CommComm schedules spectrum markup


The Senate Commerce Committee is ready to order the FCC and NTIA to put on their green shade visors, sharpen their pencils and do an inventory of what’s where in the airwaves, assuming the Committee reports out S. 649, Radio Spectrum Inventory Act to the full body. In other news, the nominations of Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker to the FCC are apparently in the slow lane, and the Senate Judiciary Committee remains quiet when it comes to PRA.

S. 649 was introduced by John Kerry (D-MA) along with Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). It instructs the two agencies with communications responsibilities to account for spectrum use between 300 MHz and 3.5 GHz within 180 days of enactment and every two years from then on. It is one of five bills on the Committee’s agenda for 7/8/09.

Following that, on the same afternoon, the Commerce Committee will consider nominations for five individuals. We know that Clyburn and Baker are not in the fast lane because their names aren’t on the list. Those who are listed are all involved in things the move, including NASA, a maritime agency and two transportation agencies.

Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has said he’d like a hearing on the Performance Rights Act before the August break. So far, the only thing on the schedule after the July 4th break is a hearing on called “The Bowl Championship Series: Is it Fair and In Compliance with Antitrust Law?”

RBR/TVBR observation: The Radio Spectrum Act is utterly non-controversial. And if we’re reading it right, the bottom end of its range would include UHF television, but is to the north of both AM and FM radio and VHF television. Look for rapid passage. The clue is that the Committee has budgeted no more than 10 minutes to deal with all five bills before inviting the five nominees into the room.