ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB074 (1996)

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ARLB074 Congress directs FCC to put 2.3 GHz spectrum up for bid

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ARRL Bulletin 74  ARLB074
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  October 16, 1996
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB074
ARLB074 Congress directs FCC to put 2.3 GHz spectrum up for bid

Possibly for the first time ever, Congress has directed the
reallocation of specific frequencies, including 5 MHz that Amateur
Radio shares with government services between 2305 and 2310 MHz.
During its final hours before adjournment, the 104th Congress
approved a provision as part of a much larger appropriations bill
that directs the FCC to put 30 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3-GHz region
up for competitive auction to help balance the budget.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(NTIA) had identified for reallocation the amateur segments
2300-2310 MHz and 2390-2400 in May 1994, so reallocation of part of
that subband came as no surprise (see QST, Jul 94, p 85 and Aug 94,
p 72). Last year, hams scored a major victory by getting a primary
allocation on the subbands 2390-2400 MHz and 2402-2417 MHz.

The recent congressional action will reallocate 2305 to 2320 MHz and
2345 to 2360 MHz--30 MHz in all--to ''wireless services that are
consistent with international agreement concerning spectrum
allocations.'' The action was included in the massive, 2000-page
Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was passed by
Congress and signed by the President. The act now is Public Law
104-208.

Shortly after the measure was introduced in the Congress, ARRL sent
messages to House and Senate Commerce Committee and Appropriations
staff members to alert them to the League*s concerns and the
possible impact the bill would have on the amateur allocation at
2300-2310 MHz. The measure also was opposed by the Senate Commerce
Committee leadership, which stated that auctions ought to be used
only for assignment purposes, not as a means of raising Federal
revenues. The newly reallocated spectrum is to be put up for bid no
later than next April.

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, said:
''Congressional action directing the reallocation of specific
frequency bands is very unusual, and may even be unprecedented.
Setting that issue aside, it is too early to know the implications
for Amateur Radio. We have been waiting for the other shoe to drop
on 2300-2310 MHz ever since 1994, and to some extent we are still
waiting. Perhaps we will at least have the opportunity to strengthen
our claim to 2300-2305 MHz.''
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