FCC Makes Room for Wireless Broadband

The FCC adopted proposals on Tuesday aimed at increasing the spectrum allocation for wireless broadband services and underscoring its activity toward implementation of its National Broadband Plan.

The proposal includes rules to enable multiple TV stations to voluntarily combine their operations and programming lineups on a single spectrum channel and proposes that wireless broadband providers have equal access to TV broadcast frequencies that could become available in spectrum auctions.
The National Broadband Plan recommends reallocation of 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum for broadband services.
“If we don’t act to update our spectrum policies for the 21st century, we’re going to run into a wall — a spectrum crunch — that will stifle American innovation and economic growth and cost us the opportunity to lead the world in mobile communications,” FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said.
The FCC also seeks comment on steps that would improve TV reception on the VHF channels (2-13), such as by increasing transmitting power and establishing minimum performance standards for indoor antennas.
The FCC also aims to preserve free over-the air broadcasting.
NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith said that his organization has “no quarrel with incentive auctions that are truly voluntary.”
“Going forward,” he added, “we believe policymakers have an obligation to maintain digital TV services currently provided by broadcasters and to allow free TV viewers to benefit from DTV video innovations. NAB will oppose government-mandated signal strength degradations or limitations and new spectrum taxes that threaten the future of free and local broadcasting.”
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