Leaders on spectrum issues both on and off the Hill praised the Department of Defense’s announcement to make additional mid-band spectrum available for commercial use, lauding the decision’s potential effects for industry and government.

Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Bob Latta, R-Ohio, called the Aug. 10 announcement “great news for the future of American innovation” in a statement.

“Our committee has long advocated for repurposing spectrum for commercial uses, and we’re pleased the Administration is taking steps to ensure the United States continues to be the leader in the 21st century technologies that will shape our future,” said Reps. Walden and Latta, who serve as the ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Communications and Technology Subcommittee, respectively.

The vice chair of the National Spectrum Consortium, a research and development organization with over 300 members across industry and academia, also commended the announcement.

“The National Spectrum Consortium applauds the very hard work that the Department of Defense in conjunction with the [Federal Communications Commission] and [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] has done to identify and announce the availability of additional 100 megahertz between 3.45 and 3.55 to be auctioned off commercially,” said Randy Clark, the consortium’s vice chair, in an interview with MeriTalk.

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Clark, who works as a technologist for Verizon, provided additional perspective on the importance of additional commercial spectrum and its connection with 5G networks.

“It’s about automation,” said Clark, “5G and the industrial revolution is about the automation of tasks, removing human life from harm’s way to become more efficient in our processes and procedures in manufacturing, in logistics, in transportation.

“The engine that feeds that agile network is spectrum,” he said. “We continue to apply research dollars to opening up new ways to dynamically use and share spectrum because it’s a valuable resource.”

Clark pointed to the Department of Defense’s Research and Engineering team’s ongoing work in collaborating with industry on spectrum sharing technologies at military bases.

“These are critical foundational steps to enable the future,” said Clark, of the sharing technologies. He emphasized the importance of the availability of additional spectrum both from economic and national security perspectives.

“What the Department of Defense has done in releasing an additional 100 megahertz of mid-band is truly important,” he said, “not only to our national security, but to our economy.”

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Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.