Radio Spectrum Inventory Act clears House vote

House lawmakers on Wednesday easily approved a bill that would require federal officials to take stock of the country's occupied and available radio spectrum.

The effort, led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), cleared the lower floor on a 394-18 vote, with only Republicans opposing the legislation.

A version of that proposal spearheaded by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) is still pending action in the Senate.

Waxman's bill, which cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee he chairs unanimously last month, would require the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to study radio spectrum and report back elements of it that remain under-utilized.

The goal is to "make better use of spectrum frequencies through sharing and reallocation and will encourage both innovation and competitiveness," Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), one of the legislation's sponsors, wrote in a post to The Hill's Congress Blog. 

"The communications industry affects nearly every aspect of our lives, our communities, and our society," Boucher wrote. "New technologies, devices, and services shape how we participate in the public debate, share our stories, keep in touch with family and friends, and enhance our understanding of the increasingly interconnected world around us."