Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, today reiterated his commitment to advancing legislation to make more efficient and effective use of spectrum, expressing his intent to advance a proposal by the end of this year. Walden's comments come after the latest round of negotiations with leading Democrats on the panel, and with momentum building to produce legislation that will use incentive auctions to significantly expand broadband access and achieve major communications policy goals, including buildout of an interoperable public safety network.
"For five months, we have been negotiating in earnest to find common ground on spectrum reform. I appreciate the progress we are making, and we will continue working in good faith to develop legislation that creates jobs, establishes a public safety network, and reduces the deficit. Members on both sides of the aisle are committed to getting the policy right, which is why we continue to avoid any arbitrary deadlines for action. However, I have set a personal goal to advance legislation by the end of this year, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve that goal with the strongest, most effective bill we can produce."
BACKGROUND: The Communications and Technology Subcommittee has held five separate hearings on spectrum reform this year, including a hearing on draft legislation that would use incentive auctions to reallocate spectrum licenses in a way that significantly expands broadband access while protecting broadcasting and significantly reducing the deficit. Members on both sides of the aisle share the goal of establishing a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network as part of their spectrum reform efforts, and the subcommittee has been working on establishing a governance structure to ensure the network is developed in an efficient, sustainable way.