Wireless connections have become increasingly integral to Americans’ lives. They form the basis of entire sectors of the economy in urban and suburban areas while also providing an economically viable means of broadband service in rural areas. Ensuring the marketplace for spectrum licenses works efficiently to drive frequencies to their most productive use is a central piece in any policy framework that seeks to sustain and grow the wireless ecosystem. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Commission’s efforts to encourage efficient partitioning, disaggregation, and leasing of spectrum. The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice or FNPRM) is, in concept, a laudable step toward increased spectrum productivity, but some details of the Further Notice are at odds with the best possible outcomes the proposal could deliver.
ITIF’s comments make the following points:
- Incentivizing secondary-market transactions is critical to spectrum productivity.
- Limitations on Program participants could limit ECIP’s effectiveness.
- Limitations on qualifying transactions would undermine ECIP’s goals.
- The Commission is right to reevaluate build-out requirements.
ITIF supports the FCC’s efforts to grease the wheels of the secondary market for spectrum rights and heartily agrees with the Commission’s evaluation that the proposal “will reduce regulatory burdens with less frequent renewal obligations and will properly incentivize secondary market transactions.” The Commission should commit to the productivity-enhancing nature of dynamic spectrum markets by declining to adopt those proposals that would reduce the number of beneficial transactions ECIP could otherwise deliver.