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Genachowski Applauds– With Reservations– Passage of Spectrum Bill

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called passed of spectrum
incentive auction authority legislation a major achievement, but still has
issues with the bill as do many Democrats.

The Republican-backed version of the bill passed Tuesday
as part of the payroll tax extension package of must-pass legislation, but the
president said he will veto that overall package if it gets to his desk in the
current form.

Genachowski pointed to the bill's provision of the FCC with
incentive auction authority and its funding of a broadband public safety
network as plusses, and he applauded the House, in this case that would be overwhelmingly
House Republicans, for those moves.

But like House Democrats, Genachowski is concerned about
portions of the bill he said could "tie the agency's hands in ways that
could be counterproductive."

He did not specify, but among the Republican-backed
portions of the bill was an amendment that would prevent open access or
wholesaling conditions on auctioned spectrum, and would limit the FCC's ability
to decide who would get to bid on the spectrum.

But the chairman did get specific with one element of the
bill: its prohibition on allocating any more of that freed-up spectrum for
unlicensed wireless. "Precluding the FCC from adopting innovation-enhancing
policies around unlicensed spectrum could threaten U.S. global leadership in
spectrum-related innovation," he said in a statement. "The same is
true for the bill's restrictions on the Commission's ability to construct band
plans and structure auctions in ways that maximize the value of licensed