FCC eyes broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed a “Mobile Future Auction” that would allow television broadcasters to “voluntarily” relinquish spectrum in exchange for a share of auction proceeds.

 According to Genachowski, “no area” of the broadband ecosystem holds more promise for “transformational innovation” than mobile.

“Breakthrough new devices that put the power of a ‘PC-in-your-pocket,’ combined with billions in network investments have liberated broadband from the desktop and made it possible to imagine a world where the Internet is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime,” explained Genachowski.

“[But] America is facing a looming spectrum crunch. Spectrum – our airwaves – really is the oxygen of mobile broadband service. Without sufficient spectrum, we will starve mobile broadband of the nourishment it needs to thrive as a platform for innovation, job creation and economic growth.”


As such, the FCC has set an ambitious goal of freeing up 500 Megahertz of spectrum over the next decade with its “voluntary” Mobile Future Auction for existing spectrum broadcaster licensees.

“While overwhelmingly – roughly 90 percent – of Americans receive their broadcast TV programming in most major markets through cable wires or satellite signals, there are still millions of Americans who receive TV through over-the-air antenna TV,” said Genachowski. 

“Broadcasters would be able to continue to serve their communities with free over-the-air local news, information, and entertainment; and they would be able to experiment mobile TV. The Mobile Future Auction would allow broadcasters to elect to participate in a mechanism that could save costs for broadcasters while also being a major part of the solution to one of our country’s most significant challenges.”