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Friday, September 07, 2012
FCC To Expand Spectrum Access


The Federal Communications Commission will meet at the end of the month to discuss rules for an auction where broadcasters will sell spectrum to wireless carriers, the agency?s chairman said on Friday.

FCC will release a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to voluntary broadcast incentive auctions. The auctions will yield benefits for American consumers to access wireless broadband and ensure that devices such as smartphones and tablets can continue to connect to those networks.

Through the auction, broadcasters would be encouraged to sell spectrum they do not use, share with other broadcasters to free up spectrum or move to VHF, or very high frequency, which is good for broadcasters but inadequate for mobile phones and data streaming.

The concept of incentive auctions was first proposed in the FCC's National Broadband Plan two years ago. Legislation signed into law in February, and now FCC will propose for the first incentive auctions and freeing up significant spectrum for mobile broadband.

In freeing up licensed and unlicensed spectrum for wireless broadband, incentive auctions will drive faster speeds, greater capacity, and ubiquitous mobile coverage.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that the commission should free up more spectrum for both licensed use and for unlicensed services like Wi-Fi; drive faster speeds, greater capacity, and ubiquitous mobile Internet coverage.

"If adopted, the incentive auction proposal before the Commission will accelerate these strategies," Genachowski said.

The proposal would also free up a significant amount of unlicensed spectrum for WiFi-like uses.

The Commission will also serve as a resource to the broadcaster community by launching a new 'Broadcaster LEARN Program,' designed to empower decision-makers. Through this program, a host of new resources will be available as broadcasters and others participate in the comment process and consider this business decision.

The agency hopes to complete the rules in the middle of next year and hold the auction in 2014, an F.C.C. official said.


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