FCC To Issue Spectrum Comment Request

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A spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission confirms that the commission will be issuing a public notice on spectrum "soon."

While the spokesman would not comment on specifics of the request for comment, a source says it essentially covers much of the same territory broadband advisor Blair Levin covered in conversations with broadcasters, the wireless industry and Wall Street about how to reclaim spectrum, including broadcast spectrum, for wireless use.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski continues the drumbeat for more spectrum for wireless, making the point again Dec. 1 in an interview on CNBC.

According to sources familiar with the conversations, Levin has talked with broadcasters about a number of possibilities, including aggregating channels on less spectrum, where they could deliver a standard-definition signal over-the-air but an HD signal over cable or satellite.

But broadcasters have been very public in their pushback, saying they need over-the-air HD and their full complement of spectrum to give viewers the signal they demand and deserve, as well as to deliver mobile TV and multicast channels. They have also argued that the spectrum is crucial to getting full value for their signals in retransmission consent negotiations.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch told a Federal Trade Commission workshop audience Dec. 1 that mobile was a big part of his TV stations' digital plans, as well as possibly being a delivery mechanism for newspaper content.

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