How Congress can Fix the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is one of the most important regulatory agencies in the U.S. government, and perhaps in the world. With statutory authority over the nation's communications apparatus, systems and devices, the FCC holds the power to approve or deny mergers; assess liability; levy fines and penalties; bring suit; award licenses and contracts; allocate spectrum; conduct hearings and inquiries; promulgate and interpret rules; establish standards and codes; and exercise a wide range of regulatory actions affecting television, radio, telephone, wireless, mobile, Internet, cable, satellite and international telecom services in the multibillion dollar communications and information technology sector.

Despite all of its power, the FCC is broken. Read the Full Article

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(Photo: Jill, via Flickr)

Minority, public TV viewers face greatest threat in FCC auction

This commentary first appeared on the blog of Convergence Services, Inc. and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

The news that Sesame Street is migrating from PBS to HBO is not the only indicator this summer that an economic divide may be widening within the American viewing public.

Audience data indicate that two segments of the U.S. population will be hit especially hard by the upcoming FCC auction selling off television airwaves to wireless carriers: minorities, especially Latinos, and public television viewers. Where these two large groups of Americans overlap will be “ground zero” of this government-engineered shift from free, over-the-air television to a data plan near you.


(Photo: Jill, via Flickr)

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Technology FCC faces Monumental Test

Officials at the Federal Communications Commission are facing a historic challenge.

The agency is being asked to do something that has never before been tried: a two-step auction of American airwaves that is intended to shift resources from broadcasters to wireless companies.

If all goes according to plan, the sale could be a cash cow that earns billions of dollars for the federal treasury while helping wireless carriers meet a growing demand for data from smartphones and other devices.

Success, however, is far from guaranteed. In order for the sale to get off the ground, the FCC has to convince companies in both industries that it is in their best interest to participate. Read the Full Article

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Walden on LPTV: Favoring Unlicensed Would Break Law

House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) says that if the FCC decides to set aside a channel for unlicensed use after the broadcast incentive auction and give it precedence over broadcasters, he thinks that "violates the law."

The FCC is currently considering a proposal to set aside a channel for unlicensed in a handful of markets where, to insure it can free up as much spectrum as possible for wireless, the FCC plans to put TV stations in that gap, where unlicensed devices are also operating.

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NAB Slams Auction Vote - Says it threatens success, penalizes broadcasters

The National Association of Broadcasters blasted the FCC's incentive auction procedures vote Thursday, calling it a "major setback" for those looking for a successful auction that lowballs station prices, undercuts claims the auction is voluntary and hurts LPTVs and translators. Read full story at B&C.

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