Eshoo, Issa Tell FCC To Stay the Unlicensed Course

Argue Legislation Requires Enhanced Access To Unlicensed Spectrum

Two House members representing high-tech consituents have urged the Federal Communications Commission to stay the course when it comes to freeing up more unlicensed spectrum via the incentive spectrum auctions.

That came in a letter Tuesday from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee, and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. 

They point out that the legislation implementing the auctions also included "enhanced access" to unlicensed spectrum.

"[T]he commission should implement the incentive auction and resulting reorganization of the band in a manner that optimizes the value of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum access," they wrote, saying they support the FCC's Sept. 28 incentive auction framework proposal of using guard bands between spectrum users for unlicensed devices.

They also cited several examples of the public benefits of unlicensed, including progress in opening the so-called "white spaces" between current TV channels the FCC has opened up to unlicensed use.

The letter came a day before the House Communications Subcommittee is holding a hearing on spectrum and the incentive auctions. In the majority staff memo for that hearing, Republicans were critical of unlicensed spectrum set-asides, arguing that it was giving away spectrum that could be auctioned. "Giving away large swaths of spectrum for unlicensed use could deprive public safety officials and taxpayers of billions of dollars," they wrote.