NTIA Press Releases
For Immediate Release
March 7, 2002
Contact: Clyde Ensslin or
Ranjit de Silva, 202-482-7002

U.S. Commerce Department Urges Quick FCC Action on Spectrum "Leasing"

The Commerce Department today urged the Federal Communications Commission to move promptly to permit leasing and eliminate other barriers to the development of secondary markets for spectrum.

"Spectrum is one of our most precious resources," said Commerce Secretary Don Evans. "We need to pursue market-based policies like secondary markets to maximize its use."

The scarcity of radio spectrum, especially for the deployment of new wireless technologies, makes it imperative that the FCC implement innovative ways to maximize spectrum use, said Nancy J. Victory, administrator of the department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in a letter to the FCC. Allowing a secondary market for spectrum is one such approach, she said.

"All Americans benefit tremendously from the convenience, efficiency, and safety associated with wireless services and technology," Victory said. "Leasing and other secondary market activities promise to increase spectrum efficiency by allowing radio frequencies to be used in ways that more closely follow changing demand," she said.

In order to take full advantage of the leasing process, Victory said, the FCC should maximize flexibility for these arrangements by minimizing governmental intervention. The Commerce Department advocated the following parameters for secondary market success:

    No registration or certification requirements for secondary users

    Licensees should retain ultimate responsibility for compliance with FCC rules

    Secondary users should be subject to same technical and service rules as licensee

    While aggregation limits remain, they should apply to secondary market arrangements

    Eligibility rules should apply to secondary market arrangements for now

"The time is ripe for the Commission to act," Victory said. However, in doing so, the commission should "refrain from micromanaging secondary market relationships, but rather set minimal rules of the road that impose ultimate responsibility on the licensee," she said.

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