Request for Information: Agency Incentives to Share or Relinquish Spectrum

Building on an array of Administration initiatives to bolster America’s wireless leadership, today, the Office of Science and Technology Policy released a Request for Information seeking public input on ways to provide greater incentives to Federal agencies to relinquish spectrum for wireless broadband or other innovative commercial uses. OSTP issued the request on behalf of the White House Spectrum Policy Team—a White House-based team charged with supporting the implementation of the Administration’s ambitious agenda for expanding the availability of spectrum for innovative and flexible commercial uses to drive innovation, expand consumer services, and create jobs.  
 
The Request for Information follows last year’s Presidential Memorandum, Expanding America's Leadership in Wireless Innovation, which aims to promote more efficient use of spectrum by Federal agencies. Among other things, the memorandum directs the Spectrum Policy Team to make recommendations to the President on approaches that could give agencies greater incentive to share or relinquish spectrum, while protecting the mission capabilities of existing and future systems that rely on spectrum use. Via this Request for Information, the Spectrum Policy Team invites stakeholder input to inform the forthcoming recommendations.
 
As part of the Request for Information, the public is invited to comment on a report released today by the Science and Technology Policy Institute which surveys an array of proposed approaches to creating greater agency incentives, including recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology and a bipartisan legislative proposal now pending in the House of Representatives.  
 
As detailed in a report last year from the National Economic Council, Four Years of Broadband Growth, we know that private investment and smart policy have enabled the United States to become a world leader in the development and deployment of wireless technologies. The American public continues to reap the benefits of new and innovative uses of spectrum by both the private sector and Federal users. At the same time, increasing demand for spectrum requires new approaches to spectrum policy, including ensuring Federal agencies are able—and incentivized—to  share or relinquish spectrum in a cost-effective and timely manner, while protecting the mission capabilities of existing and future systems that rely on spectrum use. 
 
And we continue to move the Administration’s ambitious spectrum agenda forward. Federal agencies have made important progress to deliver on the President’s 2010 directive to find 500 MHz of spectrum held by Federal and nonfederal users that could be repurposed for wireless broadband Internet service within 10 years—nearly doubling the amount currently available. Agency efforts to date have allowed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration—the agency charged with managing Federal spectrum—to identify more than 400 megahertz of spectrum for potential reallocation. We look forward to continuing to deliver on the President’s ambitious spectrum strategy.
 
We invite stakeholders to offer concrete proposals that can inform the recommendations to be made to the President by the Spectrum Policy Team. The full Request for Information can be found here and the new report from the Science and Technology Policy Institute can be found here. Comments are due by March 20, 2014, and can be sent to publicaccess@ostp.gov.  We look forward to hearing from you!
 
Tom Power is U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Telecommunications
 

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