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Congress Wants Spectrum Accounting

'Inventory' bill sent to Senate

The Senate Commerce Committee wants Congress to get an inventory of how the nation’s spectrum is being used and managed — including AM and FM radio and TV — as well as get an idea of what spectrum remains unused.

The committee passed a measure backed by Communications Subcommittee Chairman Kerry, D-Mass., to have the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration report to Congress how much spectrum is used in each band and how, including what portions are licensed for use and what portions allow unlicensed use. The measure has been sent to the full Senate though it’s unclear when it would get on the calendar for a vote.

The agencies would need to create a database so the public could keep track of auctions or changes in frequency allocations or assignments.

Dow Jones reports the administration supports the measure as officials consider the lack of available wireless airwaves a barrier to widespread mobile Internet access, a priority for President Barack Obama. A companion bill was introduced in the House last week.