Government agencies have resisted efforts to free up the 1755-1780 MHz bands, possibly because of complications that are sure to arise while repurposing that particular band of spectrum, which is largely used by government entities.
"Requiring the FCC to pair for auction the 1755-1780 band with the 2155-2180 band will bring more spectrum to the market and to consumers and raise $12 billion, most of which will go to the U.S. Treasury," Stearns argued in a statement.
Matsui agreed that it would be beneficial for all parties involved. "This bill is a win-win for consumers, and for American innovation,” she said.
The Stearns-Matsui bill would give the Department of Defense and other federal agencies that use the 1755-1780 MHz band five years to clear it. It would also reimburse costs associated with clearing the bands, such as necessary purchases of new equipment.
The FCC's National Broadcast Plan calls for clearing 500 MHz of new commercial spectrum in the next 10 years, and gives the FCC the authority to auction and reallocate both broadcast and government spectrum for commercial uses.