FCC Expected to Call for More Comment on Spectrum, Set-Tops

Broadband-plan extension allows more time for reply comments
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Look for the FCC to officially ask stakeholders to weigh in with reply comments on its inquiries into spectrum reclamation and set-top boxes, two issues of keen interest to broadcast and cable outlets.

As part of its information collection for the national broadband plan, the commission issued requests for comment on how it might reclaim some spectrum from broadcasters, and on how set-top boxes might be re-engineered to combine broadband and cable video. The FCC is contemplating the former move to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband and the latter to boost broadband adoption, since about 99% of the country has a TV set while the percentage of households with computers is about 75%.

But with the initial Feb. 17 deadline for its plan to Congress, the commission only had time for comments and not for the reply comments that allow stakeholders to take aim at the other side's arguments or elaborate on their own.

Broadcasters, for one, have plenty to say about the spectrum reallocation issue, which many see as a threat to their business model going forward

With the plan date moved back to March 17, the FCC has time for that reply process.

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