Groups want White House to accelerate spectrum release

The Information Technology Industry Council along with CTIA and the High Tech Spectrum Coalition sent a letter to the White House on Monday, asking the administration to "accelerate the transition of government-owned spectrum to the private sector."

Last year the administration launched the National Wireless Initiative (NWI), which was meant to bring wireless broadband to 98 percent of households. But NWI goals can only be reached by clearing bands of government-held spectrum, the groups said.

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"If policymakers do not act in the short-term to clear additional spectrum for licensed mobile broadband use, our country’s networks will become increasingly strained, and the U.S. hold on mobile broadband leadership will start to wane,” they wrote.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has already announced plans to clear spectrum that is currently used by the government so that it can be auctioned off. But the groups say those plans are too far off and use too little spectrum.

The groups also say that adding 300 MHz of new spectrum for mobile broadband by 2016 would help create between 300,000 to 770,000 new jobs.

"At a time when Americans are concerned about jobs, the economy, and U.S. competitiveness, the act of identifying and clearing more spectrum for licensed mobile broadband use offers a rare elixir for all three," they said.

A spokesman for NTIA, the agency responsible for government use of spectrum, said they "continue to make progress in implementing President Obama’s ambitious spectrum agenda, including the goal of nearly doubling the amount of commercial spectrum this decade."

"We welcome the recent announcements from stakeholders in the wireless industry that signal a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead when it comes to putting our limited spectrum resources to their most productive use for the benefit of American businesses, consumers and the economy,” he said.