While Congress is in recess, the debate over America’s electromagnetic spectrum continues. Earlier this month, the U.S. Commerce Department added its voice to the push to open up more spectrum for broadband, specifically by re-allocating current television broadcast spectrum. In its “Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States” report to Congress required by the 2010 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, the Commerce Department emphasized:
Techniques such as improvements in spectral efficiency, increases in network density through cell site construction, and offloading traffic to wireline networks will not be sufficient to allow capacity to keep up with demand. In other words, wireless carriers will not be able to accommodate this surging demand without access to additional parts of the spectrum. It is vital that the government continue to address these spectrum challenges by reallocating spectrum from existing to more efficient uses. One aspect of this reallocation is having Congress authorize the FCC to use auctions to reallocate spectrum from TV broadcasters to wireless broadband providers.
FCC Chairman Genachowski has also been renewing his push for spectrum incentive auctions. In a speech this week at the high-profile trade show of the Consumer Electronics Association, Chairman Genachowski urged that Congress authorize such auctions without restrictions. “It would not be wise to prejudge or micro-manage FCC auctions,” he noted. The spectrum bill advanced in the House of Representatives just before Christmas has a number of directions for the FCC in any spectrum auction and TV channel re-packing, including a number of significant protections for full-power and Class A broadcasters.
NRB continues to actively remind Capitol Hill that our association includes a significant number of full- power, Class A, and low-power television broadcasters. As relevant legislation advances in Congress, we are steadfastly urging continued consideration and inclusion of explicit provisions that fairly honor the services and investments of all Christian television broadcasters in their local communities.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations