The House voted on April 5 to approve legislation that would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revamp and improve their memorandum of understanding (MOU) on spectrum coordination.

The bill, entitled the Spectrum Coordination Act, would require the Federal agencies that regulate communications and spectrum to update their joint processes related to disputes in shared and adjacent frequency bands.

The two agencies have long shared Federal spectrum oversight responsibility, and have already begun their coordination efforts. The House-approved bill, if it ultimately becomes law, would simply make the collaboration an official requirement.

Last week, the FCC and NTIA held the first meeting to discuss spectrum policy efforts, a part of the agencies’ larger Spectrum Coordination Initiative.

Under the initiative, the FCC and NTIA have committed to updating the existing MOU for the first time in nearly 20 to address gaps in government coordination and to better reflect today’s opportunities and challenges.

At last week’s meeting, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson announced a joint task force that has begun discussing details of a new MOU between the agencies.

“Congress has been clear about NTIA’s statutory role as manager of the Federal government’s use of spectrum and the FCC as the independent agency responsible for non-federal spectrum policy. Our agencies have a long history of working together to ensure that spectrum policy decisions foster economic growth, ensure our national and homeland security, maintain U.S. global leadership, and advance other vital U.S. needs. That will only continue and grow as we build this new agreement,” Rosenworcel and Davidson said in a joint statement.

The Spectrum Coordination Act passed on the House floor by a vote of 418-6. The measure next needs Senate approval, and President Biden’s signature, to become law.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.