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National Association of Broadcasters Wants Spectrum Auctions to be Voluntary

in Spectrum by

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2010 – The National Association of Broadcasters wrote a letter encouraging the reclamation of spectrum as a voluntary action by owners.

Gordon Smith, president of the NAB, wrote to Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, asking that policy reflect four suggestions outlined in the letter.

“We have no quarrel with incentive auctions that are truly voluntary,” Smith wrote, “We are concerned, however, that an arbitrary goal of reallocating 120 MHz of the spectrum currently designated for broadcast television – more than forty percent of the current allotment – would create a number of serious engineering and practical difficulties.”

Smith asked that current broadcast conditions remain unaffected.

“Future spectrum policy must ensure” that spectrum reallocation not affect the current access the public has to digital broadcast. Current signal strength must also remain unaffected by the spectrum reallocation.

Additionally, broadcasters should not be affected in future innovation because of their choice to give up or not give up spectrum, especially with coming 3DTV. “Stations that choose not to participate … must not lose the ability to innovate,” Smith wrote.

Finally, stations should not have new spectrum taxes imposed on them for the spectrum that they don’t give up.

Smith did extend his appreciation to Summers for his assurances that any reclamation of broadcast spectrum would be administered on a voluntary basis.

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