Administration budget includes FCC funding


The FY 2013 federal budget requested by President Barack Obama asks for $346.78 million to keep the FCC up and running. Meanwhile, the FCC outlined its strategic objectives through 2016 – and guess what? Broadband figures big.

The FCC stated that the current budget would go toward “…continuing efforts to accelerate broadband deployment throughout the nation; implementing the FCC’s reforms to the Universal Service Fund programs; improving the FCC’s information technology infrastructure and continuing to enhance the security of its systems; investing in the FCC’s technical and engineering capabilities to detect interference issues, plan for interoperability needs, and test new technologies; and studying participation in the communications industry.”

While the goals for the next few years don’t include anything like “take concrete steps to revitalize America’s critical supplier of news and information, the broadcast industry,” neither are they overtly hostile to broadcasters. Most of them get around to broadband in one form or another.

Here’s the skeleton version of the plan:

Goal 1: Connect America
Goal 2: Maximize Benefits of Spectrum
Goal 3: Protect and Empower Consumers
Goal 4: Promote Innovation, Investment, and America’s Global Competitiveness
Goal 5: Promote Competition
Goal 6: Public Safety and Homeland Security
Goal 7: Advance Key National Purposes
Goal 8: Operational Excellence

RBR-TVBR observation: Of primary interest to broadcasters, particularly in the television portion of the business, is Goal 2. The FCC mentions all of the possible actions it might take in the spectrum area, including incentive auctions, reallocation of spectrum, making available white space for unlicensed devices and helping speed up the development of more precise reception devices to allow signals to be broadcast with less separation requirements.

Although a person reading this who is in the know about how this issue has been developing can feel the presence of television just below the surface, that is the extent of it – the text explaining this goal does not once mention the word “television.”

Does this fact represent a refreshing willingness on the FCC’s part to look at other ways to promote broadband, or is it a sneaky plot to lull television broadcasters to sleep just before their spectrum is whisked away? Stay tuned.