Press Releases

Senators Warner, Wicker introduce bill to improve future relocation of federal spectrum

~ Bill also promotes broadband deployment ~

Mar 09 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a bill today to promote broadband deployment by improving the process for future federal wireless spectrum auctions. The Spectrum Relocation and Improvement Act will address problems experienced under the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA) of 2004, which established a Spectrum Relocation Trust Fund enabling the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to recoup the costs of moving federal agencies from one spectrum band to another. Senators Warner and Wicker have spent the past year working with industry stakeholders and federal agencies on improvements to the auction process.

“Demand for mobile devices and services are expected to skyrocket over the next 5 to 10 years,” Senator Warner said. “This bill is one element of our strategy to make better use of spectrum - a finite resource - and keep America on the cutting-edge of wireless technology. The Spectrum Relocation and Improvement Act will better promote infrastructure investment and broadband deployment.”

“Access to more commercial spectrum remains critical to economic growth and job creation,” said Senator Wicker. “This bipartisan legislation would help better coordinate the involvement of federal agencies and commercial carriers in future spectrum auctions, removing unnecessary burdens on this important resource. With a more effective and efficient federal relocation process, our communities will more quickly benefit from further wireless development.”

Under CSEA authorization, the FCC raised almost $14 billion by auctioning federal spectrum at the 2006 Advanced Wireless Services auction. However, problems affecting two of 12 relocating agencies delayed build-out and deployment timetables for all carriers.

The Spectrum Relocation and Improvement Act will make the relocation process more transparent for federal agencies and future spectrum buyers by requiring agencies to share more information about their transition plans at the outset of the process. The legislation also creates a Technical Review Panel to assist agencies in developing efficient relocation plans and timelines, provides for spectrum sharing during the transition, and other measures to encourage greater federal disclosure which will provide the public with greater certainty about the availability of future spectrum resources.