An official at the Federal Communications Commission has suggested that it might be possible to craft a grand bargain whereby television broadcasters get cash for some (or all) of their current spectrum if they return it to the FCC for reallocation and auction. Such a deal could, eventually, open up significant amounts of prime spectrum for next-generation mobile broadband and data services.
Is such a deal feasible and in the best interests of broadcasters? Is the arrangement necessary to encourage growth in broadband penetration consistent with the goals of the Recovery Act? Will Congress go along with the deal, or would it be blocked as contrary to “the public interest?” Alternatively, would lawmakers back the deal but seek a significant cut of the auction proceeds, leaving less available for broadcasters? These and other policy issues were discussed at “Let’s Make a Deal: Broadcasters, Mobile Broadband, and a Market in Spectrum,” a congressional seminar hosted by The Progress & Freedom Foundation.
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