APTS, PBS, CPB among entities commenting to FCC on spectrum auctions

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Several public-interest media organizations filed comments with the FCC regarding its October 2012 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for spectrum incentive auctions to clear bandwidth for mobile devices. Deadline for input was Jan. 25.

The 45-page filing from the Association of Public Television Stations, CPB and PBS stresses that auction rules need to ensure the public’s universal access to television service. It also recommends that licensees have at least three years to complete transition to any new channel assignments; that the FCC take “every reasonable step” to avoid off-air time; and that the agency seek funding from Congress for a public education campaign. Public television “urges the Commission to recognize the vital role that CPB-qualified stations play in the life of the American public,” APTS says in its conclusion. “In its efforts to promote robust mobile broadband networks while preserving healthy, diverse broadcast television services, the Commission should maintain the public’s universal access to the critical television services that CPB-qualified Stations provide, minimize any disruptions to the nation’s television services as a result of the repacking, and promote a simple and transparent auction design.”

The Public Interest Spectrum Coalition, comprised of the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation; the Consumer Federation of America; Public Knowledge, an advocate for an open Internet; and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, says in its 70-page submission that it supports the FCC’s work to relocate spectrum, but believes that the FCC “can best optimize TV band spectrum for broadband deployment, job creation, consumer welfare and economic growth more broadly only by ensuring that unlicensed access to substantial amounts of TV White Space spectrum will continue to be available in every local market and nationwide, with a portion of that spectrum being contiguous nationwide.”

And media reform advocate Free Press says in its 17-page comments that the FCC “has the discretion and authority to balance all of these interests in a way that both maximizes the value of auctioned spectrum and preserves open spectrum — a platform that will continue promoting innovation and generating significant economic growth.”

Congress gave the FCC authority to conduct spectrum auctions in February 2012.

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