National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith
says the President is right to make wireless build out to rural America a
priority, and that that argues for not putting too much emphasis on spectrum
In a response to the President's State of the Union
address, Smith said he was encouraged by the President's focus on wireless
broadband, saying that means rural as well as urban.
The FCC is looking to move broadcasters off spectrum in
population centers, like the Eastern Seaboard corridor, to free up room for
more wireless broadband. But Smith interpreted the President's remarks as
suggesting a more balanced approach.
"We agree with the White House that wireless broadband
infrastructure build-out to rural America is the key to job creation," he
said, "and NAB believes the President's vision deserves as much attention
as reallocating broadcast spectrum to wireless carriers in urban markets.
"We encourage Congress to consider a holistic approach
to the wireless broadband issue, including passage of spectrum inventory
legislation that fully identifies fallow or warehoused airwaves."
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.)
Tuesday reintroduced a bill that would compensate broadcasters for moving off
spectrum. NAB is all for that--the compensation part--but only if it is truly
voluntary, as Rockefeller's bill emphasizes. But NAB is equally interested in
making the point that broadcasters can contribute to the broadband
future by hanging on to their spectrum, not just by giving it up.