventory available on the Internet. The Act would also require the NTIA and the FCC to provide Congress an annual update on the inventory, and recommend reallocation where applicable.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) chairman of the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee, along with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-Texas), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Cliff Stearns (R- Fla.) introduced the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act.

“As more people use wireless devices and as advanced applications require higher data rates over time, additional spectrum will be needed to accommodate growth. Wireless technologies can also play a critical role in bringing broadband to more consumers, particularly in rural areas,” Boucher said.

A similar bill, S.649, passed the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday. The bill would also give the same agencies 180 days to complete the inventory. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) sponsored the Senate version.
-- Deborah D. McAdams