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Spectrum Auctions: Sens. Want 'Expeditious' Coordination With Mexico, Canada

Yet another group of legislators has asked
the FCC to get moving on coordination with Mexico and Canada as it prepares its
plan for reclaiming broadcast spectrum for auction and repacking stations to
free up contiguous blocks for that auction.

The latest is from a
bipartisan group of senators including members of the Commerce Committee and
the chair of the Judiciary committee.

In a letter to
acting FCC chair Mignon Clyburn
they praised her for her leadership in implementing the voluntary broadcaster
incentive auction, but also said it is "essential" that international
coordination be Addressed expeditiously."

They point out that
there were some border coordination problems during the DTV transition, which
had a much longer time line than the auction, which is targeted for completion
by the end of next year. "It is important that the FCC takes advantage of
the insights gained during the DTV transition in carrying out this coordination
process," they wrote.

They are concerned
about insuring a successful auction that frees up spectrum for wireless
broadband, pays for the FirstNet first responder network, and reduces the
deficit, but they also make a point of saying such coordination will
"ensure sufficient channel allotments for local broadcasters who continue
to serve their local communities.

Rep. John Dingell
(D-Mich.) who represents constituents on the Canadian border, has been the most
vocal in his call for completing that coordination before the FCC starts
auctioning spectrum, but a number of other congressional delegations have
weighed in as well.

Among those signing
the letter, which was dated Sept. 20, were Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of
Judiciary, and Commerce Committee members Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Ron Johnson
of Wisconsin.