Spectrum Auctions: Sens. Want 'Expeditious' Coordination With Mexico, Canada

Tell Acting FCC Chair That Swift Action is Essential

Yet another group of legislators has asked the FCC to get moving on coordination with Mexico and Canada as it prepares its plan for reclaiming broadcast spectrum for auction and repacking stations to free up contiguous blocks for that auction.

The latest is from a bipartisan group of senators including members of the Commerce Committee and the chair of the Judiciary committee.

In a letter to acting FCC chair Mignon Clyburn, they praised her leadership in implementing the voluntary broadcaster incentive auction, but also said it is "essential" that international coordination be Addressed expeditiously."

They pointed out that there were some border coordination problems during the DTV transition, which had a much longer time line than the auction, which is targeted for completion by the end of next year. "It is important that the FCC takes advantage of the insights gained during the DTV transition in caarrying out this coordination process," they wrote.

They expressed concern about insuring a successful auction that frees up spectrum for wireless broadband, pays for the FirstNet first responder network, and reduces the deficit, but they also make a point of saying such coordination will "ensure sufficient channel allotments for local broadcasters who continue to serve their local communities.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) who represents constituents on the Canadian border, has been the most vocal in his call for completing that coordination before the FCC starts auctioning spectrum, but a number of other congressional delegations have weighed in as well.

Among those signing the letter, which was dated last Friday (Sept. 20), were Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of Judiciary, and Commerce Committee members Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.).