Public Knowledge Commends FCC Statement on Importance of Unlicensed Spectrum

On Tuesday evening, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski voiced concern about language that has been rolled into recently-passed the House GOP payroll tax bill. While the bill does create voluntary incentive auctions for spectrum reallocation, it does not allow the FCC to adopt unlicensed spectrum policies, among other things.

Chairman Genachowski’s statement is here

The following statement is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge:

“Especially in light of the recent study by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) which found that the consumer benefits of unlicensed spectrum exceed $50 billion every year, we commend Chairman Genachowski for highlighting the importance of unlicensed spectrum. We could not agree with him more that

Unlicensed spectrum stimulates innovation, investment, and job creation in many ways, including by providing start-ups with quick access to a testbed for spectrum that is used by millions, bringing new technologies to consumers in a rapid fashion. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cordless phones, garage door openers, wireless car keys, and baby monitors—industries generating billions of dollars of revenue—would not exist without unlicensed spectrum.

“In addition, we share the Chairman’s concern that ‘several provisions of the House bill would tie the agency’s hands in ways that would be counterproductive.’ In order to maximize the potential of the incentive auctions, the FCC needs the flexibility to adopt policies that spur growth and innovation.

“We also have specific concerns about the bill forbidding the FCC from using eligibility requirements in spectrum auctions and by repealing the agency’s open internet rules. We hope Congress as a whole will ultimately pass a version that preserves the FCC’s ability to protect innovation and consumers."

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