CEA Sounds Off On Spectrum 'Crisis'

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The Consumer Electronics Association again weighed in today on the ongoing debate over how the U.S. should best use its wireless spectrum, as president and CEO Gary Shapiro called the lack of available spectrum for new consumer devices a "national crisis."

Shapiro recited findings of a CEA-backed study that estimates the broadcast spectrum could be worth some $60 to $100 billion if auctioned off for "creative purposes."

The association drew the ire of broadcasters last month when it submitted the aforementioned study to the FCC, which has been taking a fresh look at spectrum allocation under new chairman Julius Genachowski.CEA defended itself by saying that it was merely trying to encourage creative thinking about how wireless spectrum could be utilized, and wasn't directly supporting such a move by the FCC.

But at a press event in New York previewing the upcoming CES show in Las Vegas this January, Shapiro again took a shot at broadcasters, noting that broadcasters' channels represented the "only spectrum out there that has not been paid for."

Shapiro said he will be discussing spectrum usage, as well as other hot policy topics like net neutrality, in a keynote one-on-one interview with Chairman Genachowski at the CES show on Friday, Jan. 8.

Some broadcasters have found CEA's spectrum study to be a figurative stab in the back in a year in which the broadcast industry has successfully completed a digital TV transition that helped sell millions of new HDTV sets for CEA members, as well as finalized a new standard for broadcasting DTV to mobile devices.

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