Sens. Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.) today introduced the Government Spectrum Valuation Act of 2018, which would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in coordination with the FCC and the Office of Management and Budget, to annually determine the value of spectrum assigned to government agencies.
Under the bill, agencies would have to report the value of their spectrum in the president’s budget and in financial statements.
“Congress has a clear responsibility to ensure that federal spectrum is being managed effectively and appropriately,” Sen. Lee said. “One of the first steps to conducting effective oversight is assessing the value of federal spectrum allocations. By simply calculating the value of federal spectrum allocations, Congress and the Administration will be better equipped to identify valuable federal spectrum bands and manage each federal spectrum allocation more efficiently.”
“Spectrum is the oxygen of the wireless world, ensuring American consumers and companies enjoy all of the benefits of this Internet of Things economy,” said Sen. Markey. “It’s a simple formula: more available spectrum equals more competition and innovation. But you cannot effectively manage what you have not measured, and this legislation will finally ensure the public knows the value of spectrum held by the federal government so we can ensure it is being put to the best use.”
The wireless industry and others have supported an assessment of the value of spectrum used by federal agencies, but agencies often argue that such valuations don’t fully account for the importance of their frequency assignments to their missions and the nation.
“I applaud Senators Lee and Markey for introducing the ‘Government Spectrum Valuation Act of 2018,’” FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly said in a statement. “As I have previously stated, requiring U.S. Government agencies to put a market price on their spectrum holdings will fix a budgetary anomaly and promote overall spectrum efficiency by incentivizing each agency to release unneeded spectrum. It’s an idea whose time has come and has generated diverse support, including from my colleague, Commissioner Rosenworcel.”
An aide to Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel noted that she “has been calling for a uniform system of valuation for federal spectrum assignments and incentives for federal repurposing for many years. It is just smart policy.”
“CTIA commends Senators Lee and Markey for their bipartisan leadership in introducing the Government Spectrum Valuation Act,” said Kelly Cole, senior vice president-government affairs for CTIA. “We need this kind of innovative approach to spectrum management to meet our country’s growing data needs. By determining the market value of federal spectrum, Congress and the Administration will be better equipped to manage the government's spectrum bands and ensure this valuable taxpayer resource is being put to its highest and best use.”
Ed Black, president and chief executive officer of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, said, “Spectrum is critical in the race to 5G. Next generation 5G broadband networks will require additional spectrum for uses that will power innovation and U.S. competitiveness. Yet much of it is held by the public sector – the federal government. It is important that federal agencies properly account for their holdings of large swaths of public airwaves. We commend Senators Lee and Markey for attempting to clear the air and promote higher-value uses of spectrum.”- Paul Kirby, [email protected]
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