COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Policies Regarding Mobile Spectrum Holdings
, Report and Order, WT Docket No. 12-269
It has been nearly a dozen years since the Commission conducted its last major review of our
approach to spectrum holdings. Think about that. Twelve years ago a flip phone was state of the art.
Color displays on any phone were new and novel. And cameras had not yet invaded all of our wireless
devices. It was a long time ago. A fresh look is not only in order, it is overdue.
So today we take up the task of updating our policies for spectrum holdings. We are guided by
Section 309(j) of the Communications Act, which directs the agency to promote economic opportunity
But we do not act in a vacuum. Because our rules for spectrum holdings are intertwined with our
upcoming efforts to identify new spectrum for wireless broadband. As part of these efforts, in the Middle
Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, Congress directed the Commission to conduct a series of new
spectrum auctions. And as part of these auctions, we have a solemn duty. We are entrusted by Congress
with the responsibility to ensure that the proceeds from these auctions are sufficient to support a
nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network for public safety. It has been more than a dozen
years since the horror of 9/11. Too much time has passed and too many lives were lost for us to fall short
of our promise, at long last, to provide interoperable communications to our first responders.
I believe that our efforts today honor this responsibility. We update our spectrum screen—the
prism through which we review transactions. In doing so, we acknowledge that carriers now use more
spectrum than ever before to provide wireless broadband service. But we also acknowledge that
transactions involving valuable low-frequency spectrum merit enhanced scrutiny. At the same time, we
adopt policies to guide bidding in our upcoming auctions. Our new rules make sure that everyone is
welcome to bid and everyone will have a fair shot. But our approach also ensures that we meet our
special responsibilities to our nation’s first responders.
Consequently, this Report and Order has my support. So I want to thank the Chairman for his
work with my office to reach this result—and for his commitment to public safety.