Sen. John Kerry weighed in Wednesday on how he thinks the 1996 Telecommunications Act should be revised, emphasizing the importance of reclaiming TV channels for advanced, including perhaps unlicensed, services.
The act is being reauthorized and could be subject to big changes that reflect the switch to digital.
According to a prepared text issued by his office, Kerry, addressing a New Republic conference on telecom policy in Washington, talked mostly about the promise of the broadband revolution and the need to get the re-write "right," given that the economy for the next 15-20 years depends on it, he said.
He advocated getting the DTV switch done so broadband could get on with revolutionizing: "Congress must complete the DTV transition, free up the 700 MegaHertz band, and allow competition to flourish," he said.
Kerry voted for the 1996 Act, which promised the same broadband revolution.
"We can free spectrum as part of the DTV transition to unleash new wireless technologies," he said. "Why not let the established firms, municipalities, entrepreneurs and innovators take that analog spectrum to develop advanced wireless technologies? Allowing a piece of that spectrum to operate without license should be explored.".
On Telco video, he said: "Several Bell companies have recently announced their intent to offer video programming using broadband platforms. Efforts are already underway in Massachusetts. This decision provides a promise of enhanced competition in the video market. Competition means better consumer choice and competitive pricing. We should encourage that development, and seek balance between competing interests."
Kerry is a member of the committee--Commerce--that is undertaking the revamp of the act.