Congress has agreed on legislation that would authorize the FCC to pay TV broadcasters for underutilized broadcast spectrum and then resell it to wireless companies to help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband due to smartphones and tablets. The legislation that will be tucked into the payroll tax bill would set aside $7 billion in auction proceeds to be used build an interoperable nationwide network for public safety use.

This legislation also authorizes the FCC to create guard bands in the spectrum auctioned to wireless carriers that could be used for innovative unlicensed uses such as Super WiFi.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for more spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless Internet access.

The following comments can be attributed to Ed Black, CCIA President & CEO:

“Today’s agreement on unlicensed spectrum provides new ‘public opportunity’ airwaves for next generation innovation by tech entrepreneurs and will help meet the growing demand for wireless Internet access.

“We thank Representatives Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., Henry Waxman, D-Calif. and Darrell Issa, R-Calif. for their leadership on this issue as well as Senators Cantwell, Kerry, Moran, Rockefeller, Snowe and Warner.”

“Wireless capacity is important for future growth not just in the tech sector, but virtually every sector of our economy. The incentive auctions authorized today will deliver more bandwidth for commercial wireless services.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President Cathy Sloan:

“The FCC has estimated the demand for spectrum for wireless devices will dramatically grow over the next five years by 25 to 50 times what it is today. This additional spectrum is great news for wireless customers and all the businesses that depend on wireless broadband access.

“We are glad to see that the FCC will retain some discretion to assign licenses in the public interest and to prevent monopolization of licensed spectrum.”

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