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Senate Commerce Committee to Markup Radio Spectrum Inventory Act Next Week

The Senate Commerce Committee has slated a July 8 markup for the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act.

The bill was introduced by Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) back in March. It would give the FCC and National Telecommunications & Information Administration, which manages government spectrum, 180 days to report back to Congress with an inventory of the spectrum they manage and how it is being used.

That would include how much unlicensed use is allowed, how much spectrum is being used in each band, including the TV and radio bands.

NTIA and the FCC would also be required to create an online, "near real-time" database so the public could monitor any auction, transfer or change in allocation or assignment of frequencies.

If the bill passes, it will add to a burgeoning agenda of data collection obligations, both self-imposed and otherwise, for a commission the new chairman has pledged will be data-driven.

"Our public airwaves belong to the American people, and we need to make certain we are putting them to good use in the best interests of those citizens," said Kerry in introducing the bill.

There was some concern in broadcast circles that the effort might be the vanguard of an attempt to take spectrum away from broadcasters, but a Kerry spokesperson said back in March: "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."