H.R. 3125: Radio Spectrum Inventory Act

H.R. 3125

Radio Spectrum Inventory Act

Sponsor
Rep. Henry A. Waxman

Date
April 14, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3125 on April 14, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 3125 was introduced on July 8, 2009, by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). The Committee on Energy and Commerce ordered the bill to be reported by voice vote on March 10, 2010.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3125 would require the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct an inventory of the license holders and users of certain frequencies of the radio broadcast spectrum. The agencies would be required to complete the inventory within one year of enactment and make the results available to the public on the Internet.

Specifically, the bill requires the inventory to determine: the identity of spectrum users; radio services authorized to operate in each band of frequencies; the geographic area covered by each license; the number of radio frequency devices authorized to operate in each band of frequency; the extent to which each band of frequency is used; and the activities, capabilities, functions or missions supported by the devices in each band of frequency.

The bill also requires the NTIA and FCC to report to Congress with a determination of which blocks of radio spectrum should be reallocated or made available for shared-access, with an explanation of the basis for the recommendations.

H.R. 3125 permits a federal agency to withhold certain information if it determines that disclosure would be detrimental to national security, homeland security or public safety. The agency would, however, be required to provide a summary of the information being withheld, include the information for Congress to review, and provide a description of the activities, functions or missions supported by the information. The bill also requires the NTIA and the FCC to consult with the National Security Council before the inventory information is released to determine if any additional information should be withheld from the public.

 

Background

There has been no systematic attempt to understand how airwaves are being used to date. Some broadband advocates claim that while telecommunications companies hold licenses to use large swaths of cellular bands, a national inventory would lead to greater unlicensed used of the spectrum for wireless broadband.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that H.R. 3125 would increase net discretionary spending by $16 million over five years.