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Deficit panel pushes for federal spectrum auctions

Mon, 10/10/2011 - 8:00am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Four members of the super committee charged with cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit have asked President Obama to help free up federal spectrum for auction.

In a letter sent Friday by Michigan Republican Congressman Fred Upton and Massachusetts Democrat Sen. John Kerry, Obama was asked to spur efforts to reallocate government spectrum for wireless services. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) also signed on to the request.

"We should put every effort into making available paired, internationally harmonized spectrum below 3 GHz in sufficient block sizes to support mobile broadband services within the next 10 years," the lawmakers wrote. They asked the president to respond to their request by Oct. 14.

The lawmakers also support auctioning off more television broadcast spectrum. Funds from spectrum auctions could be used to help reduce the government's deficit.

The request could get a friendly reception at the White House. Obama said last February he wants to free up an additional 500 MHz for mobile broadband services.

CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent lauded the committee's bipartisan letter.

"Access to repurposed federal spectrum below 3 gigahertz will greatly enhance the wireless industry's ability to continue to lead the world in wireless broadband deployment and serve as a catalyst for economic growth," Largent said.

The Consumer Electronics Association also welcomed the announcement.

"While we believe voluntary incentive auctions are a strong first step to addressing the looming spectrum crunch, we also strongly support review and reallocation of underutilized government spectrum," CEA government and regulatory affairs executive Michael Petricone said.

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