Bob Latta (R-OH) is setting the wheels in motion to allow the FCC to initiate spectrum auctions in the frequency band currently used by broadcast television. Latta has legislative standing to author such a bill, thanks to his committee assignments.
The freshly introduced bill is H.R. 1622. Its goal is “[t]o amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for voluntary incentive auction revenue sharing.”
Latta commented, “In order to meet tomorrow’s high volume of mobile data, it is imperative we allow the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct voluntary incentive auctions. Passing this measure would permit the wireless broadband industry to grow, increasing U.S. jobs, productivity and innovation.”
He made it clear that in exchange for agreeing to participate in the auction, the participating broadcaster would get a share of the auction proceeds.
However, Latta is interested in applying the potential billions of dollars generated by an auction to the national debt, which he placed at $14.2T.
Latta is not only a member of the key Committee on Energy and Commerce, he is also on the roster of the even more key Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.
RBR-TVBR observation: The best thing about all of this is that an actual broadcaster has the opportunity to play goalie as wireless interests try to put this legislative puck in the net. Communications subcommittee chair Greg Walden (R-OR) has promised that his panel will take its time and thoroughly vet this issue with multiple hearings. If your rep is on the panel, please take the time to explain to the legislator exactly what’s at stake.