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Strickling Soloing at Govt. Spectrum Hearing

Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, will be the single witness at a July 6 House Communications Subcommittee hearing on government spectrum reclamation efforts.

The NTIA, which oversees government spectrum use, and the FCC, which oversees commercial use, were charge by the National Broadband Plan, and later by the Obama administration, with finding and freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum for broadband repurposing.

The committee has held several hearings on commercial -- primarily broadcaster -- spectrum repurposing, but now wants to hear about what the government is doing.

As part of a "fast-track" spectrum review mandated by the administration, NTIA has already identified 115 MHz of spectrum that could be freed up within five years. It also has a 10-year plan to look at 2,200 MHz worth in which to find more of that 500 MHz.

Among the questions the Republican majority want answered, according to a briefing memo, include a realistic time frame for clearing spectrum, what government spectrum is best for sharing, what factors delay the availability of government spectrum for commercial auction, and whether there are some government spectrum operations that should be privatized.

Among their concerns are the history of some government spectrum that was auctioned, then failed to be cleared by the date given the commercial entities that bid and planned for use based on those government deadlines.

The memo points out that T-Mobile bid $4.2 billion on AWS (advanced wireless) spectrum from the Defense Department and Drug Enforcement Agency that got hung up and prevented bidders from getting the benefits of the spectrum when they were promised, and could discourage future bidding.