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BRAC the Spectrum, Illinois Republicans Suggest BRAC the Spectrum, Illinois Republicans Suggest

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Congress

BRAC the Spectrum, Illinois Republicans Suggest

October 14, 2011

A process similar to the Base Realignment and Closure procedure should be considered help to decide which federally owned spectrum might be auctioned off for use by the private sector and help reduce the federal deficit, suggest Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

The Illinois duo have informed Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex -- co-chairs of the so-called deficit reduction "super committee" - that they "wholeheartedly" agree with four of their deficit panel's own members who wrote last week to President Obama that selling off spectrum for commercial broadband use would generate revenue for the federal government, and create jobs.

"Unfortunately, it is largely unknown how exactly federal agencies and departments are using spectrum and which spectrum could be used more efficiently," write Kirk and Kinzinger.

But Kirk and Kinzinger say they have proposed legislation establishing a process "nearly identical" to the BRAC procedure to help sort all of this out. Under such a process, a commission is set up to make recommendations, and those would kick in unless Congress passes legislation to block it.

"Once a determination is made on which spectrum the government must vacate or share, the legislation calls on the FCC to auction such spectrum, which will raise funds for the relocation process and for deficit reduction," their letter says. "Our legislation would provide the telecommunications industry with a certain path forward to reliably clear spectrum for wireless advancements that will grow our economy and improve our international competitiveness."

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