Former National Broadband chief: Debate over spectrum reform is off track

Blair Levin, former executive director of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, characterized the plan as having a "pretty good year," and said the debate over spectrum reform had gotten off track.

In an interview with C-SPAN's Communicators series, Levin said the plan was always meant to be an "agenda-setting and target-clarifying device" with targets to reach and hope for. Levin cited spectrum reform, Universal Service Fund (USF) reform and rights-of-way reform among the key issues associated with the plan

When it comes to spectrum reform, Levin, who now works for the Aspen Institute, said the focus shouldn't be on whether or not to reallocate spectrum but how to turn it over on a regular basis to meet evolving needs. He was referring to the debate over taking spectrum from broadcasters to serve wireless broadband and over whether to auction or allocate 700 MHz D-block spectrum.

Levin said he likes incentive auctions for wireless broadband services, which are designed to compensate broadcasters for their spectrum. Interestingly, he said one option would be for the government to swoop in and just take the spectrum when the demand for broadband reaches a crisis level. However, that action could lead to years of litigation, he said.

He also said that it is unlikely the FCC will meet its end-of-summer deadline for the reform of the USF.

For more:
- see this Broadcasting & Cable article

Related articles:
FCC, NAB tangle over broadcast spectrum auctions
FCC's Genachowski defends data roaming, harps on spectrum crunch
FCC waits on Congressional authorization for broadcast spectrum auction
FCC proposes rules to reallocate spectrum from TV broadcasters
NTIA report finds 115 MHz of spectrum for wireless
FCC report: New wireless spectrum may be worth $120B

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