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House Committee to Hold Radio Spectrum Inventory Act Markup Wednesday

The House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a markup
Wednesday (March 10) on the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act (HR 3125). That
is the bill that gives the FCC and the National Telecommunications &
Information Administration a year to inventory spectrum in commercial and
government hands and to evaluate how efficiently it is being used.

Bill backer Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) told broadcasters last
week that the FCC should not make any moves to try to get broadcasters to give
up some of their spectrum until that inventory has been completed.

The FCC and NTIA, the latter which oversees government
spectrum, will be required to explain and defend any recommendations for
spectrum reallocation.

A proposal to offer to compensate broadcasters for clearing
the band is part of the FCC's national broadband plan, FCC Chairman Julius
Genachowski has said. Broadcasters argue that they will need all their spectrum
for HD and their own advanced services like mobile DTV. They are also concerned
that the voluntary plan might eventually become mandatory. Boucher has said he
would not support that.

Cell phone inventor MartinCooper, who now runs a company that seeks to get more efficient use out of
current spectrum, has said he thinks that moving users off the band is not the
solution to getting more spectrum for wireless broadband, which is behind the
FCC's move to find 500 mHz of new spectrum for that purpose by 2020.