The Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act authorizes broadcasters and other spectrum licensees to voluntarily return unused portions of the airwaves. The freed-up spectrum would be re-auctioned for commercial wireless broadband use in exchange for a portion of the proceeds through “incentive auctions.” The bill now heads to Senate floor.
It has been to goal of Congress to establish a national emergency interoperable communications system for first responders, ever since the events of 9/11 exposed the weaknesses in the system. A new bill will address that issue, and provide for the voluntary auction of spectrum by willing TV stations. NAB was conditionally pleased with the bill.