The just-introduced broadcaster-friendly incentive auction bill (HR 2482) backed by Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Gene Green (D-Tex.) is collecting supporters, according to the legislators.
In addition to the National Association of Broadcasters and Communications Workers of America, backers include the Public Safety Alliance, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, as well as the home state broadcaster associations of both legislators.
"The broad support this bill has attracted in such a short period of time is a testament to its importance and far-reaching appeal," said Green. "I urge all of my colleagues in the House to support this bill and its passage," added Dingell. Also signed on as a co-sponsor is Rep. Dale Kildee, another Michigan Democrat.
Broadcasters are particularly pleased with the protections against forced repacking and channel sharing, as well as explicit funds for dislocation and the mandate of only one incentive auction. First responders back the bill because it allocates the D block of spectrum to them rather than auctioning it to a commercial entity for a public-private partnership. Like a Senate version also backed by fire and police officials, it would use some of the auction proceeds to build and maintain the emergency network.
The big difference between the two bills is that the House version adds those explicit protections for broadcasters while the Senate version instructs the FCC essentially to do its best to protect broadcasters.
While the NAB supported the bill out of the gate, association president Gordon Smith put an exclamation point on that support Tuesday with a letter to Dingell and Green thanking them for their efforts to protect broadasters signals and digital future.