Free Press

JANUARY 10, 2007
3:51 PM

CONTACT: Free Press
Ben Scott, 301-801-5618

Free Press Applauds Wireless Innovation Act of 2007
Urges Congress and FCC to expand unlicensed spectrum

WASHINGTON - January 10 - Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Wireless Innovation Act of 2007 yesterday, directing the Federal Communications Commission to move quickly to free up valuable but unused broadcast airwaves known as "white spaces" — which could then be used for unlicensed, wireless broadband. In many markets, more than half of the available broadcast channels have not been licensed to television stations. The Wireless Innovation Act continues a bipartisan effort from the 109th Congress to expand the development of wireless technology and communications in the United States.

Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott issued the following statement:

"Free Press applauds Senator Kerry's leadership on this issue and urges the Senate to move quickly to pass the Wireless Innovation Act of 2007. This bill holds the potential to create universal, affordable broadband access across the United States.

"Greater access to unlicensed spectrum in the low-frequency bands would improve local emergency communications networks, nurture the growth of small business and entrepreneurship, generate competition in the broadband market, and ensure that underserved areas are not left behind as technology advances in the 21st century.

"The expansion of unlicensed spectrum in particular will create a boom in innovative technologies and expand the opportunities for citizens to communicate. The unlicensed spectrum currently available — just 2 percent of the total spectrum that is commercially available — already has spurred entrepreneurship and technological innovation, generating billions of dollars in new business for manufacturers, retailers and providers. This is a critical issue whose time has come."

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications.