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Strickling to Plug Incentive Auctions

National Telecomunications & Information Administration chief Lawrence Strickling plans to put in a plug for incentive auction legislation at a House Communications Subcommittee hearing on government spectrum use, while mirroring broadcasters requests that future spectrum needs of incumbent users be factored into the reclamation equation.

NTIA, an arm of Commerce, is the spectrum management agency for government users much as the FCC is for commercial licenseholders.

According to a copy of his prepared testimony, Strickling will urge Congress to pass legislation granting the FCC authority to hold incentive auctions, which will compensate broadcasters for giving up spectrum for auction to wireless broadband, and use some of the auctions proceeds for a national interoperable emergency broadband communications network.

"Importantly, it is critical that any spectrum reallocation legislation be feasible to implement and consistent with ongoing interagency work to find the most efficient and effective uses of our national spectrum resources." he says.

And just as broadcasters have said that any reclamation plan include flexibility for broadcasters to continue their crucial efforts as emergency responders and local news and information providers, Strickling will ask that the government also keep the ongoing spectrum needs of federal agencies in mind. "[S]tatutory requirements to reallocate specific bands must incorporate sufficient flexibility to permit the Administration to conduct appropriate feasibility assessments and develop repurposing options that best meet the goals of promoting economic growth and allowing Federal agencies to continue critical missions," he says.

But the bottom line is that NTIA supports reclaiming spectrum and boosting broadband's future. "Legislation that accomplishes the goals of improving spectrum management, providing a modern communications for the nation's first responders, while at the same time providing for considerable deficit reduction, is a compelling policy opportunity we must pursue to win the future and live within our means," he says.