updated 10:00 pm EDT, Tue July 23, 2013
Move expected to cost DoD $3.5 billion, somewhat offset by sale
As part of the FCC's initiative to reclaim unused and poorly-utilized bandwidth, the US Department of Defense is proposing that it compress some of its use of allocated bandwidth, freeing up some for auction. The military is looking at moving all traffic into the 1780-1850MHz region of the spectrum, making available the 1755 to 1780MHz and 2025-2110MHz bands for sale.
The FCC has commenced a public comment process to discuss how it should auction not only the DoD bandwidth, but other US government-owned airwaves to wireless. "We are committed to finding new and innovative strategies to expedite commercial access to additional spectrum," FCC Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn said in a statement. "I encourage all stakeholders to roll up their sleeves and help us to push this proceeding forward."
The portion of the spectrum to be reallocated include some frequencies used for drone systems and pilot training, and compressing its use is expected to cost $3.5 billion. DOD Chief Information Officer Teresa Takai called the proposal "a workable balance to provide access to the 1755-1780 MHz band most desired by the commercial wireless industry while ensuring no loss of critical DoD capabilities."
Director of Government Affairs for Technology and Engineering Policy at T-Mobile Steve Sharkey said of the proposal that "while there are many details that need to be resolved, this is a significant breakthrough toward meeting the goal of licensing this spectrum, paired with 2155-2180 MHz, by February 2015."