The legislation that will give the FCC authority to conduct incentive spectrum auctions in the television space is but a small part of the middle class tax relief package to which it is attached. It is nonetheless a remarkable piece of work that appears to be the result of actual give and take between Democrats and Republicans. One thing for sure is that a lot of people are coming forward to praise it. A key comment comes from an individual – President Barack Obama – who has a pen he is ready and willing to use to seal the deal.
Two very concerned organizations, NAB and CTIA, were quick off the mark getting their opinions on the legislation out before the public. Here’s a look at what others are saying.
* President Barack Obama: “Leaders of both parties have done the right thing for our families and for our economy by reaching an agreement that will prevent a tax hike on 160 million working Americans. I urge Congress to pass this agreement so that the payroll tax cut we put in place last year will not expire at the end of this month…It includes a critical element in the plan I outlined in the State of the Union to out-innovate the rest of the world by unleashing mobile broadband, investing in innovation, and building a nationwide public safety network. It will mean a stronger economy and hundreds of thousands of new jobs. And as soon as Congress sends this bipartisan agreement to my desk, I will sign it into law right away.”
* FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski: “Congress is poised to take an important step in making the U.S. the first country in the world to adopt the incentive auctions concept, an innovative, market-based approach to unleash more spectrum for mobile broadband. I’m pleased that Congress has recognized the vital importance of freeing up more spectrum for mobile broadband, both licensed and unlicensed, although the legislation could limit the FCC’s ability to maximize the amount and benefits of recovered spectrum. Our goals have included developing fair, effective mechanisms for providing all carriers an opportunity to obtain spectrum, promoting world-leading innovation, free-market competition, and mobile broadband access for consumers throughout the country. The FCC will continue to study the legislation, and if adopted, we look forward to working with Congress and all stakeholders to implement this important grant of authority.”
* Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA: “CEA has long advocated for the passage of legislation that authorizes the FCC to hold voluntary incentive spectrum auctions. Today we commend the Conferees for including voluntary spectrum auctions in the conference report and urge quick passage by the House and Senate. Such auctions will not only bring much needed revenue to the U.S. Treasury, but they will also promote innovation and spur job creation in America. This congressional action advances the deployment of a 21st century wireless broadband infrastructure, helping to ensure that the United States remains the world’s leading Internet innovator.”
* House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders Fred Upton (R-MI) and Greg Walden (R-OR): “With 13 million Americans still seeking employment, job creation is a driving force behind efforts to expand wireless broadband. Spectrum auctions are not only good public policy for the communications and technology sector, they will produce meaningful job creation when we need it most. Estimates project that the new wireless build-out will result in billions of dollars in new investment. The hundreds of thousands of jobs that are created as a result will be an economic game-changer.”
* House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Waxman: “We have come together to provide our citizens and first responders with the critical access to spectrum and advanced wireless broadband communications they need. This legislation will allow us to meet the growing spectrum demands on wireless networks brought about by our smartphones and tablets. After long discussions, I am pleased to see the success of our bipartisan, bicameral efforts.” Eshoo: “The agreement Congress has reached on legislation that delivers a 21st century spectrum policy is a win for all Americans. It will create more competition, enhance innovation, and bolster the American economy, by driving the next generation of wireless devices and services. And finally, a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for our first responders.”