updated 11:25 pm EDT, Thu April 26, 2012
Bipartisan bill would put 1.75GHz space in auction
A newly proposed Congressional bill on Thursday would set the terms to shift government frequencies to the private world. Known as the Efficient Use of Government Spectrum Act, it would demand that the FCC include airwaves between 1,755MHz and 1,780MHz in the same auction as one covering the 2,155MHz to 2,180MHz space. If passed, the bill would give the related government agencies five years to get their equipment off the network.
Proposed as a bipartisan effort between California Democrat Doris Matsui and Republican Cliff Stearns, it was characterized as a "win-win." It could help raise a total of $12 billion through the auction even as it widened the bandwidth for cellular networks.
Pro-carrier advocacy groups like the CTIA complimented the bill as keeping the US the "world's leader" in cellular technology. Smaller carriers and citizen groups haven't commented so far, although the auction may raise some concerns. Typically, larger carriers like AT&T and Verizon snap up auction space through their sheer financial resources while Sprint, T-Mobile and regional carriers can often get little if any extra space.
Adding the new frequencies would mostly help current and upcoming LTE networks. AT&T and Verizon have both been aiming to get more spectrum in the higher end to compliment their existing 700MHz bands.