New Bill to Open 1,700 MHz Band Spectrum for Auction

Thu, 07/18/2013 - 2:27pm
Ben Munson

A new bill today emerging from the House would require the reallocation of the 1755-1780 MHz spectrum band for commercial use. The spectrum is intended to be paired with the 2155-2180 MHz spectrum band and then auctioned.

Named the “Efficient Use of Government Spectrum Act of 2013,” the bill was introduced by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Adam Smith (D-WA).

As expected, industry reaction to the new bill has been overwhelmingly positive.

CTIA CEO Steve Largent was quick to point toward the monetary benefits that the 1700 MHz band spectrum would contribute to an auction.

“As Congress and stakeholders in the Administration and the FCC discuss how to move forward, the Matsui-Guthrie approach offers a path that can deliver a win for government users and industry alike, and most importantly for taxpayers, since linking the 1755 to 1780 band with the upcoming auction of the 2155 to 2180 band is likely to produce substantially higher revenue than an unpaired auction of the 2155 to 2180 band,” Largent said.

Meanwhile, the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) applauded the bill in its potential to satisfy the need for more spectrum, calling it the “lifeblood of every carrier.” CCA also cheered the long-term benefit in funding FirstNet.

Not surprisingly, the carriers are also on board with putting more spectrum licenses on the auction block. Sprint issued a statement saying that it supports measure like this “which maximize the efficient use of the public airwaves.”

In June, the White House pledged $100 million in funding toward an initiative to free up more airwaves for commercial use. The federally held spectrum mentioned in the new bill is part of a 95 MHz swath the NTIA pointed out for reallocation. Another 120 MHz of spectrum could become available if the broadcast incentive auctions are given the go-ahead.



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