NAB Outlines Spectrum Policy For White House

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National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith outlined the association's spectrum policy in a letter Monday to Lawrence Summers, director of the White House's Economic Policy Council.

Summers weighed in with the administration's support for the FCC's spectrum reclamation proposals in a speech to the New America Foundation June 28. Smith told Summers that he thought a "holistic" approach to spectrum policy could find spectrum to repurpose without compromising broadcasters' ability to deliver a robust service to viewers.

Smith said he had no problem with incentive auctions that were truly voluntary, but said that any spectrum policy must make sure that 1) viewers still have access to broadcast digital offerings including multicast channels and mobile DTV; 2) that stations who do not give up spectrum do not suffer reduced coverage or signal degradation and interference; 3) viewers must be able to benefit from innovative new uses of broadcast spectrum by broadcasters themselves, including on-demand programming and 3DTV; and 4) broadcasters should not be charged a user fee for remaining on their spectrum.

The 3DTV argument is not one that has surfaced much in broadcaster arguments over why they need to keep their over-the-air spectrum, probably because broadcasters have not yet figured out how they are going to deliver 3DTV in the 6 Mhz they have. But for some stations, not giving up spectrum could be a hedge on a future where 3D becomes a priority rather than a novelty.

"We stand ready to work constructively through a fact-based process that remains truly voluntary and founded upon the engineering realities of sound spectrum management," Smith said.

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