Walden: Congress Won't Be Rushed Into Spectrum Decision

Does not know whether incentive auction bill will be passed this year
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"There are a lot of wolves at the door when it comes to
spectrum," House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden said Wednesday,
but he conceded there was a huge demand behind all that huffing and puffing.

He told an American Cable Association summit audience
that spectrum was an important and valuable commodity held by the public--he is
a former broadcaster--and that country needed to get the spectrum issue right.

Walden told reporters afterwards that he did not know
whether an incentive auction bill paying broadcasters for giving up spectrum
would be passed this year. The FCC has been pushing Congress to pass a bill ASAP
so it can reclaim spectrum for wireless broadband before a looming spectrum
crunch gets any worse.

But Walden was suggesting a more tortoise than hare
approach. He said he would not be "rushed by arbitrary or historical
timelines or deadlines," adding: "I want to make sure the
subcommittee and the full committee have as solid an understanding of spectrum
needs and demands and issues involved as possible before we legislate." He
said he does plan to legislate, but that he "wants to get it right"
the first time.

The subcommittee held the first of several spectrum hearings
Tuesday, with a focus on spectrum for emergency communications. Walden said
future hearings will also look at who has spectrum, who is using it, what the
demands and needs are, what issues arise when you change things, how is the
marketplace affected, and who pays for it.

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