Press Release Spectrum Reform

Phillip Berenbroick to Testify Before House Energy and Commerce to Increase Spectrum Pipeline

October 6, 2015 , , ,

Public Knowledge Government Affairs Counsel Phillip Berenbroick will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Wednesday, October 7 at 10:15 a.m. His testimony in the hearing on “Improving Federal Spectrum Systems” will support increasing the amount of spectrum available to create a robust pipeline that helps promote competition, deploy broadband, and foster innovation throughout America. He will also advocate for the importance of including unlicensed spectrum in the bands that are cleared.

The following may be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Government Affairs Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Public Knowledge supports policy initiatives that enable Federal users to accomplish their critical missions in a manner that also maximizes opportunities for spectrum sharing or relocating Federal users to enhance spectrum availability for commercial competition and innovation.

“If done thoughtfully and in collaboration with Congress, the agencies, and other stakeholders, creative solutions to increase spectrum availability have the opportunity to be a rare ‘win-win-win’ in public policy. We can free up spectrum for mobile broadband to meet the increasing demand on wireless networks; we can encourage more efficient Federal use of scarce public services; and we can expand the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed uses like next-generation Wi-Fi networks.

“Unlicensed spectrum has democratized Internet access and encouraged permissionless innovation, and its value to the U.S. economy is estimated to exceed $220 billion annually. Unlicensed uses of spectrum include more than just Wi-Fi. Unlicensed frequencies are open for any person and any device to use, for any legal purpose. Uses include cordless phones and baby monitors, Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”) to make mobile payments, pay tolls on the highway, tracking baggage in transit, and enabling the Internet of Things.

“Given the enormous benefits of unlicensed spectrum, any legislative effort to increase the licensed spectrum pipeline should also expand the amount of spectrum made available for license-exempt use. To open up even more spectrum for unlicensed use, Congress should consider opportunities to allow for unlicensed sharing of bands where Federal users reside, ranging from a cut for unlicensed, or Wi-Fi dividend, as FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel describes it, to the FCC examining the possibility of an unlicensed underlay, while establishing mechanisms to protect critical bands and prevent interference.

“Public Knowledge supports the goals of the Subcommittee’s discussion draft legislation, the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2015, that would lay the groundwork for the FCC to engage in long-term planning on how it would relocate Federal users from various spectrum bands, auction the cleared spectrum, and balance between licensed and unlicensed use. The future of spectrum is the future of innovation in America, and Public Knowledge welcomes the opportunity to work with Congress to get it right.”

You may view the testimony here.