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FCC Votes for TV Spectrum Auction

FCC launches first-in-the-world incentive auction to repurpose broadcast TV sprectrum for mobile broadband

September 28, 2012

1 Min Read

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission today voted to officially launch the incentive auction process, making the United States the first nation in the world to implement this major policy innovation, which aims to repurpose broadcast television spectrum for mobile broadband use. The concept was first introduced in the National Broadband Plan as part of the Commission’s multi-pronged strategy to meet skyrocketing demand for mobile Internet in the United States, and became the foundation for legislation that was signed into law in February 2012. As mobile device adoption continues to grow around the world, this incentive auction will be a model for many countries facing similar spectrum challenges.

Spectrum is our nation’s ‘invisible infrastructure,’ supporting mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that require much more spectrum than traditional cell phones to support the rapidly growing demands of consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs who increasingly rely on mobile Internet to communicate and innovate. For instance, today’s smartphones use 35 times more spectrum than traditional cell phones, and tablets use 121 times as much spectrum. This consumer demand puts a tremendous strain on the nation’s invisible infrastructure in ways that require innovative new approaches to spectrum policy in order to spur continued economic growth, and help maintain America’s global leadership in mobile.

Incentive auctions are one way to satisfy this consumer demand. These auctions are a market-based tool to repurpose broadcast television spectrum for mobile broadband by offering unique financial opportunities to broadcasters, including a portion of the auction proceeds for participants. The Commission expects a healthy and vibrant broadcasting industry to thrive after the auction, with expanded business opportunities for multi-platform growth in a more robust mobile ecosystem.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

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