FCC Chief Tells Lawmakers Spectrum Inventory is Underway

WASHINGTON: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said work had already started on a radio frequency spectrum inventory. He made the comments in a letter delivered today to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Both lawmakers support a bill requiring such an inventory. Kerry introduced S.649 in March following the FCC’s revelation it intended to reallocate 120 MHz of broadcast TV spectrum for wireless broadband. S.649, the “Radio Spectrum Inventory Act,” was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee July 8 and awaits a floor vote.

Kerry and Rockefeller wrote to Genachowski, urging him to start a spectrum inventory in the meantime. He said it was underway, even though a recent directive from President Obama authorized the FCC to reallocate spectrum without doing an inventory.

“I agree that developing a complete survey of the nation’s existing spectrum allocation, assignment, and utilization is imperative and commission staff have begun work to create such an inventory,” Genachowski wrote.

He said he’d met with officials in the Commerce Department to coordinate an inventory effort.

“In order to move as expeditiously as possible in response to your request, I have already met with Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling,” Genachowski said. “We discussed our mutual commitment to spectrum policy that meets our nation’s forward-looking needs. More specifically, we agreed to coordinate inter-governmental efforts to generate a comprehensive spectrum inventory.”

In response to Genachowski’s letter, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker issued the following statement:

“I am very pleased the chairman has indicated his intention to proceed with an inventory of commercial spectrum in the U.S. I fully support this important initiative. I believe a comprehensive commercial spectrum inventory is critical to the development of spectrum policies to drive innovation, investment and deployment of state-of-the art-wireless networks and technologies in the coming years.

“I also hope that the inventory can be completed as quickly as possible and form the foundation for a comprehensive spectrum database. I will seek to ensure that the inventory’s outputs are coordinated with and useful to other government agencies and especially that they are easily accessible to potential innovators and entrepreneurs.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams