President Barack Obama released a memorandum today directing the federal government to almost double the amount of spectrum space for wireless internet devices.
Mr. Obama stated, "The Internet, as vital infrastructure, has become central to the daily economic life of almost every American by creating unprecedented opportunities for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. We are now beginning the next transformation in information technology: the wireless broadband revolution."
Last March, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a spectrum reallocation plan to reclaim up to 500 megahertz of airwaves from television broadcasters and auction off to wireless and broadband providers. The FCC would share earnings with broadcasters who choose to participate in the spectrum reallocation plan. Mr Obama's memorandum today was seen as an endorsement of the FCC spectrum reallocation plan.
Broadcasters have been publicly decrying the FCC plan; in April, the National Association of Broadcaster's (NAB) president Gordon Smith made the following statements in a keynote speech at NAB's trade show in Las Vegas.,
"How voluntary is it when the plan says, and I quote: ‘The government's ability to reclaim, clear and re-auction spectrum is the ultimate backstop against market failure and is an appropriate tool when a voluntary process stalls entirely.'
"This sounds as voluntary as Marlon Brando saying in the Godfather that he wanted either the guy's signature or his brains on a contract."
NAB delivers letter to FCC coinciding with Obama's memorandum
In a letter delivered to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, NAB urged the FCC to protect over-the-air broadcasts, “We also fervently support the principle that any spectrum reclamation must not force a reduction in the number or quality of services potentially offered by broadcasters or a reduction in number of television homes served by broadcasters.” Read more about NAB's letter to the FCC here.