Four members of the super committee urged President Obama in a letter Friday to consider freeing up government spectrum for mobile broadband use.
They asked him to direct the Office of Management and Budget to “to make more efficient use of federal government spectrum and reallocate some of it for commercial broadband use.”
Signers included House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
They also endorsed incentive spectrum auctions as a way to free up airwaves. That proposal, which requires congressional approval, would offer cash to TV stations if they close their broadcasting businesses, selling their assigned frequencies to the wireless industry. Obama supports this proposal.
But the lawmakers said those auctions alone will not freeup enough airwaves for mobile companies, whose networks are clogged with traffic from data-hogging smart phones and tablets.
“While we believe voluntary incentive auctions are a strong first step to addressing the looming spectrum crunch, we also strongly support review and reallocation of underutilized government spectrum,” they said.
Broadcasters have serious concerns about spectrum auctions, but have said they can support them as long as stations are not forced to participate.
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