Lake Says Keep Those TV Spectrum Redesignation Comments Clean
December 8, 2010
WASHINGTON: Federal regulators are targeting broadcast
spectrum for broadband in part because those airwaves are not used efficiently.
That was the message delivered today by Federal Communications Commission Media
Bureau chief Bill Lake.
“The digital transition makes it possible to transmit broadcast TV programming
more efficiently,” Lake said at a luncheon hosted by the Media Institute. “Some
broadcasters are making good use of this spectrum dividend; others are not.
This means it is inevitable that, as we look for sources of spectrum, one place
we need to look is broadcast spectrum that is not being efficiently used.”
The FCC last week issued a
of Proposed Rulemaking on opening up TV spectrum for wireless broadband
“We would love to receive the constructive input of people in this room on the
ideas in that Notice, and on each of the future steps that will be necessary to
implement the proposal,” Lake said to what was likely a room of players and
reporters at the Beltway event. He made it clear that pig-biting was not
“If that input is to be constructive, it has to be grounded in a clear-eyed
appreciation of today’s spectrum environment and of exactly what we are
proposing to do. In today’s environment, some facts can’t be blinked,” he said.
“One is the stratospheric growth of wireless broadband use, which will outstrip
the supply of spectrum unless the country looks to spectrum that can be
repurposed from other uses.
“Though it may be tempting to be wistful about the way things were, the
communications universe is changing, and this is your chance to be part of the
solution by working creatively with us.”
Lake said that if Congress provides the commission with the authority to
conduct incentive auctions, the commission will immediately take up the
process. The idea is to entice broadcasters to voluntarily hand over spectrum
in return for a piece of anticipated auction proceeds. The commission can’t do
it without express Congressional authorization.
“We want to implement incentive auctions that will give broadcasters an option
they do not have today--one they can choose voluntarily if they find it
attractive,” Lake said.
“We’ll need your help in structuring that option to make it achieve its
purposes for wireless consumers, for broadcasters, for the Treasury, and for
job creation,’ he said. “If you can work with us constructively on what we are
in fact proposing, you can be our partners in achieving one of the most
innovative advances in spectrum policy of the century.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams