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Spectrum Inventory Bill Introduced

WASHINGTON: A bill to inventory U.S. airwaves was introduced today in the Senate. The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act would direct the two federal agencies that oversee the nation’s radio frequencies to provide a comprehensive list of users between 300 MHz and 3.5 GHz.

“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. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who, with Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), introduced the bill in the Commerce communications subcommittee, which Kerry chairs. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) co-sponsored the bill.

The bill would also require provision of “the number and types of radiators that have been deployed in each band, and contour maps illustrating signal coverage and strength,” the announcement from Kerry’s office stated. A disclosure exemption is included for national security risks.

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration manage the airwaves.

“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 said in the announcement. “We also took a great step forward when the FCC established a way for unlicensed devices to operate in white spaces. These two initiatives are evidence of how valuable spectrum is and how it serves as fertile grounds for innovation. We need to make sure we’re making as much of it available to innovators and consumers as possible.” – Deborah D. McAdams