Within the next month, the Federal Communications Commission is slated to release a report outlining recommendations on wireless regulation drafted by the commissions Spectrum Policy Task Force, according to Bryan Tramont, senior legal adviser to FCC Chairman Michael Powell.
The report will be issued for public comment, Tramont told a group of telecommunications professionals last week at The Yankee Groups Telecom Industry Forum here. Spectrum allocation and wireless carrier licensing issues are top priorities for the commission at this time, he said.
The wireless industry lobbies continually for new spectrum, but the effort is steadily countered by the demands of the U.S. governments wireless users, particularly the Department of Defense, which is eager to retain the spectrum it holds. The tug of war also plays out on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are concerned that the United States is lagging behind Europe in wireless services deployment, Kevin Kayes, staff director of the Senate commerce committee, said at the forum.
Many in Congress were interested in introducing spectrum legislation during the past year, but the initiative was continually observed by the high-profile battle between incumbent telephone carriers and their rivals over access to the local network, Kayes said. In the next session of Congress, the industry should try to move beyond that age-old debate, he said.
Many lawmakers from rural states were frustrated this year by Congress inability to advance new methods of promoting broadband deployment beyond urban centers, according to Kayes. "The farm team is frustrated because theyre left out of this debate," he said.
An aide to the committees chairman, Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., Kayes speaks for the majority viewpoint in the narrowly divided Senate. He said the country should give more serious consideration to subsidizing widespread broadband deployment.