FCC takes chunk of satellite spectrum for wireless broadband

The FCC, in its unrelenting drive to develop a national broadband plan based on mobile wireless, has grabbed 90 MHz of mobile satellite spectrum and assigned it to terrestrial broadband. It's all part of a policy to free up 300 MHz of spectrum in the next five years, the biggest chunk of which, of course, is the hotly contested 120 MHz the agency is looking to wrest from broadcasters.

While the FCC continues to work on plans of how to reimburse broadcasters for their lost spectrum, the satellite deal includes opening up the direct broadcast satellite band to mobile terrestrial service and incorporating secondary market leasing rules for other parts of the spectrum, Multichannel News reports. The five-member Commission put aside political differences to unanimously approve the changes.

Elsewhere in the world of government and broadband, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the Equal Access to the 21st Century Communications Act, an update of Telecommunications Act disability provisions that take into account the influence of broadband on modern communications. Among the provisions that will impact the cable industry--which supports the disability access goals of the bill--will be expanded availability of hearing aid-compatible phones, better access to 911 emergency services, and updated requirements for closed captioning and video that includes devices like smartphones and computers.

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