Policy

Michigan Rep. Hansen Calls For Incentive Auction Hearing

8/06/2012 3:00 PM Eastern

Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) says that insuring that broadcasters retain their coverage areas after the FCC reclaims spectrum and repacks stations in incentive auctions is an important emergency communications issue that deserves its own Hill hearing.

In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the subcommittee, Rep. Hansen said that the auctions could impact the "growing number" of people who are broadcast-only viewers. "I believe it is essential that broadcasters retain their service areas during the auction process so they may continue to provide emergency information and news to the local community."

Congress has instructed the FCC to make its best effort to replicate that coverage, but even some broadcasters have conceded that it may not be possible to replicate it exactly.

He said it would be in the best interests of national security to insure that service loss was minimized, particularly in rural and "underserved" areas, a term usually reserved for broadband buildouts.

He also put in a plug for a hearing on including radio chips in mobile devices, which broadcasters have argued is important for relaying emergency information beyond a limited text message. " I believe the use of broadcast radio chips can provide consumers with fast and reliable access to both emergency alerts and in-depth emergency information," said Clarke.

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