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White House Backs Budget Bill With Federal Spectrum Auction

The White House Wednesday came out strongly in support of H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, whose passage would, in addition to funding the government and preventing a December shut-down, would provide for auctions of government spectrum down the road.

The bill directs the Secretary of Commerce to submit a report to the President and the FCC identifying 30 MHz in bands of at least 10 MHz of contiguous frequencies for such reallocation.

The President is then directed to withdraw or modify the licenses of federal spectrum holders after which the FCC will designate it for non-federal of shared use.

The White House did not point specifically to the auction provision, but did say the bill will help grow the economy.

The auction would have to begin by July 1, 2024, with all the costs and then some (110% of those costs) required to be covered by the proceeds.

The FCC would also be required to submit reports to Congress within three years on proposals to free up more spectrum that can be shared by incumbents with new licensed and unlicensed services and identify at least one GHz of spectrum between 6 GHz and 57 GHz for that purpose.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.