House Spectrum Bill Provides $3 Billion for Channel Repacking


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TVB | House Spectrum Bill Provides $3 Billion for Channel Repacking
In part.
The bill addresses three primary areas: Reallocating TV spectrum for wireless broadband, designating bandwidth for a public safety network, and relocating federal entities using the airwaves. Among its provisions, the JOBS Act authorizes the Federal Communications Commission to hold incentive auctions, whereby broadcasters who give up spectrum receive a portion of the winning bids. The Obama Administration’s National Broadband Plan seeks to reclaim 20 TV channels for a nationwide wireless network. All stations would then have to be repacked in the remaining 29 channels.

Walden’s bill sets aside $3 billion for the repacking and for cable system retuning. The National Association of Broadcasters estimates that 672 full-power TV stations now transmitting in the targeted spectrum would have to be moved. A total of 174 stations moved to new channels for the 2009 digital transition. The NAB’s analysis also indicates as many as 210 full-power TV stations would be knocked off the air should 20 channels be reclaimed.

The Walden bill attempts to avert the loss of TV channels by allowing incentive auctions only if there is “sufficient spectrum to accommodate the broadcasters that wish to remain broadcasters following the auction, and requires the FCC to make all reasonable efforts to preserve broadcasters’ service areas,” according to a background memo on the bill.

It requires the FCC to auction the spectrum it clears, and provides the commission with the discretion to reallocate spectrum now set aside for unlicensed use, including “approximately 675 MHz of unlicensed spectrum currently available below 6 GHz,” for either dedicated or shared use.