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Sen. Schatz Pushes for National Unlicensed Spectrum Plan

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has introduced the Promoting Unlicensed Spectrum Act, a bill that would create a "National Unlicensed Spectrum Strategy" and would require the FCC to "establish a process that will ensure that future spectrum allocation and assignment actions produce a balance between licensed and unlicensed bands."

That comes as the Senate Commerce Committee (Schatz is ranking member), prepares to consider a new bill, the Mobile Now Act, that charges the federal government with finding new spectrum to free up for wireless broadband

"As the Commerce Committee considers a strategy to expand a spectrum pipeline for the future, it is critical to ensure unlicensed spectrum is a central piece of our overall strategy," Schatz said in announcing the bill.

“We welcome the introduction of S. 2278, the Promoting Unlicensed Spectrum Act of 2015, legislation that recognizes the importance of unlicensed spectrum and the need for a focused national strategy that will help us keep up with skyrocketing consumer demand," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. "We look forward to working with Sen. Schatz and all members of the committee in advancing spectrum policy through a balanced approach that expands opportunities for both licensed and unlicensed users.”

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.