FCC chair says he wants to release 500 MHz of spectrum over 10 years

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FCC Chair Julius Genachowski has revealed a specific number for the amount of spectrum the agency wants to see freed up: 500 Mhz. Also, he confirmed what many experts have expected, that there will indeed be a spectrum auction for that bandwidth. In a speech today (PDF) to the New America Foundation, a D.C. progressive think tank, Genachowski said the National Broadband Plan to be presented to Congress next month “will work closely” with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration over the next decade to release the spectrum. The plan proposes a “Mobile Future Auction” permitting existing licensees, “such as television broadcasters in spectrum-starved markets,” to relinquish spectrum in exchange for a share of auction proceeds. “Now, I’ve mentioned broadcast spectrum – so let me be clear: the recommendation is for a voluntary program,” he noted. Public broadcasters are watching the spectrum debate with interest, as stations stand to monetarily gain from an auction but would give up valuable bandwidth to do so (Current, Feb. 8, 2010).

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