Mobile broadband is getting federal attention from two different perspectives. First, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller has reintroduced legislation that would compensate broadcasters who voluntarily move off spectrum that would then be auctioned for expanded wireless uses.
Second, the FCC was expected to give a thumbs up to LightSquared to begin offering a mobile network based on satellite signals.
The Rockefeller bill primarily aims at using the spectrum for a public safety networks. Its ramifications, though, in expanding the spectrum grab to other broadband wireless services were what drew the attention of broadcasters who fear the government will just take the spectrum. Rockefeller's proposal recognizes the "critical importance to millions of viewers who rely on free and local television," according to a statement from the NAB.
LightSquared, which has been bandied in some quarters as a potential spectrum source for a cable mobile wireless play, is a "promising opportunity to promote mobile broadband," according to the inevitable FCC senior official speaking on background.
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Someone to watch: LightSquared gets chips, devices