Google Urges National Inventory of Radio Spectrum

Hugh Pickens writes “Google, the wireless industry, and consumer advocates have come together to support a bill that would require the federal government to take a complete inventory of the national airwaves to determine what spectrum is being used, how it is being used and who is using it. The government needs to clean up its sloppy record keeping, they say, or the US risks running out of wireless capacity with the increasing use of the mobile Internet. ‘Radio spectrum is a natural resource, something that here in the US is owned by all of us American citizens,’ wrote Richard Whitt, Google’s counsel for telecom and media. ‘Most of us don’t give it much thought — and yet use of these airwaves is precisely what makes many of our modern communication systems possible.’ The new law, if passed, would require the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to report on the use of all spectrum bands between 300 megahertz and 3.5 gigahertz, including information on the licenses or government user operating in each band and whether the spectrum is actually in use. The unusual alliance between Google, public interest groups, and big telecommunications companies may be temporary. The telecom companies want to have the opportunity to buy any extra spectrum at an auction while Google advocates the use of new technologies that would allow the spectrum to be shared by whoever needs it.”

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