FCC’s Genachowski won’t confirm voluntary spectrum auction in oversight hearing

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Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) told FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that he has “some dark suspicions” that broadcasters may face mandatory spectrum givebacks for an upcoming auction, reports Broadcasting & Cable. At an FCC oversight hearing in Washington today (Feb. 16), Dingell pushed Genachowski for a yes or no answer as to whether the auction, which will free up bandwidth for mobile devices, will be voluntary. “We haven’t addressed that question,” Genachowski answered. “We’ve proposed a win-win-win incentive auctions that will free up billions of dollars and bring market incentives into spectrum allocations, helping give this country what it needs – a lot more spectrum for mobile broadband.”

“Do you believe that a broadcaster who does not participate in voluntary incentive auctions should be forced to relinquish its current spectrum allocation, yes or no?” Dingell demanded. When Genachowski began talking about the importance of broadcasting, Dingell accused him of “contemplating your navel” and asked for a response in writing.

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