Genachowski: broadcasters will voluntarily relinquish spectrum

FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski believes that broadcasters will voluntarily relinquish spectrum for the national broadband plan and that this will be a win-win-win for wireless companies, broadcasters and consumers.

Questioned before the House Communications & Internet Subcommittee, Genachowski refused to speculate what would happen to the broadband plan if broadcasters were unwilling to give up yet more of the spectrum they've been granted over the years. Unless something changes dramatically, the early indications are that broadcasters will fight to keep the valuable spectrum that the FCC wants to wrest away and give to wireless companies.

Genachowski, however, told legislators that any other non-voluntary methods to handle the country's "spectrum crisis... would be determined in the future." Broadcasters are in a box. The FCC, through the digital transition, tore away much of the analog 700 MHz spectrum and sold it at auction to the highest wireless bidders, leaving a limited amount of bandwidth for broadcasters to deliver over-the-air signals. If the FCC were to take still more spectrum, it could further restrict broadcasting services and force over-the-air programmers to place more demands on cable, satellite and telco service providers for signal carriage.

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