Eshoo gets into a Pai fight over spectrum auction


U.S. CongressRep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Communications Subcommittee, is countering FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s assertion that guard bands opened up via the channel repacking of television stations need to be auctioned off.

Eshoo is a major proponent of leaving room for unlicensed devices in the television band (the purposes of all the talk in recent years about the gaps or white spaced between television stations).

Pai generally supported the auction plan as it stands when the FCC moved ahead with the project in late September, but according to Hillicon Valley, questioned whether the FCC was ignoring Congressional intent when it planned to leave guard bands open to unlicensed spectrum device innovators.

Eshoo said in no uncertain terms that leaving room for unlicensed devices in the guard bands was precisely what Congress had in mind.

According to the Hillicon Valley article, Pai is interested in determining how much auction value is contained in the guard bands, but Eshoo was quoted explaining that the question is one that was not left open to the FCC to explore. She said leaving unlicensed space was “the clear intent of Congress,” part of its “balanced spectrum policy.” She said leaving room for unlicensed devices was a compromises that she expected to see respected by the FCC as it moves the process forward.