UTC Chairman Expresses Frustration over Spectrum Policy

United Telecom Council Chairman James Stahl on Monday expressed frustration the FCC has not given utilities dedicated spectrum to use for such emergency management purposes as dispatching crew to secure downed power lines during a natural disaster.

"If I sound a little frustrated I really am," Stahl said during a UTC Telecom 2004 keynote address in Nashville, Tenn.

Stahl raised the possibility of leasing spectrum and faster adoption of newer technologies. During an interview, UTC president and CEO William Moroney said in the past 17 years the government has given additional spectrum to agencies such as police and fire departments, but utilities have been forced to share spectrum with other businesses, including taxi drivers and pizza delivery companies.

He said that can create a problem during an emergency situation, such as when a utility must turn off the gas service to a building before a fire department can enter the structure.

Moroney said the FCC has been mandated to find the best commercial use of spectrum.

Michael Gallagher, acting administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the chief telecom advisor to President Bush, on Monday said the utility industry’s argument for dedicated spectrum is "not overpowering."

"This industry is not alone in its quest … for dedicated spectrum," he said. "That model is very difficult to put forward today."

He said adopting new technologies and sharing spectrum would result in a better solution and would happen faster than pursuing dedicated spectrum.

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