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Kerry, Snowe Applaud PCAST Spectrum Report Recommendations

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Senior Member of the Commerce Committee, today applauded the report issued by President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) entitled "Realizing the Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth."

The report calls on the Administration to initiate a process by which to quickly and intelligently make shared access to government spectrum available to the private sector in order to help address growing demand for space in the airwaves for wireless communications.

"This report correctly recommends new, efficient and effective ways for the federal government to share large swaths of the nation's airwaves with wireless communications entrepreneurs. Historically, with some exceptions, the rights to use blocks of the airwaves have largely been granted to either the government or the private sector for exclusive single purpose use," said the Senators. "The PCAST wisely shows how we can prioritize users in sharing spectrum intelligently, the same way cars on a highway share lanes. We have been stuck for years in a fight over how to force government to clear the spectrum it holds, with agencies arguing that they need their spectrum. This report makes clear that it doesn't have to be an either/ or choice. Sharing government spectrum across sufficiently large bands could unleash immense and productive economic activity without hindering the operations of government. The astonishing growth of mobile information technology -- exemplified by smart phones and tablets -- has made more access to radio spectrum more urgent and it's just the start. Mobile communications will be key to addressing societal challenges like healthcare, energy, and education in the coming decade. We look forward to the Administration's swift enactment of the PCAST recommendations because our wireless, information fueled economy needs it and it will help us maintain international leadership in this crucial area of innovation and commerce."

In March 2011, Senators Kerry and Snowe introduced the Reforming Airwaves by Developing Incentives and Opportunistic Sharing (RADIOS) Act which sets the foundation for meeting the growing demand for spectrum through better planning, coordination and efficient use of spectrum resources. The legislation would also release more spectrum for broadband use through voluntary incentive auctions.

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