Genachowski States FCC and NTIA Will Inventory Spectrum

July 14, 2010. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski sent a letter to Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC), regarding an inventory of the use of spectrum by licensees and users.

Genachowski sent a substantially identical letter to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Sen. Rockefeller and Sen. Kerry sent a letter to Genachowki on May 28, 2010, in which they urged the FCC "to immediately begin a comprehensive inventory of the use of radio spectrum by non-federal government licensees and users under the" FCC's jurisdiction.

Julius GenachowskiGenachowski (at left) wrote in the instant letters that "In order to move as expeditiously as possible in response to your request, I have already met with Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling. We discussed our mutual commitment to spectrum policy that meets our nation's forward-looking needs. More specifically, we agreed to coordinate intergovernmental efforts to generate a comprehensive spectrum inventory."

He added that "we have conducted work that provides a foundation for a spectrum inventory", such as the creation of a "Spectrum Task Force", and the institution of a "Spectrum Dashboard".

FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker also issued a statement. "I am very pleased the Chairman has indicated his intention to proceed with an inventory of commercial spectrum in the US. I fully support this important initiative. I believe a comprehensive commercial spectrum inventory is critical to the development of spectrum policies to drive innovation, investment and deployment of state-of-the art-wireless networks and technologies in the coming years."

Meredith BakerBaker (at right) continued, "I also hope that the inventory can be completed as quickly as possible and form the foundation for a comprehensive spectrum database. I will seek to ensure that the inventory's outputs are coordinated with and useful to other government agencies and especially that they are easily accessible to potential innovators and entrepreneurs."

Legislation. There is pending legislation in Congress that would require the FCC and NTIA to conduct a spectrum inventory. See, HR 3125 [LOC | WW] and S 649 [LOC | WW], both titled the "Radio Spectrum Inventory Act".

The SCC amended and approved one version on July 8, 2009. The SCC approved another version on March 9, 2010. See, story titled "Senate Commerce Committee Reports Radio Spectrum Inventory Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,059, March 19, 2010. However, the full Senate has not passed a bill.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and others introduced the House bill on July 8, 2009. See,  story titled "Representatives Introduce Spectrum Inventory Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,968, July 9, 2009. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet amended and approved HR 3125 on January 21, 2010. See, story titled "House Communications Subcommittee Approves Spectrum Bills" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,038, January 25, 2010. The full HCC amended and approved the bill on March 10, 2010. See, story titled "House Commerce Committee Approves Radio Spectrum Inventory Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,059, March 19, 2010. The House passed the bill on April 14, 2010. See, story titled "House Passes Radio Spectrum Inventory Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,078, April 15, 2010.

The Senate has not passed the House bill.

Sen. Rockefeller and Sen. Kerry wrote in their May 28 letter that "despite our repeated attempts to pass the bill through the full Senate, we remain at a stalemate."

That is, proponents of the concept have tried, but failed, to pass a spectrum inventory bill. Consequently, proponents now employ the FCC in one of its primary functions -- acting as the agent of members of the Congress and the President when the Congress does not act in the Constitutionally specified manner.

White Spaces. In addition, Sen. Kerry wrote to Genachowski on June 14 urging the FCC to "move expeditiously to conclude the TV white spaces proceeding". Also, Baker gave a speech [4 pages in PDF] the next day in which she urged the FCC to conduct a spectrum inventory and conclude it white spaces proceeding. See, stories titled "Sen. Kerry and Sen. Snowe Write FCC Regarding White Spaces" and "Baker Addresses White Spaces" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,095, June 16, 2010.

Genachowski's July 14 letter does not address white space spectrum.