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Genachowski Urges Broad Participation in Auction

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski Friday urged broad participation
in the FCC's upcoming spectrum incentive auctions, a draft framework for which
he is circulating among the other commissioners for their input and vote Sept.
28, if not sooner.

"Even as the Commission draws on the expertise of the
world's leading economists, auction design experts, and engineers, our ability
to maximize the opportunities of spectrum will depend on the active engagement
of the public and all stakeholders," he said in a statement Friday.
"I urge broad participation by all."

That would be broad as in "broadcasters," whose
spectrum the FCC wants back, and as in wireless "broadband," whose
spectrum holdings the FCC wants to swell as demand for their services increase.

Holding out a carrot to concerned broadcasters, he said that
they would have "a new and unique financial opportunity as a result of
incentive auctions." He did not elaborate, but the most immediate would be
the government payout for exiting their spectrum altogether or some portion of

As B&C
reported previously, the FCC is launching an education effort so broadcasters know
what they are getting into.

"The Commission is committed to making every effort to
be a resource to the broadcaster community," he said, "which is why
we are launching a new ‘Broadcaster LEARN Program,' designed to empower
decision-makers. Through this program, a host of new resources will be
available as broadcasters and others participate in the comment process and
consider this business decision."

For Genachowski's entire statement, click

So far there has not been a groundswell up public
broadcaster support for giving up their spectrum, with the National Association
of Broadcasters more focused on making sure broadcasters who remain in business
have sufficient interference protections and coverage areas. The FCC is bound
by statute to make all reasonable efforts to replicate the audiences and
protect the signals of the stations that are moved or repacked into smaller
chunks of bandwidth to free up larger, contiguous, blocks for re-auctioning.