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Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Technology firms urge US to free up radio airwaves

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Technology executives from companies including Motorola Inc and Intel Corp plan to urge the US Congress and US President George W. Bush to free up more radio airwaves for new wireless services.

Nine executives, who make up the Washington-based Technology CEO Council, plan to release a report tomorrow calling for US regulators to determine which government-owned frequencies aren't being used efficiently.

New airwaves are coveted by mobile-phone companies that are seeking the capacity to offer faster Internet access and better coverage. The report urges the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to consider re-allocating those airwaves for commercial use and other purposes.

"We need to re-think our approach to radio spectrum to bring our national policy into the wireless era and ensure that spectrum is available for entrepreneurs, innovators and first responders," Motorola chief executive officer Edward Zander, chairman of the council, said in a statement.

The panel wants Congress to give the FCC expanded authority to hold auctions of airwaves.

Other recommendations in the report include an evaluation and possible re-allocation of certain commercially owned frequencies, including some television airwaves, and fewer FCC restrictions on wireless licenses.

Budget legislation signed this month by Bush requires television broadcasters to complete the transition to digital signals from analog by February 2009, freeing up airwaves for other commercial and public safety uses.

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