No Hill Spectrum Auction Action Until at Least 2012


Staff member
Congress has punted any action on spectrum auction legislation until early next year.

Key House Republicans and Senate Democrats failed to hammer out an agreement this week on a spectrum measure that would have cleared the way for the FCC to conduct incentive auctions of TV spectrum.

If the lawmakers had reached a consensus, it was anticipated that incentive auction provisions would be part of the must-pass legislative package to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits.

Instead, on Saturday the Senate adopted a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut that does not include any incentive auction provisions. And the House is expected to pass the same bill next week.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) released a statement expressing his disappointment that the spectrum auction measure did not move forward.

Rockefeller is the author of S.911, which authorizes the FCC to hold incentive auctions of TV spectrum and share the proceeds of those auctions with broadcasters that voluntarily give up their spectrum.

However, he promised to “push hard in the coming weeks to work out a suitable compromise with the House.”..

The major source of disagreement is over the House language dealing with the governance and funding of the national broadband public safety network that would be established under the bill.

Walden is the author of the House incentive auction proposal that also contains significant protections for local TV broadcasters that chose not to relinquish their spectrum.

The National Association of Broadcasters is backing the Walden bill.
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