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Donovan: Broadcasters Already Using Spectrum Efficiently

Broadcasters' top spectrum policy lobbyist said Wednesday (Feb. 24) that broadcasters are already using their spectrum efficiently and have only a fraction of the beachfront spectrum wireless broadband providers are eyeing.

In a statement responding to the FCC's announced plan for a voluntary reclamation of TV spectrum, David Donovan, president of the Association For Maximum Service Television, said that he was "struck" by the "apparent focus" of the plan on broadcast spectrum.

"We have exclusive use of only 5.1% of the so-called beachfront spectrum that broadband services desire," said Donovan. "To this end, we have supported a spectrum inventory to assess spectrum use and demand by all entities using spectrum," he said.

Donovan said MSTV would examine the "voluntary" plan (his quotes) closely, and would work with the commission to help "facilitate the broadband plan."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowksi announced in a speech Wednesday that a so-called Mobile Future Auction, in which broadcasters would share in auction proceeds if they voluntarily gave up spectrum, would be part of that national broadband plan, due to Congress March 17.

But Donovan also said consumers should not be forced to "sacrifice access" to their favorite free, over-the-air content--"programs, news, emergency information, and local mobile video services"--to "divert" spectrum to pay services from wireless phone companies.