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Senate Committee Passes Spectrum Bill

The Senate Commerce Committee Thursday passed a spectrum-clearing bill that dealt with government users who are or will be giving up spectrum as the government looks to free it up for wireless broadband.

S. 3490, the Spectrum Relocation Improvement Act of 2010, which passed on a voice vote, now heads to the full Senate. It requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the agency that oversees federal spectrum, to provide more information to the public about its plans regarding reallocation of spectrum from federal to non-federal use.

The bill also covers relocation costs for federal spectrum users who give it up for commercial purposes, and sets a date certain for doing so.

The Obama administration has signaled its support for getting spectrum back from both federal users, like the Department of Defense, and commercial users like broadcasters, for wireless broadband.

CTIA: The Wireless Association, whose members will be in line for the reclaimed spectrum, was pleased. "We appreciate the leadership that Senators [John] Warner and [Roger] Wicker have shown on this issue," said CTIA President Steve Largent. "The Warner-Wicker legislation will make the spectrum relocation process more predictable and transparent, thereby producing a more efficient relocation process for all parties and advancing the broadband deployment goals we all share. We hope the full Senate will act on S. 3490 as soon as possible."