In what could be bad news for broadcasters, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, has probably through his support to an FCC proposal to auction off broadcast spectrum for use by new wireless applications.
"Finding additional spectrum to auction for broadband will be a priority this year," Upton said in an e-mail statement noting that "legislation will likely include voluntary incentive auctions."
It will be interesting to see the feds' definition of voluntary since broadcasters have made it clear that the government will have to wrest any more spectrum from their cold dead hands. Even that most enthusiastic of all spectrum grabbers, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, has shown a depressive side this week when he admitted to uncertainty about whether the move will go forward.
- The Hill has this blog post
Genachowski tries to sell broadcasters on wireless broadband auctions
AT&T's Stephenson wants broadcast spectrum; Genachowski glum about prospects