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CTIA Asks Obama to Budget for NTIA Spectrum Management

Cellular companies want to make sure the Obama administration budgets some folding money for the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to pay for "the process of identifying and clearing spectrum."

That came in a letter from CTIA: The Wireless Association President Steve Largent to President Obama Tuesday, according to a copy supplied by CTIA, whose members will get a chance to bid for the reclaimed spectrum in open auctions, according to the FCC's national broadband plan.

Largent asked the President to make sure the budgets for 2011 and 2012 include "the resources NTIA needs to accomplish the spectrum planning and management activities that will be critical to realization of the spectrum vision articulated in the National Broadband Plan."

The plan has the full backing of the White House, which gave NTIA an Oct. 1 deadline for producing a report to the President on the "plan and timetable" for getting back 500 Mhz over the next ten years from government and private users. The FCC, which will oversee the reclamation from commercial users including broadcasters, was "strongly encouraged" (it is an independent agency) to provide input on the report.

The FCC has already outlined its plan for reclaiming 300 Mhz of spectrum within five years as part of the National Broadband Plan, though the timetable for action items is subject to change.

A spokeswoman for CTIA said the reason it was targeting NTIA rather than also putting in a pitch for FCC implementation funding was that "NTIA is the one that has jurisdiction over the policy and planning that needs to get done." In this case, specifically the government spectrum NTIA is focused on.

She also said the timing was not based on the
release of the report, but the fact that the fiscal year in terms of the
administration's budget ends Sept. 30.