It is not an exaggeration to say that spectrum–the radio frequencies that connect wireless devices–is the lifeblood of many ITI companies. Our membership spans wireless and network equipment manufacturers, device and mobile hardware companies, and service and software providers, all of which provide mobile and wireless technologies. That is why we welcome a new spectrum discussion draft bill, the “MOBILE NOW Act,” which was recently released by the Senate Commerce Committee. This comprehensive draft legislation takes great strides toward creating new opportunities to utilize spectrum, and addresses many problems faced by ITI member companies and their partners who provide wireless and mobile services.
Since the release of the 2010 National Broadband Plan, one of the most referenced goals was to make 500 megahertz of spectrum available for wireless broadband by 2020. The Senate Commerce Committee’s draft legislation would enshrine that goal into law, and direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make that a reality.
Secondly, ITI has long supported the idea of an incentive auction for spectrum held by federal agencies. This draft legislation provides a bigger carrot for federal agencies than previous bills by offering them a larger share of the revenue raised by the auction of spectrum that they turn over. Furthermore, the draft proposal recognizes both the importance of unlicensed spectrum and the flexibility of the technology, and requires the FCC to find opportunities for greater unlicensed spectrum use in guard bands and duplex gaps.
Lastly, the draft bill addresses the issues that delay—or are problematic—to the deployment of broadband network infrastructure such as right of way access for equipment and tower placement, access to conduits, and a lack of information on the availability of federal government broadband facility assets. It is worth noting that this bill addresses many other important areas for promoting mobile broadband investment and innovation.
ITI previously identified issues such as better utilizing spectrum, addressing broadband infrastructure challenges, and promoting broadband investment as challenges we support addressing through Congressional action. These are all key factors for launching new technologies—including the Internet of Things—that will improve our lives, enhance our culture, and grow our economy. We applaud Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), and the Commerce Committee, for demonstrating leadership on these issues that are key to spurring innovation, and we look forward to working with them as this bill moves through the Congressional process.