Clinton Urges Govt. to Find Spectrum for 3G Wireless

On Friday, President Clinton issed a memo urging the Secretaries of State, Defence, and Commerce to work together to find portions of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be made available to the next generation of wireless Internet access.

Earlier this year, the U.S. took part in the World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 (WRC-2000). At his meeting, the participants tried to foster interoperability of 3G devices by identifying just a few areas of the spectrum that all 3G devices would use everywhere in the world.

The problem with this is, these portions of the spectrum are already being used in the United States by commercial telecommunications, TV, national defense, law enforcement, air traffic control, and other services. Similar difficulties exist in other parts of the world so there almost certainly will be a few preferred bands rather than a single band for 3G services.

However, the purpose for Pres. Clinton's memo from Friday is to urge U.S. government agencies to see what portions of the spectrum that were agreed on by the WRC-2000 can be made available for auction to companies to use for 3G services.

The Secretary of Commerce has been ordered to work cooperatively with the FCC to develop, by October 20, a plan to select spectrum and to issue, by November 15, an interim report on the current spectrum uses and potential for reallocation or sharing of the bands identified at the WRC-2000 so that the FCC can identify spectrum by July 2001, and auction licenses to competing applicants by September 30, 2002.

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