McDowell: NTIA Report Suggests Executive Branch Resists Relinquishing Spectrum

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FCC commissioner Robert McDowell pressed the White House Thursday to get serious about freeing up more government spectrum for wireless broadband. Broadcasters have also called for the government to do its part even as it pressures broadcasters to give up their spectrum.

McDowell, speaking to Telecom equipment vendors and providers at the TIA 2012 Conference in Dallas Thursday, said executive branch agencies did not provide data to support the "assumptions and conclusions" of a recent National Telecommunications & Information Administration report on availability of government spectrum.

"The thrust of the report seems to indicate that the Executive Branch is going to resist relinquishing more spectrum," he said, according to a copy of his speech.

McDowell said that the government is sitting on 60% of the "best" spectrum. "Federal users have no incentive to move off of this prime real estate but do have an incentive to keep the rest of us in the dark about how much it really would cost to move them and how long that task would really take."

He called on the Obama Administration to rectify that. "I therefore respectfully reiterate my call for the West Wing of the White House to demand that Executive Branch agencies redouble their efforts to find spectrum to bring to auction by a date certain."

That was part of a four-point plan he said would help speed mobile broadband deployment and use. The other three were to implement new incentive auction law with "humility, simplicity and regulatory restraint," speed its reviews of "secondary spectrum deals," (that would include the current review of the Verizon/SpectrumCo. sale, though he made no mention of that deal since it is currently before the commission); and look at waiver requests for interoperable public safety LTE networks on a case-by-case basis.

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