The radio-frequency spectrum is a natural resource used to provide an array of wireless communications services, such as television broadcasting, which are critical to the U.S. economy and national security. In 1993, the Congress gave the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to use competitive bidding, or auctions, to assign spectrum licenses to commercial users. The Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act required GAO to examine FCC's commercial spectrum licensing process. Specifically, GAO examined the (1) characteristics of the current spectrum allocation process for commercial uses; (2) impact of the assignment process--specifically the adoption of auctions to assign spectrum licenses--on end-user prices, infrastructure deployment, competition, and entry and participation of small businesses; and (3) options for improving spectrum management.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Given the success of FCC's use of auctions and the overwhelming support among industry stakeholders and experts for extending FCC's auction authority, the Congress may wish to consider extending FCC's auction authority beyond the current expiration date of September 30, 2007.|