Some 56 Members of Congress have formally asked FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to stick to the current timeline for repacking TV stations, following the recently concluded broadcast spectrum incentive auction.
The letter, which shows bipartisan support, urges Pai “to ensure” the 600 MHz spectrum that was made available by the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction is cleared no later than
July 3, 2020, as currently scheduled.
Noting the “economic necessity” to bring improved internet connectivity to Americans, the House Members add, “Clearing the 600 MHz band as quickly as possible is a critical component of the ongoing effort to deploy high-speed internet to rural America and to close the digital divide.”
The House Members express concern that delays to the 39-month repacking timeline established by the FCC “will impede the billions of dollars of private sector
investments in infrastructure necessary for achieving this goal.”
They add, “Rapid deployment of this spectrum is critical for the U.S. to continue its leadership in technology investment and innovation by providing an on-ramp for 5G network deployments.”
Among the signers are Reps. Steve Scalise, Anna Eshoo, Peter Welch, Doris Matsui, and Darrell Issa.
The letter from the more than 50 House Members elicited a response from NAB EVP/Communications Dennis Wharton, who said, “NAB pledges to work in bipartisan fashion with policymakers to complete the repack transition as quickly as possible. Every day, tens of millions of TV viewers and radio listeners rely on hometown broadcasters for news, entertainment and lifeline emergency weather alerts. Our goal is to protect viewers and listeners as we work towards a smooth and speedy conclusion of the repack.”