Obama backs FCC plan to free 500MHz of spectrum
US president Barack Obama has endorsed the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to almost double the spectrum available for broadband services.
Obama’s spectrum plan largely mirrors the FCC’s own national broadband plan, released in March, to free up 500MHz of spectrum for broadband over the next ten years.
The White House plans to entice TV stations and government to hand back unused spectrum or relocate to new spectrum bands.
The government hopes to identify some spectrum by October 1 that can be reallocated within five years, Obama said in a presidential memorandum.
“Few technological developments hold as much potential to enhance America's economic competitiveness, create jobs, and improve the quality of our lives as wireless high-speed access to the internet,” it said.
Controversially, the government plans to seek Congressional approval for the FCC to share auction proceeds with TV networks that voluntarily give up 120MHz of spectrum, reports PC World.
Technology blog site GigaOm questions whether Congress will want to “give up billions (of US dollars) in proceeds from the spectrum auction in order to pay off the broadcasters.”
“It’s a thorny issue for any elected official, which is why Obama’s support is nice, but may not mean much,” says GigaOm. “The FCC doesn’t need a memo; it needs a change in the law.”