Michigan Rep Calls for Incentive Auction Hearing

Says preserving broadcaster coverage areas is national security issue
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Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) says that
insuring that broadcasters retain their coverage areas after the FCC reclaims
spectrum and repacks stations in incentive auctions is an important emergency
communications issue that deserves its own Hill hearing.

In
a letter to the chair and ranking member of the subcommittee, Rep. Hansen said
that the auctions could impact the "growing number" of people who are
broadcast-only viewers. "I believe it is essential that broadcasters
retain their service areas during the auction process so they may continue to
provide emergency information and news to the local community."

Congress
has instructed the FCC to make its best effort to replicate that coverage, but
even some broadcasters have conceded that it may not be possible to replicate
it exactly.

He
said it would be in the best interests of national security to insure that
service loss was minimized, particularly in rural and "underserved"
areas, a term usually reserved for broadband buildouts.

He
also put in a plug for a hearing on including radio chips in mobile devices,
which broadcasters have argued is important for relaying emergency information
beyond a limited text message. "I believe the use of broadcast radio chips
can provide consumers with fast and reliable access to both emergency alerts
and in-depth emergency information," said Clarke.

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