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Kerry, Snowe Call for Inventory of Airwaves

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Kerry, Snowe Call for Inventory of Airwaves

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), a senior member of the Commerce Committee, today introduced legislation requiring a thorough inventory of available radio spectrum managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) within 180 days. The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act was also cosponsored by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). The bill represents a first step in what the sponsors believe should be a comprehensive assessment of how best to use the public airwaves.

"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. 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."

"Used by millions of consumers and countless businesses on a daily basis, wireless technology is a proud part of America's innovative history and a key to its economic future," said Sen. Snowe. "But as radio spectrum is already a scarce yet valuable resource in many areas, we must ensure that this public good is allocated and used efficiently for the needs of the American people. This legislation is the first step to addressing comprehensive spectrum reform and will work to enhance advanced communications services to keep people on-line and in touch."

The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act directs NTIA and the FCC to report on the use of all spectrum bands between 300 Megahertz and 3.5 Gigahertz, including information on the licenses or government user operating in each band, the total spectrum allocation of each licensee or government user, the number and types of radiators that have been deployed in each band, and contour maps illustrating signal coverage and strength. The legislation also includes an exemption for licensees or users if they can demonstrate that disclosure would be harmful to national security.

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