House panel to examine turning over government airwaves to private sector

"The subcommittee will continue to examine how both federal agencies and commercial wireless carriers might benefit from more efficient government use of spectrum," subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said in a statement Tuesday announcing the hearing. "As the single largest spectrum user, the federal government could save taxpayers money and make more frequencies available to meet American consumers’ growing demand for mobile broadband services.” 

He did not announce a witness list or say when the sub-panel will hold the hearing. Congress is on recess until September. 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Communications and Technology subcommittee formed a working group in April to examine the federal government's use of the airwaves, known as spectrum. Walden said the lawmakers decided to move forward with a hearing after "a series of highly informative" meetings.

Blocks of spectrum are reserved for a variety of government uses, including military operations and the monitoring of weather patterns.