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Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-66, 107 Stat. 312 (Aug. 10, 1993).
Under the Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was authorized to organize auctions to award spectrum licenses for certain wireless communications services. The Act amended the Communications Act of 1934 with a number of important provisions affecting the availability of spectrum. The "Licensing Improvement" section of the Act laid out the general requirements for the FCC to establish a competitive bidding methodology and consider, in the process, objectives such as the development and rapid deployment of new technologies. The law prohibited the FCC from making spectrum allocation decisions based "solely or predominately on the expectation of Federal revenues. . . ."
The "Emerging Telecommunications Technologies" section directed the NTIA to identify not less than 200 MHz of radio frequencies used by the federal government that could be transferred to the commercial sector through auctions. The FCC was directed to allocate and assign these released frequencies over a period of at least 10 years, and to reserve a significant portion of the frequencies for allocation after the 10-year time span. Similar to the requirements for competitive bidding, the FCC was instructed to ensure the availability of frequencies for new technologies and services, and also the availability of frequencies to stimulate the development of wireless technologies.
The FCC was further required to address "the feasibility of reallocating portions of the spectrum from current commercial and other non-federal uses to provide for more efficient use of spectrum" and for "innovation and marketplace developments that may affect the relative efficiencies of different spectrum allocations." Over time, auction rules have been modified in accordance with the changing policy goals of the FCC and Congress but subsequent amendments to the Communications Act of 1934 have not substantively changed the above-noted provisions regarding spectrum allocation.
- ↑ Pub. L. No. 103-66, Tit. III, Subtitle C, Ch. 1.
- ↑ 47 U.S.C. §309(j), especially (1), (3), and (4).
- ↑ Id. §309(j)(7)(A).
- ↑ Pub. L. No. 103-66, Tit. III, Subtitle C, Ch. 2.
- ↑ 47 U.S.C. §923(b)(1).
- ↑ Id.
- ↑ Id. §925(b)(2).
- ↑ Id. §925(b)(3).