Congress takes measures to protect broadcasters' spectrum

Both houses of Congress have taken steps to make sure that broadcasters get a fair shake if--or as seems more likely, when--the FCC starts auctioning off their spectrum for an expanded national broadband plan that heavily favors wireless.

Broadcasters have been concerned that the FCC might just take away their government-given spectrum without offering up fair compensation, but nearly bipartisan support from both Houses shows that congressfolks don't want that to happen. Eleven House members, including net neutrality opponent Rep. Greg Walden, sent a letter to the FCC asking that it conduct an inventory to determine what spectrum it needs and from whence it should come to juice up wireless broadband networks. While getting more spectrum is "critical to innovation and job creation" so is "protecting our local television broadcasting system," the letter said.

In the other legislative chamber, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat reiterated his support for voluntary broadcast spectrum auctions and received support from Republican Kay Hutchison, who has introduced a bill to give the FCC the authority to move forward with incentive auction and extend the commission's authority to do so to 2018.

For more:
- Multichannel News has this story
- The Hill has this story

Related articles:
FCC waits on Congressional authorization for broadcast spectrum auction
Broadcast spectrum auctions 'likely' to get House support
AT&T's Stephenson wants broadcast spectrum; Genachowski glum about prospects

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