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John D. Rockefeller IV

Genachowski Announces Creation of Spectrum Data Inventory

in FCC/Spectrum/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2010-The Federal Communications Commission will increase its transparency by overseeing the creation of a spectrum inventory that includes users and license holders, agency Chairman Julius Genachowski told senators in a Thursday letter.

Last May, Senators John D. Rockefeller and John Kerry asked Genachowski and the FCC to create a comprehensive database of spectrum users and licensees. Genachowski’s Thursday reply said that the FCC is now taking an inventory of all spectrum users and licensees.

Genachowski also referred the senators to the Spectrum Dashboard (http://reboot.fcc.gov/reform/systems/spectrum-dashboard), which was launched with the National Broadband Plan in March. The website gives public access to information about spectrum bands, license-holder information, mapping tools, and data downloads. Since March, the site has gotten 125,000 hits, and increases transparency while providing important facts to consumers and businesses.

In addition to the Dashboard, the FCC has a Spectrum Task Force, which is a cross-agency working group tasked with coordinating spectrum activity. They are also responsible for seeing that the FCC is on-task to achieve spectrum policy goals and developing methods of measuring and utilizing spectrum.

Genachowski also wants to ensure that spectrum is sufficient to support growing mobile broadband applications. He said mobile broadband will spur economic growth and job creation as new networks and technologies emerge.

Genachowski said that all of these actions converge into one plan that will increase the transparency of spectrum allocation and utilization.

His pledge to establish a comprehensive spectrum data inventory has received support, including a statement from Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who urged quick action on the inventory. She also pledged her support to coordinating spectrum efforts between governmental agencies and making sure that the inventory would be easily accessible to consumers and businesses.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn Files Latest Anti-Net Neutrality Bill

in Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2009 – This week Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., added to the growing number of network neutrality-related bills when she filed legislation that would ban the Federal Communications Commission from regulating internet access, as proposed last week by Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Blackburn’s measure, H.R. 3924, is intended “to prohibit the FCC from further regulating the Internet.”

In a statement, she said FCC rules “ironically would make the Internet less neutral by allowing the FCC to regulate it in the same way it regulates radio and television broadcasts.”

She said is concerned that potential rules would decrease the Internet’s efficiency, interrupt the flow of free ideas and information, and hurt the ability of industry to protect intellectual property online. The Blackburn bill currently has 19 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Also, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had introduced legislation, S.1836 on October 22 that would prevent further FCC regulation of the Internet. In a statement, he said that the “government takeover of the Internet will stifle innovation, in turn slowing our economic turnaround and further depressing an already anemic job market.” He said the wireless industry exploded over the past 20 years due to limited government regulation – but has been hurt recently by state and federal regulations. McCain’s measure has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

From the opposite perspective, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., remains a vocal supporter of the network neutrality concept. “The Internet enables innovation without permission, and we need to ensure that special interests cannot erect toll booths on the information superhighway that impede the innovation that has helped power our economy and create jobs,” he said this month.

Markey filed pro-Net neutrality legislation, H.R.3458, in July. Markey’s bill has eight cosponsors, including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Waxman, along with Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John D. (“Jay”) Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., sent a letter this month in support of the FCC’s proposed rules.

In September, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., a co-author of Markey’s legislation, voiced support for the FCC’s plan to go ahead with the rules. She noted in a statement that the area she represents, Silicon Valley, “has a long history of support for open networks.” She said she was one of the first House members to introduce net neutrality legislation in the House.

Other lawmakers continue to weigh in on the net neutrality debate without legislation. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, the Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said in a statement on October 23 that she was concerned about how the FCC’s proposed rules could impact the investment incentives and decisions of small rural communications providers.

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