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Reallocating TV spectrum for wireless broadband remains an option, says policy presentation

Television spectrum remains on the table as the FCC weighs its options as it puts together its plan for the future of broadband availability throughout the nation, according to a presentation made Dec. 16 during the agency’s open meeting.

The FCC, working under a Congressionally mandated deadline, has until Feb. 17, 2010, to present its national broadband plan to Congress.

The presentation, entitled “National Broadband Plan Policy Framework,” clearly states that demand for wireless broadband service will soon surpass spectrum supply. “A large, new spectrum allocation is essential to improving broadband competition,” it says.

To identify new spectrum, the presentation offers several policy options the commission should consider, including examining the use of television spectrum. It calls on the commission to explore the “various proposals that have been submitted, such as access to TV spectrum while maintaining over-the-air TV and access to federal spectrum, in conjunction with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).”

While reallocation of TV spectrum should be considered, the presentation recommends the commission consider preserving spectrum for unlicensed devices.

Other spectrum options to consider include:

• Resolving the Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3) and Wireless Communications Services (WCS) proceedings.
• Applying market forces to all bands while also considering other policy objectives in making decisions about spectrum allocation.
• Using spectrum more efficiently and reviewing its use periodically.

According to the presentation, encouraging competition will “be a guiding principle of the plan.”

“Finding ways to better use existing assets, including Universal Service, rights-of-way, spectrum and others, will be essential to the success of the plan,” according to the presentation.