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CEA, CTIA Ask FCC to Make Inquiry Into Reallocating Broadcast Spectrum

The Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA: The Wireless Association have asked the FCC to make an inquiry into reallocating broadcast spectrum usage part of the national broadband plan, saying it is about to run into a Communications Act deadline to do just that.

In a letter to the FCC commissioners, the two groups say there is a looming spectrum crisis and point out that the Communications Act gave the FCC 10 years after it first handed out DTV licenses to make: "an assessment of alternative uses, including public safety use, of the frequencies used for such broadcasts; and the extent to which the commission has been or will be able to reduce the amount of spectrum assigned to licensees."

They say the initial DTV licenses were issued in February 1999, and that, as far as they know, the FCC has never undertaken that assessment.

"To respond adequately to the near-term shortage of available commercial wireless spectrum, the Wireless Broadband Proponents [CEA, CTIA and others] believe that the Commission should leave no stone unturned in its quest for identifying spectrum below 3 GHz for reallocation. As part of that effort, we respectfully request that, pursuant to Congress's mandate in Section 336(g) of the Communications Act, the FCC immediately begin a proceeding to investigate potential reallocation of broadcast spectrum."

The FCC is already under a congressional directive to conduct an inventory of available spectrum, including broadcast, with an eye to greater spectral efficiency.

The letter came a day after Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), former chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, warned about making broadcast spectrum reclamation part of the plan.