FCC's O'Rielly Pitches Hill on Government Spectrum Fee

Rep. Michael O'Rielly has told the Hill that it should levy a spectrum fee on government users as a way to insure they use that valuable resource effectively.

That came in a letter to new House communications Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) this week.

Blackburn's first subcommittee hearing as chair was on the reauthorization of the National Telecommunications &Information Administration, which oversees government spectrum users as the FCC does private users.

Blackburn has said that insuring efficient government use is a priority for the subcommittee as part of reauthorization, and O'Rielly was all for it.

He suggested that the subcommittee look closely at enacting an Agency Spectrum Fee as a way to improve efficiency, and, by imposing a cost to holding on to it, even a conservative one, could serve as an "appropriate and necessary stick" that would keep them from sitting on valuable spectrum real estate unless it
was mission critical.

He did not take credit for the idea--which was explored by an NTIA spectrum advisory committee, though as a Hill staffer he has experience with coming up with reauthorization priorities.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.