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House Panel Launches Spectrum Working Group House Panel Launches Spectrum Working Group

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House Panel Launches Spectrum Working Group

As part of its continued efforts to find more spectrum to fuel the nation's wireless tech boom, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced the launch Wednesday of a bipartisan task force focused on helping the federal government use the nation's airwaves more efficiently.

The Federal Spectrum Working Group "will take a comprehensive, thoughtful, and responsible look at how to improve federal spectrum use as part of our ongoing effort to make the most efficient and effective use of the public's airwaves," said Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Walden and subcommittee ranking member Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said the working group would be co-chaired by Reps. Brett Guthrie and Doris Matsui, D-Calif. Other members of the group include Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga., Donna Christensen, D-V.I., Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Steve Scalise, R-La., and John Shimkus, R-Ill.

The working group will build on the initiatives included in the spectrum legislation passed in February as part of a payroll tax cut package. The legislation authorized the Federal Communications Commission to offer incentives to broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum to wireless providers and also called on the federal government to do more to free up some of the spectrum now used by federal agencies.

While pleased with the legislation, wireless industry officials have signaled that it was just a down payment and say they now have their eyes on trying get federal spectrum users to give up more of their airwaves.

"Spectrum is the key ingredient for faster, more ubiquitous wireless broadband, spurring unprecedented growth in new online applications and services," Eshoo said in a statement. "We need a comprehensive approach to spectrum policy, including an examination of how the federal government uses it."

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