FCC’s Powell proposes U.S. spectrum overhaul

Calling the need for sound spectrum policy “a central component of the great digital migration for all Americans,” FCC Chairman Michael Powell has proposed a complete overhaul of the government’s management of spectrum.

Although America’s airwaves are increasingly crowded by signals from digital broadcasting, wireless computers and cell phones, Powell said there is still untapped potential for increased wireless broadcast activity. He said recent FCC tests in five major U.S. cities found that there are many unused spectrum "holes," especially when some airwaves are used only at certain times and otherwise left empty.

In a speech last week at the University of Colorado, Powell proposed new rules for spectrum management from television broadcast to wireless Internet frequencies.

Powell's proposals are based on the work of a spectrum policy task force. The group is scheduled to present a report to the FCC this week concerning rules governing the airwaves.

In his speech, Powell cited the birth of new technological tools that allow the public to take advantage of available spectrum resources without diminishing other users’ rights.

Powell said today’s government regulation of spectrum is inadequate to market demands. “Businesses must go to the FCC for permission before they can modify their spectrum plans to respond to consumer demand,” he said. “Today's marketplace demands that we provide license holders with greater flexibility to respond to consumer wants, market realities and national needs without first having to ask for the FCC's permission.”

For more information visit www.fcc.gov.

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