Bill would give broadcasters some spectrum auction cash, set annual fees on existing use

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Under legislation introduced Monday (July 19) in the Senate, broadcasters would share in the proceeds of a spectrum auction, according to TVNewsCheck. In the Spectrum Measurement and Policy Reform Act, put forward by Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the Federal Communications Commission would determine how auction proceeds would be allocated between license holders and the government. The legislation would also authorize the Commerce Department to set annual fees on existing spectrum users based “on the fair market commercial value of that spectrum” as determined by the FCC. The government sees the auction as a way to clear spectrum space needed for the increasing number of wireless devices (Current, Feb. 8, 2010). The FCC’s National Broadband Plan recommended the auction money be used to create a public media trust fund; however, the White House signaled in June that it would prefer spectrum cash go to public safety, infrastructure job creation and deficit reduction.