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Boucher, Stearns Introduce Voluntary Spectrum Bill

  • B&C, Friday, July 30, 2010 12:08 AM
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, has teamed with ranking member Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) to introduce a bill that would make sure that if the government reclaims broadcasters' spectrum for auction and re-use for wireless broadband, it can only do so from broadcasters who give it up voluntarily, and not ones who are coerced either directly or indirectly, says B&C.

Boucher has long championed only auctions that give broadcasters the legitimate option of declining the government's offer, while acknowledging he believes there is a spectrum crisis that a truly voluntary process might help alleviate. Bills have already been introduced that would allow for incentive auctions--Congress has to authorize the FCC to share proceeds with broadcasters. But this is the first to put protecting broadcasters' options front and center.



The Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission have urged broadcasters to voluntarily give up a swath of airwaves in exchange for proceeds from auctions. The program is aimed at helping wireless companies deal with a looming spectrum crunch as more consumers turn to mobile devices to surf the Web, reports Reuters.

The spectrum reallocation plan is part of the FCC's larger National Broadband Plan, which seeks to give more Americans access to high-speed Internet and wireless services.

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