Tech Companies Launch Incentive Auction Lobby  

Form High Tech Spectrum Coalition

The Consumer
Electronics Association and three other tech associations have banded
together to form the High Tech Spectrum Coalition, which will lobby for
legislation approving incentive auction authority
for the FCC.

authority would allow the commission to pay broadcasters to clear off
their spectrum using funds from auctions of that reclaimed spectrum.

Joining CEA
in the coalition are the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI),
the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), and the Telecommunications
Industry Association (TIA), which comprise
computer and tech companies with a stake in seeing that spectrum freed
up and re-used for advanced services like wireless broadband.

The FCC has
proposed freeing up 300 MHz of spectrum for mobile wireless use by 2015,
more than a third of that to come from broadcasters, and another
200 MHz by 2020.

"The members
of HTSC will work together to seek passage of legislation that would
grant the FCC the authority to hold voluntary incentive auctions in
order to make additional spectrum available for
broadband in the near future," the group said in announcing its

CEA has long pushed for getting more use out of the broadcast spectrum, suggesting it is being overportected and underutilized.

announcement came the same day that the Senate Commerce Committee held a
hearing that dealt in part with a bill sponsored by Chairman Jay
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would authorize an incentive
auction to reimburse broadcasters for spectrum reclaimed by the
government, but only so long as it was given up voluntarily.

Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) have also introduced an incentive auction bill in the House.

have reservations about the spectrum-reclamation effort, citing their
need for spectrum for HDTV and mobile digital TV. But they certainly
support, and would require, compensation for
giving up the spectrum if and when some of them  relinquish it