Skip to main content

NCTA Backs Incentive Auction Legislation With Unlicensed 'Flexibility'

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has joined, Google, Consumers Union and a hundred other companies and associations in backing incentive auction legislation, specifically legislation that would give the FCC flexibility to set aside more beachfront broadcast spectrum for unlicensed.

That comes as payroll tax conferees try to hammer out a compromise on incentive auction legislation by the end of this week. A Republican-backed incentive auction proposal would not provide that flexibility -- they argue there is already plenty of unlicensed spectrum available and that setting aside more would reduce the auction proceeds needed to pay for the payroll tax break and extending unemployment benefits.

But NCTA and company say some of that beachfront needs to be set aside, or at least available, for "driving innovation, promoting rural broadband deployment, and creating new services in the wireless ecosystem."

Cable operators, for one, are using it to build out Wi-Fi hotspots as a value-added to their wired broadband customers on the move.

"We reiterate our strong belief that compromise legislation should include language that gives the FCC clear flexibility to make appropriate spectrum allocation decisions that will raise revenue, support vibrant wireless competition and technological innovation, and promote rural broadband deployment. We urge Senate and House negotiators to include provisions that preserve the FCC's existing authority to respond to changes in this continually evolving and dynamic market."