Tech Lobbies Create Coalition to Push Broadcast Spectrum Auctions

ARLINGTON, VA.: Four tech lobbies have thrown in to influence spectrum policy. The Consumer Electronics Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Semiconductor Industry Association, and the Telecommunications Industry Association have formed the High Tech Spectrum Coalition. The HTSC’s intent is “to advocate for legislation that would give the Federal Communications Commission authority to hold voluntary incentive auctions, as called for in the FCC’s March 2010 National Broadband Plan and President Obama’s June 2010 spectrum memo.”

The voluntary incentive auctions refer to spectrum that broadcasters are assumed to relinquish for the NBP. The plan, as endorsed by the president, calls for freeing up 500 MHz nationwide for wireless broadband. Of that, 120 MHz is supposed to come out of broadcast TV channels. The FCC said earlier this year it intended to launch a proceeding for the 120 MHz in the third quarter, i.e., any time now.

How that will work with today’s order allowing unlicensed devices to operate within the TV spectrum remains to be seen.

The HTSC members deem the auctions crucial.

“Accordingly, the HTSC urges congress to promptly grant the FCC authority to hold voluntary incentive spectrum auctions, as the FCC deems appropriate to advance the public interest,” the group’s press release said. “The HTSC continues to support the FCC’s authority and flexibility to allocate spectrum for either licensed or unlicensed wireless broadband uses.”