On Thursday, June 12, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Wireless Innovation Act to reallocate spectrum used by the federal government for commercial wireless services, ensure greater transparency and accountability of the federal government’s spectrum use, and promote wireless innovation and deployment. A member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Rubio first discussed his wireless agenda during an event at 1776 yesterday.
“The use of wireless broadband and Internet connected devices has caused an explosion of economic growth and innovation that was previously unimagined, and wireless traffic is projected to grow exponentially in the years ahead. In order to meet that demand and ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the world in wireless innovation and technology, we must ensure that the federal government uses its spectrum in an efficient and responsible manner, and we must free up additional spectrum for commercial use."
The bill provides incentives for federal agencies to reallocate spectrum by allowing portions of the proceeds to be made available for advance planning and enhanced efficiency, including research and development and cost and technical assessments on future reallocation of additional spectrum. It also promotes secondary spectrum markets by expediting the FCC review period for routine license transfers.
The bill also provides for more oversight from the federal government by requiring an analysis to review agency requests for new or modified frequency assignments for a wireless service, including whether commercial services could be used instead of new frequencies and whether the frequency could be shared with another agency.
“This legislation accomplishes both goals by directing NTIA to reallocate federal spectrum for commercial use," Rubio continued. "The Wireless Innovation Act will also provide transparency on the use and value of federal spectrum and inform the public on how federal entities use a scarce public resource. Passing the Wireless Innovation Act will grow our economy and ensure that consumers continue to enjoy the benefits of wireless technology.”
In our ever changing and interconnected world, it is important for the government to maintain and oversee a free and easily accessible network. With the recent revelations by Edward Snowden and the NSA spying controversy, it will be interesting to see if these goals can be met and still maintain at least some level of personal freedom.