Congressional task force to study government’s use of spectrum

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Eshoo said spectrum is the “key ingredient for faster, more ubiquitous wireless broadband," and said the government needs “a comprehensive approach to spectrum policy, including an examination of how the federal government uses it.”

The task force will build on changes to the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act that were included in the payroll tax package that Congress passed in February. Those changes allow federal agencies to use funds generated by spectrum auctions to pay for transitions to other spectrum, potentially freeing up airwaves for other uses.

Presently, the government’s spectrum holdings are managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency in the Commerce Department. Much of the government's spectrum is employed by military or intelligence agencies, but those agencies have been reluctant to detail how much they actually use on a regular basis.

Other members of the working group include Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and Rep. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands). Eshoo and Walden will serve as ex-officio members.