NAB renews call for spectrum inventory

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Gordon SmithThe formation in Congress of the Federal Spectrum Working Group has inspired NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith to press the case for a full inventory of spectrum use in the USA. He wrote a letter to the co-chairs of the group, Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA).


He stated his realization that the group was focusing on federally-held spectrum, but said a comprehensive look at the full range of spectrum was called for, citing cell phone inventor Martin Cooper’s assertion that to some extent the “spectrum crisis” is a manufactured issue.

He said objective information is needed. “Press reports indicate significant warehousing and spectrum speculation by corporations that apparently have squatted on large swaths of spectrum rather than building out their networks,” he wrote. He also pointed out that calls for an inventory from key legislators, including Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) have been ignored.

He admitted that broadcasters are worried about the advent of incentive auctions.

Smith concluded, “As government moves forward with broadcast incentive auctions, NAB respectfully requests that Congress be vigilant in safeguarding the rights of our local TV viewers during the process and further suggests that all spectrum license holders be held accountable for their use of valuable airwaves. If this country is truly facing what many are calling a spectrum ‘crisis,’ then Congress should require a comprehensive inventory that details who is using spectrum today. Reasoned policy decisions cannot be honestly and earnestly debated without the facts.”