McCain Slams Plan to Compensate Broadcasters For Spectrum Reclamation


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McCain Slams Plan to Compensate Broadcasters For Spectrum Reclamation - 2011-07-27 21:53:36 | Broadcasting & Cable

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to the Senate floor Wednesday to criticize Sen. Harry Reid's debt ceiling plan for including payments to broadcasters as part of incentive auctions (which are in there because they are predicted to raise billions to help pay down that debt).

While giving credit to Reid for at least coming up with a plan, McCain, former chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said he understood that having spectrum auctions in there would provide billions of dollars in auction revenues, but suggested he had heard that before.

"I have been in this body for a considerable period of time and I can't tell you the number of times we have called for auctions of spectrum." He called that an annual "cop out" that prevented legislators from making "tough decisions."

He said that, "most egregiously," Reid's plan calls for paying a billion dollars for returning unused spectrum. Actually, the bill sets that money aside to compensate the broadcasters who don't sell off spectrum for any channel repositioning or "repacking:" required to free up contiguous spectrum for wireless broadband. And even that is far under the $2.5 billion NAB has predicted that relocation might cost. But McCain made his point that it pained him to compensate broadcasters as part of the move.