Tech companies push Congress for feds' wireless spectrum

A coalition suggests auctioning some of the spectrum currently used by federal agencies for use by mobile devices, according to a letter to lawmakers seen by The Hill.

A group of tech companies is pressing Congress to provide more spectrum for use by portable electronics devices such as tablets and smartphones.

A letter sent to lawmakers today and signed by Alcatel-Lucent, Apple, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research In Motion, and Samsung urged the technology committees in the House and Senate to consider auctioning some of the spectrum currently used by federal agencies, according to a report in The Hill.

In the Jobs Act passed earlier this year, Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission to reclaim and auction spectrum held by TV broadcasters to wireless broadband operators. The auction is expected to raise billions of dollars in revenue, which will be used to help pay for a new wireless broadband public safety network as well as help reduce the deficit.

"Now is the time to ensure the incentive auctions are as robust and successful as possible at liberating spectrum. We should also turn our collective attention on ways to reap the economic benefits of underutilized federal spectrum assets," the companies said in their letter.

Federal users should be incentivized to "become more efficient, to share with one another, to vacate, or to lease their spectrum," the companies said, adding that spectrum-efficient technologies will not be enough to ease pressure posed by growing demand for mobile data.

"As technology companies, we joined this debate because policymakers need to know that we cannot simply engineer our way out of this problem," the companies wrote.