FCC incentive auction earns a round of reviews


Broadcast TowerThe incentive auction NPRM drew a handful of comments from various denizens of Washington DC. Here’s what people were saying:

* Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman, Senate Commerce Committee: Today’s action by the FCC moves us yet another step closer to creating a truly nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network for our first responders,” said Rockefeller.  “When we authorized voluntary incentive auctions to fund the public safety network earlier this year, Congress recognized the dual benefit of promoting innovative spectrum policy and providing funding for next-generation public safety communications.  I know that developing the rules for the incentive auctions will be a complex process, but I am optimistic that broadcasters, wireless companies, and others will work cooperatively with the FCC to make sure these auctions are successful.

* Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee: I applaud the FCC’s unanimous approval of the Incentive Auction Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  This is an important milestone towards implementing the bipartisan Public Safety and Spectrum legislation passed by Congress earlier this year.  That landmark legislation gave the FCC new authority to repurpose underutilized spectrum to help meet the nation’s growing demand for mobile broadband and fund the creation of a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for first responders.  In particular, Congress recognized the value of unlicensed spectrum to promote innovation and economic growth and gave the FCC the authority to utilize nationwide guard bands for this purpose. “I am pleased that the FCC’s action today is faithful to Congressional intent and aims to promote unlicensed use as well as the innovation that will surely follow.  I commend Chairman Genachowski and the FCC staff for their tireless work on this highly complex and critical matter.

* Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Member, House Communications Subcommittee: The FCC’s adoption of a proposed rulemaking to implement a voluntary incentive spectrum auction begins the process of fulfilling Congress’s vision for fast, ubiquitous broadband to all Americans. The proposal recognizes the need for a competitive wireless landscape and the importance of a nationwide block of spectrum dedicated to unlicensed innovation. The Commission’s action today lays the foundation for a 21st century spectrum policy that will drive American innovation, create new jobs and increase consumer choice.

* Minority Media and Telecommunications Council: Spectrum has become essential to nearly every element of the nation’s economy.  Universal nationwide wired and wireless broadband networks would be America’s greatest generators of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity in a generation. Demand for commercial wireless spectrum is increasing so rapidly that it soon will overtake the supply.  That phenomenon, “spectrum exhaust,” would be especially detrimental to minorities, who have led the nation in the rate at which they have adopted mobile wireless and its applications to job search, health care, education and civic engagement.  In all of American history, wireless is the first technology for which minority consumers have a head start – an encouraging high tech and civil rights development that MMTC has named the “Minority Wireless Miracle.” There is no time to lose.  To ensure that consumers can enjoy the use of new wireless spectrum as rapidly as possible, MMTC strongly encourages the FCC to expedite the rulemaking process so that the auctions can conclude by December 2013.

* Julie Kearney, CEA: Additional spectrum is not only key to our national competitiveness, but also needed for creating jobs and spurring economic growth. The FCC’s adoption of this critical spectrum item is a great step forward toward unleashing countless innovative products and services that rely on our nation’s valuable spectrum resources. We look forward to reviewing the FCC’s NPRM and helping the FCC craft rules that will ensure that consumers are able to use their smartphones and tablets to their fullest capabilities.