WASHINGTON The United States is opposing a Japanese plan that would expand its spectrum user fees to include unlicensed wireless devices.
Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications is proposing an extension of existing spectrum user fees that would cover products using unlicensed radio, including standards-based wireless devices. The user fee was introduced in 1993 to support the cost of managing spectrum allocation. The Ministry said new fees would be used for spectrum administration and research and development costs.
In comments questioning parts of the Japanese proposal, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said the Ministry "should also consider whether a more flexible policy on the use of spectrum should be adopted to increase innovation and efficiency."
It also questioned whether spectrum fees should be used to fund R&D. "The United States believes the issue of spectrum usage fees and R&D funding should be dealt with separately: although R&D might lead to more efficient spectrum use, such an outcome is speculative and should not be used to justify an expansion of fees."
Industry groups in the U.S. also oppose the Japanese plan, warning it would compromise the development of wireless telecommunications technologies in Japan. Another concern is that the Japanese plan could touch off similar efforts in other countries.