White House Wants Better Use of Government Spectrum
The Obama Administration signed an order today mandating that federal agencies make more efficient use of the spectrum they own so that it can be shared with consumers. Obama has for years been seeking ways to free up 500MHz of spectrum that can be turned over to wireless network operators and used for mobile broadband. This latest effort is targeting government use of the country's airwaves. Sprint and AT&T were quick to laud the Administration's move. "Sprint appreciates the steps that President Obama and his Administration have taken today to help ensure that spectrum is used in the most efficient and effective ways possible," said Vonya B. McCann, senior vice president of Government Affairs at Sprint. "Every day, consumers, businesses, and government are relying more and more on wireless broadband services. A steady supply of new spectrum, along with continued improvements in technology and innovation, are key to providing those services." AT&T's Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs, said, "We commend the White House for recognizing the enormous progress in U.S. broadband deployment, wireless in particular, and for their commitment to meet the need for more spectrum so these investments can continue." Other wireless network operators have yet to comment publicly.
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Sprint / AT&T
FCC: Still Work to Do to Free Up More Spectrum
FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler underscored the need to find and free up more spectrum in a recent meeting with the Obama Administration. Wheeler met with Lawrence Strickling, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, to discuss the FCC's progress in finding 500 megahertz of spectrum for wireless broadband.
Senators Revive Wireless Innovation Act
A quintet of Senators recently re-introduced the Wireless Innovation Act of 2015, which asks the federal government to find 200 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband. The act was sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, Kelly Ayotte, Cory Gardner, and Ron Johnson.
Trump Administration Says No Plans for Government-Run 5G
The Trump administration today said it has no plans to build a 5G wireless network that might be run by the government. Unnamed White House officials confirmed the administration's position to Recode.
FCC Chairman Opposes Idea of Government-Run 5G Network
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today said he disagrees with national security advisors' idea that the government should take control of 5G. "I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network," said Pai in a statement.
AIRWAVES Act Would Have FCC Auction Off 5G Spectrum
A new bipartisan act proposed by Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania aims to ensure the licensed and unlicensed spectrum needed for 5G is available. The Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum, or AIRWAVES Act, explicitly suggests the government free up high-band spectrum via auction in order to lay the groundwork for 5G.