Google Counsel Praises Spectrum Inventory Bill

Google Telecom and Media Counsel Richard Whitt gave a shout-out to a bill that would inventory radio spectrum with an eye toward using it more efficiently and making sure it is not "denied" to innovators.

The bill was introduced by Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Republican Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

A Kerry spokesperson said that the bill was not an effort to pave the way for taking broadcasters' spectrum. "That is not the intent of the legislation. We are simply trying to get a clear sense of how the spectrum is currently being used," she said.

Whitt said in a blog posting Monday that a detailed accounting would be a "first step" toward "even greater" gains from the more efficient use of spectrum than those realized by the FCC's decision to open up the TV spectrum to unlicensed mobile devices, like laptops.

Broadcasters were strongly opposed to that decision, and have expressed concern that companies backing wireless Internet could be trying to make a grab for their spectrum.

"Often lost in the debate over how best to put our spectrum to use," said Whitt, "is the fact that these airwaves belong to the American public, not to any corporation or other entity," said Whitt. "But without a clear idea exactly whether and how these airwaves are being used, it is difficult to have an informed conversation about the best way to allocate and use spectrum efficiently for the needs of the American people."

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.