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Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas Emphasize Continued Need for Effective Spectrum Management after GAO Report

(Washington, DC) – Today the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report, Spectrum Management: Agencies should strengthen collaborative mechanisms and processes to address potential interference. The report, which was requested by Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas in December of 2019, examined how spectrum interference concerns were treated during the design of the Federal Communications Commission’s 24 GHz spectrum auction, how the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) assess and communicate their spectrum concerns to ensure science equities are adequately protected, and how scientific analyses are currently conducted to resolve questions about potential interference with federal spectrum users.

“I thank the GAO for its hard work in preparing this report. It makes clear that a number of federal agencies have a lot of work to do,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “We need a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to spectrum management which enables U.S. telecommunications leadership without threatening earth and space science observations. This approach must assure the integrity and availability of spectrum for the next generation of weather forecasting and radioastronomy, as well. As we move forward, we must actively seek out and consider the needs of all spectrum stakeholders, big and small. I look forward to working with Ranking Member Lucas and my colleagues in other Committees on strategies that will help protect the spectrum requirements of science users.”

“It’s critical that we have a workable process in place to manage disputes about how we allocate spectrum frequencies, but this GAO report makes it clear that there are significant gaps in how federal agencies work together to resolve these conflicts,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK). “The demands on our spectrum use are only going to grow as 5G deployment expands and the Internet of Things grows. All stakeholders, from federal agencies to private companies, need a spectrum allocation process that is fair, transparent, and provides certainty for decision making, particularly as we negotiate internationally over spectrum issues. This report provides a good framework for the actions we must take to ensure we’re taking a deliberative and scientific approach to balancing all of our spectrum needs.”

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