FORMER FCC COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR SPECTRUM INVENTORY

April 23, 2012-Former FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps, in remarks made in an interview for the C-SPAN series “The Communicators” said he thinks there is a lot of spectrum lying fallow.

“There is a lot of spectrum out there, and I don’t think anybody in the United States has very much of a clue exactly how much spectrum is lying fallow,” he said in an interview for the series which airs on C-SPAN.

He stated that a complete spectrum inventory is needed which he believe will reveal that there’s a “whole bunch of [spectrum] lying fallow that could fuel a whole lot of devices and fuel a whole lot of technology,”

The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (Alliance) couldn’t agree more. The Alliance has previously called for the FCC to release the AOM (Allotment Optimization Model) that the Chairman said would be released upon authorization to conduct spectrum auctions. That authorization came in the recently signed “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.” It is time for the release of the AOM and a full spectrum inventory.

While former Commissioner Copps said he hoped the commission would expedite incentive auctions, he said he was not comfortable with taking spectrum from one consolidated medium (broadcasters) to give it to another (wireless). The Alliance has favored broadcasters working together with wireless companies to more effectively use portions of the broadcast spectrum. Utilizing new technology, the “Broadcast Overlay Plan,” as it’s called, would answer part of the wireless industry’s need for more spectrum and generate substantial revenues as an annuity for the federal government over that which would be received through a one-time auction.

And, Copps said he was concerned about the impact of the auctions and TV station repacking would have on noncommercial and smaller, diverse, stations. “There are almost so many unintended consequences when you do something that is this broad,” he said pointing to concerns with Noncoms.

Alliance Executive Director, Irwin Podhajser says, “It is heartening to see that an FCC Commissioner is speaking up about the potential impact to smaller diverse stations.  It has been our contention through this whole process that the auction/repack plan is simply bad policy that will not raise the desired revenue and will not solve the wireless broadband issues of our country; It will be bad for broadcasters, smaller wireless companies and consumers.  It is time for us to create more choices and competition, not entrench a few large wireless monopolies.”

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