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Spectrum Reclamation on FCC's Agenda

As promised, the FCC will propose new rules at its
Nov. 30 meeting to "remove obstacles" to the re-use of TV spectrum
for mobile broadband.

That is according to a tentative agenda for the
monthly public meeting released Thursday.

The commission will have to change rules on the
allocation of the broadcast spectrum to allow mobile broadband use, as well as
change the rules to allow for channel sharing by broadcasters. "Those are
barriers we need to lift," Genachowski told B&C in an interview last month.

The FCC will also propose finding ways to
improve DTV reception on the VHF band (channels 2-13) so more broadcasters
can be moved there and out of the UHF band (14-51), which is better suited than
UHF for wireless broadband. Of course, it is also better suited to DTV
broadcasts, as broadcasters found during the DTV transition. That is why
the FCC needs to find ways to make it more attractive.  "UHF has
characteristics that are stronger for mobile broadband," Genachowski
said "and we want to look at proposals to improve VHF so it is more
desirable for digital broadcasting so that we can end up with as much UHF
spectrum as possible released for mobile broadband and broadcasters being very
comfortable with VHF."

Also being teed up are notices to expand
experimental licensing and opportunistic uses of spectrum, including secondary

The FCC will need Congress to approve its use of incentive auctions,
which will compensate broadcasters for giving up spectrum. The commission does
not need that authority to take the above steps, but if broadcast spectrum
reclamation and reallocation is to be voluntary, as FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski has promised, the commission will need to compensate
broadcasters for giving up spectrum or for the cost and trouble of moving from
UHF to VHF as part of freeing up more space for broadband.