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New Senate Bill Calls for Spectrum Inventory

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) have introduced legislation aimed at creating a complete inventory of U.S. RF Spectrum.

Olympia Snowe

The bill would require that all spectrum managed by the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration be thoroughly inventoried within a 180 day period. Co-sponsors of the bill are Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

According to the Senators sponsoring the "Radio Spectrum Inventory Act," it is supposed to serve as the first step in a comprehensive assessment of how best to use this resource.

“Our public airwaves belong to the American people, and we need to make certain we are putting them to good use in the best interests of those citizens,” said Sen. Kerry. “Last year’s 700 MHz auction resulted in $20 billion for the treasury and will create greater opportunity and choice for consumers and businesses that need broadband service.”

Kerry added that the FCC’s decision to allow unlicensed white space devices was “a great step forward” and that it and the 2008 spectrum auction were examples of “how valuable spectrum is and how it serves as fertile grounds for innovation” and how legislative bodies need to make sure that as much of it is made available to “innovators and consumers” as possible.

Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. Snowe is a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act mandates the FCC and NTIA to account for use of all spectrum between 300 MHz and 3.5 GHz, with information provided on licensees and or government users, including the total spectrum allocation of each user, along with the number and types of both “intentional and unlicensed radiators” deployed in each band. It also calls for location RF source location information and contour maps that provide signal intensity and transmitter coverage. The bill does exempt certain licensees or users if proof is presented that such disclosure could harm national security efforts.