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FCC Makes Graphic Pitch for Spectrum Give-Back

The FCC has come up with a retro-looking infographic on the "consumer impact of mobile broadband explosion" and the "benefits of voluntary incentive auctions."

The FCC is posting it on its Website to "illustrate the critical role of spectrum in the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans who increasingly adopt mobile broadband through smartphones and tablets" as well as "the current mobile explosion and, consequently, the looming spectrum crunch whereby demand for spectrum is rapidly outstripping supply."  

"Failure to free up more spectrum for mobile broadband," says the FCC in a release, "will stifle innovation and result in higher prices for consumers and growing network congestion.   

"Spec it out!" says the graphic, which is smartly designed and suitable for digital framing.

"Spectrum is the public airwaves, which Americans use every day. Without spectrum, you can't make cell phone calls, download digital textbooks, email on your smartphone, download an app to your tablet, use a remote control, or listen to the radio."

Interestingly, the FCC pitches the voluntary auctions as "companies" deciding to "give back underused spectrum," a view hardly shared by broadcasters. "The volunteers would retain a portion of the auction proceeds, and the rest of the proceeds would go to the U.S. Treasury."

The commission also estimates as much as a $30 billion take from those auctions, with the consumer benefits at ten times that, or $300 billion.

The graphic ends with the endorsement: Bipartisan Support in Congress; Supported By CEOs of Major American Companies; 112 Leading Economists Including Nobel Laureates."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been pushing Congress to give the FCC incentive auction authority so it can proceed with its spectrum reclamation plan."It is just disappointing that the FCC would put out this graphic and not even achowledge that free and local TV is also a user of spectrum," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton. "TV stations contribute $716 billion to the gross domestic product and suport 1.54 million jobs. We are going to contintue to try to protect free and local broadcasting and the viewers we serve."