House Panel Has Spectrum, Broadcast TV in View

Spectrum and other television broadcaster concerns, including Must Carry rights, are likely to stay front and center for the next two years, according to Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

In a keynote address at the Villanova School of Business on Wednesday, Chairman Walden emphasized the encouragement of innovation and investment, and specifically highlighted his “Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act” that was signed into law as part of the bill extending the current payroll tax holiday through the end of this year. Rep. Walden declared that he intends for his panel “to squeeze as much as possible out of existing spectrum so that our nation continues to lead the world in wireless broadband innovation and opportunities” and to ensure the FCC “does not pick winners and losers by allocating large swaths of spectrum to favored constituencies for free.” Notably, Rep. Walden has summoned all five FCC Commissioners to appear before the subcommittee in a hearing on Wednesday, December 12, titled “Keeping the New Broadband Spectrum Law on Track.”

In his Villanova remarks, Rep. Walden also pointed out the need for Congress to reauthorize legislation enabling satellite carriage of broadcast television.  He indicated that alterations to the 1992 Cable Act, which currently requires Must Carry rights for broadcast television stations, may be discussed in the midst of that process.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: December 7, 2012