President Barack Obama will order federal agencies to look for ways they can eventually share more of their airwaves with consumers and businesses that will need more of the spectrum for smart phones and tablets, the White House said on Friday.
Dozens of agencies reserve parts of the spectrum for essential services like national defense, law enforcement and weather forecasting. Obama will sign a presidential memorandum that will direct them to take steps to make their use of the spectrum more efficient.
The administration has focused on expanding broadband access, which Obama views as a critical tool for economic growth.
The new directive comes as the federal telecommunications regulator works on rules for the biggest-ever auction of privately owned airwaves, in which TV stations would give up and wireless providers would buy highly attractive spectrum.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to hold that auction in late 2014, at the earliest.
The White House also plans to announce on Friday new federal investments of $100 million into spectrum sharing and advanced communications.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.