FCC looking at reallocating broadcast spectrum for wireless use

As part of its effort to craft a national broadband plan, the FCC is mulling a move that involves taking spectrum from broadcasters and re-auctioning it for mobile services. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski acknowledged earlier this month at the CTIA IT show that more spectrum will be needed to meet the growing demands for wireless broadband services and said the FCC would look at reallocating spectrum as part of that effort.

"The record is very clear that we're facing a looming spectrum gap," Blair Levin, who is heading up the commission's broadband program, told the Wall Street Journal. He said the FCC is "looking at everything, including broadcasting" spectrum as it crafts the plan, which is due in February. The FCC likely would pay broadcasters fees for any spectrum that is re-allocated if the proposal moves forward.

The National Association of Broadcasters said that freeing up more spectrum should be made in ways that don't limit consumers' access to digital broadcasting. Broadcasters moved in June to digital TV from analog in an effort to free up 700 MHz spectrum for wireless use. Wireless companies including AT&T and Verizon spent nearly $20 billion in last year's auction of the spectrum.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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