Legislation would raise revenue for federal agencies that relinquish underutilized spectrum for commercial use

Washington (March 26, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today introduced the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, legislation that offers new incentives for federal agencies to relinquish underutilized spectrum for commercial mobile broadband services. Representatives Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. The bill allows for federal agencies to share a portion of the proceeds generated by an auction of relinquished spectrum.

“Spectrum is the oxygen of the wireless ecosystem, but the surging growth in today’s data-intensive devices and applications is leaving our mobile economy gasping for air,”said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  “As demand for wireless devices and services increases, so does the need for additional spectrum for commercial use. The Federal Spectrum Incentive Act will help free up underutilized spectrum for companies, raise revenue, and reduce the deficit. I thank Senator Fischer, and Reps. Matsui and Guthrie for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bipartisan legislation.” 

“The world is going wireless and consumers want information, news, video and more at their fingertips. That’s why I’m joining Senator Markey to introduce the bipartisan Federal Spectrum Incentive Act,” said Senator Fischer. “This bill would ensure the wireless industry has the right tools to keep up with consumer demand. In turn, consumers will benefit from a faster, more reliable wireless service. This bipartisan and bicameral approach incentivizes federal agencies to accomplish these goals as we work to streamline and modernize our federal spectrum policy.”

“The AWS-3 auction highlighted the appetite for increased spectrum in the marketplace,” said Rep. Matsui. “As Americans increasingly rely on smartphones and tablets to communicate, Congress must look for creative ways to produce more spectrum.  This legislation would create the first ever incentive auction for federal agencies and – for once – offer revenue to federal spectrum users. It is a game-changer. I am pleased to join with Congressman Guthrie and our Senate colleagues on this bipartisan, bicameral bill that is a win-win for consumers, and for American innovation.”


“Spectrum is an important and limited resource,” said Rep. Guthrie.  “By encouraging federal agencies to make additional spectrum available, we can invest in innovation and ensure spectrum is available to meet the demands of our critical emergency needs and commercial uses.”


A copy of the Senators’ legislation can be found HERE.