Agencies Directed to Share Spectrum With Private Firms

Photo By: Mildred Pierce

Commerce Department officials are directing federal agencies to share some of their allotted airwaves with wireless companies, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The move comes after the department said it could cost the government $18 billion and take almost a decade to migrate federal agencies to new airwaves.

More than 20 agencies included in the proposal use the spectrum for around 3,100 assignments, according to the Journal.

The Defense Department utilizes its allotted frequency for air combat training systems and precision guided weapons.

The Commerce Department manages airwave traffic that federal agencies use.

The Federal Communications Commission supervises and auctions airwaves for commercial use.

The FCC and the Commerce Department have searched for solutions to meet the growing demand for spectrum, according to the Journal.

President Barack Obama’s 2010 directive instructed agencies to scrape 500 megahertz of spectrum to be auctioned off for commercial use within 10 years.

Congress also authorized FCC to give incentives to television stations in return for some of their spectrum.

Commerce officials are already advising federal agencies and wireless carriers to begin negotiations regarding sharing assignments.

Officials also said they will not release a formal recommendation regarding the auction of clear airwaves to FCC until both parties have reached a settlement, the Journal reports.

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