A bit of a dust-up over
spectrum was brewing on the one-year anniversary of the release of the national
broadband plan that proposed reclaiming 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum as
part of a nod to the importance of freeing up spectrum for wireless broadband.
Taking FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowksi's back, the CTIA: The Wireless Association said yesterday
that the country can't wait for a spectrum demand study or inventory before
starting to reclaim broadcast spectrum.
CTIA was responding
to Genachowski's speech at a mobile spectrum forum in Washington
Wednesday, in which he said the FCC had learned enough to know it needed
congressional authority to pay broadcaster to exit spectrum, and to the
National Association of Broadcasters' reaction that they wanted to see some
proof that spectrum was not being hoarded by some current licenseholders.
"NAB has once again
endeavored to search for any hint of outlier instances where spectrum allegedly
is not being put to productive use - a point that has been consistently refuted
by the facts," said CTIA President Steve Largent. "At times, they
have called for either an independent review of spectrum demand, or that an
inventory is pursued before moving forward with a reallocation of any broadcast
spectrum. These are odd requests coming from an organization that
purports to support voluntary incentive auctions. We, as a country, cannot
afford to wait...it is integral to our technology future to move forward with
reallocation of spectrum."
The chairman had said
that there was a difference between sitting on spectrum and not having built it
out yet. But while Genachowski talked of a multiplatform future for
broadcasters, Largent had a different message: "The airwaves are a
finite resource and America cannot afford to have an industry whose viewership
is declining stand in the way of our ability to meet businesses' and consumers'
demand for all that the mobile Internet makes possible."