• Mr. Scott Bergmann, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, CTIA – the Wireless Association
• Mr. Roger Entner, Founder, Recon Analytics
• Mr. Dave Heiner, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
• Mr. Pat LaPlatney, President and Chief Executive Officer, Raycom Media
• Mr. Tom Stroup, President, Satellite Industry Association
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
The hearing will be held in Senate Dirksen Office Building, Room G50. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on this page.
Chairman John Thune
Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Schatz, thank you for putting together such an excellent panel.
The work you do—connecting people across the country, from remote rural areas to cities, to each other and the world, providing education, entertainment, and public safety services—contributes greatly to the economy and to the quality of life of every American. You all drive the innovation and investment that have made the United States the leader in advanced wireless technology.
Our job in Congress includes making sure that, consistent with our national security and public welfare obligations, the market has access to spectrum and that industry is not unduly burdened when getting this spectrum into service.
Senator Nelson and I, along with the other members of this Committee, made a down payment on that obligation with our MOBILE NOW Act. This bill would make available 255 MHz of prime spectrum, both licensed and unlicensed, in the next three years. But that is just the beginning. To meet America’s demand for mobile broadband, it is estimated that the wireless industry will need more than 350 MHz of new licensed spectrum by 2019. The MOBILE NOW Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration to study the potential for commercial service in a number of additional spectrum bands.
But having access to spectrum is only part of the challenge. It can take years and tremendous investment to deploy new wireless services. MOBILE NOW would streamline the process of applying for easements, rights of way, and leases for federally-managed property, and establish a shot clock for review of those applications. MOBILE NOW would also establish a National Broadband Facilities Asset Database listing Federal property that could be used by private entities for the purpose of building or operating communications facilities.
I look forward to seeing the Senate pass MOBILE NOW in the coming weeks, but I am also focused on working with my colleagues to make the next payment toward America’s wireless leadership.
Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker
Alongside my good friend and colleague, Ranking Member Schatz, I am glad to convene the first hearing of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet for the 115th Congress.
As we all know, in today’s connected world, the demand for spectrum increases with every new technology. Spectrum is the lifeblood of this connectivity, improving the lives of people around the globe.
Our discussion of spectrum policy today comes on the heels of this committee’s approval of the MOBILE NOW Act. Under Chairman Thune’s leadership, we have taken a significant, bipartisan step toward freeing up spectrum for next-generation wireless services with the approval of this legislation. I hope to see Senate passage of the bill in the near future.
Our discussion of spectrum policy, however, should continue. With rapid growth in the use of mobile devices and the Internet of Things, demand for spectrum will only increase.
Spectrum for mobile broadband is giving rural America the tools and resources it needs. Applications that utilize mobile broadband provide the means to deliver quality health care in the most remote corners of our states and transmit real-time data for improved crop production on our farms.
Satellite services are providing television, broadband, and Earth observation for a variety of applications.
Next Gen TV has the potential to deliver better emergency services and ultimately save lives. This is particularly important to states like Mississippi that can be situated in the paths of hurricanes, tornados, and other natural disasters.
Unlicensed spectrum offers opportunities for businesses of all sizes to innovate and continues to fuel the vast expansion of the Internet of Things.
Although innovation demands more efficient spectrum use, innovation will also be what solves the problem of limited spectrum.
We are here today to talk about the value of spectrum to the economy. We are here to talk about what we have learned from the FCC’s recent spectrum auctions and how unlicensed spectrum is a vital piece of the puzzle.
I also hope our discussion will encourage a focus on the future of spectrum policy and set the stage for this committee to look at ways to address spectrum demand.
I would like to welcome all of our witnesses and thank them for testifying this morning.
I look forward to the testimony from our distinguished panel. I will now turn it over to my colleague, Mr. Schatz.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Scott BergmannVice President, Regulatory AffairsCTIA-The Wireless Foundation
Mr. Roger EntnerFounderRecon Analytics
Mr. Dave HeinerVice President and Deputy General CounselMicrosoft
Mr. Pat LaPlatneyPresident and Chief Executive OfficerRaycom Media
Mr. Tom StroupPresidentSatellite Industry Association