National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith
said Monday that broadcasters don't oppose voluntary incentive auctions, but
only if they are 'truly' voluntary.
The Obama administration's FCC budget proposal, released
Monday, includes holding spectrum auctions and using that money for a variety of
things, including spurring 4G wireless and funding an interoperable
The budget also includes a proposed new spectrum license
user fee. A similar fee has been proposed for the past several years, but
Congress has disposed of it before passing the budget.
Smith said the association "opposes new spectrum taxes
that could imperil promises made to consumers during the DTV
transition," though he did not elucidate.
The FCC had no comment on the fee, but an FCC official
familiar with the agency pointed out that OMB proposed the fee and is deferring
to the FCC on how best to apply it "if" it is decided it is
needed. Broadcasters are not the only ones who could be subject to the fee,
which could be applied to fixed satellite, point-to-point microwaves services
and even taxi licenses.