For many lawmakers and administration officials, the idea of a spectrum shortfall is settled doctrine. The talk in Washington is less about whether mobile broadband providers will need more capacity to meet the exploding use of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices.
Count among those Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who have introduced a revamped version of spectrum reform legislation that they backed in the last Congress.
The so-called RADIOS Act would require the agencies that manage government and commercial spectrum to conduct an inventory of current allocations, and give the Federal Communications Commission the authority it would need to shift spectrum away from TV broadcasters to wireless providers through a series of incentive auctions.
That plan has caught the attention of the primary broadcaster trade group, which has vowed to oppose any effort to coerce its members into giving up their spectrum. Most recently, the group has prevailed on the leaders of the House and Senate commerce committees to evaluate companies such as Dish Network and Time Warner Cable, which it claims are hoarding spectrum that could be used to alleviate the mobile broadband crunch, real or perceived.
Datamation takes a look at the latest spectrum maneuvering in Washington.