Testimony: Federal Government Spectrum Use

July 11, 2011

Testimony of The Honorable Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives: Federal Government Spectrum Use
Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Beginning with his June 2010 Executive Order, and more recently in the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative (also known as the National Wireless Initiative) announced in February of this year, President Obama has set forth a bold vision for spurring innovation, expanding economic growth and job creation, and preserving America’s global technology leadership, by doubling over the next ten years the amount of spectrum available for commercial wireless broadband.

With increased access to broadband, businesses will grow faster and create more jobs, students of all ages will have greater access to education and job training, and public safety officials nationwide will finally have access to state-of-the-art, secure, interoperable mobile communications. The end products of the President’s National Wireless Initiative promise to help grow the economy in several ways. First, valuable spectrum that is currently underutilized will be freed up through voluntary incentive auctions. Second, and perhaps most importantly, a decade after the attacks of September 11th, our nation’s first responders and other public safety service providers finally will have access to the modern communications system they need to help keep us all safe and secure. Finally, the President’s initiative also will yield important benefits for American taxpayers by reducing the deficit.

The National Wireless Initiative leverages the rollout of next generation, “4G” wireless technology that is now being deployed in the United States by several carriers, and that promises considerable benefits to virtually every corner of our economy and society. As much as 10 times faster than current high speed wireless services, 4G wireless technology will spur innovation in new and improved information devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, which in turn will spur increased economic growth and job creation in areas such wireless services, equipment and application. It will put cutting-edge broadband-driven capabilities – such as instantly downloading the floorplan of a burning building – into the hands of police, firefighters and other first responders, allowing them to more quickly and accurately assess and respond to emergency situations. By catalyzing private investment and innovation and reducing the deficit, this initiative will help the United States – its businesses, its students, its entrepreneurs and all its citizens — win the future and better compete in the 21st century economy.

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