Spectrum Legislation Expected to Be Rolled Into End-of-Year Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

Spectrum Legislation Expected to Be Rolled Into End-of-Year Bill

JOBS Act could be added to legislative package
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House Republican leadership is expected attach House spectrum incentive auction legislation to a broad, end-of-the year, must-pass bill, a House Energy & Commerce Committee source confirmed on background.

The Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act passed the Communications Subcommittee last week, and the source said House leaders have indicated it could be added to that legislative package, which would extend the payroll tax holiday, as the president has called for, but also include things on the Republican's wish list, like their version of the incentive auction bill, which would prevent the FCC from putting access conditions on spectrum reclaimed for wireless.

A Senate version of spectrum incentive auction legislation was added to the president's Jobs bill back in September, but that bill failed to pass.

One D.C. bill-watcher said they expected the JOBS Act to be added to the package before it gets a full Commerce Committee vote.

The legislation authorizes the FCC to pay broadcasters to give up spectrum, and compensate those who remain for moving and repacking them to free up contiguous spectrum to auction to wireless companies. It also allocates spectrum and funds the creation and operation of an interoperable broadband emergency communications network. The fact that it allocates that spectrum, rather than auctioning it, was a Republican concession, but Democrats remain concerned about the governance of that network under the Republican proposal, and full committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has called the amendment preventing auction conditions a "poison pill" to Senate Democrats.

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Walden argued it would create between 300,000 and 700,000 jobs while making spectrum available for broadband and a national interoperable emergency communications network available to first responders