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HP Joins Call For Incentive Auctions

April 20, 2011

Hewlett-Packard says it favors the use of incentive auctions to free up more spectrum for mobile broadband technologies such as its new tablet the TouchPad.

"We have to continue to open the spigot" of spectrum, Larry Irving, HP's vice president of global government affairs, told Tech Daily Dose Wednesday in an interview.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed incentive auctions as a way to free up more spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless broadband technologies such as smart phones and tablet computers. The proposal, which will require congressional approval, calls for enticing broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum in exchange for a share in the proceeds from the auction of those airwaves.

HP has a vested interest in mobile broadband as a top maker of personal computers and laptops and wireless technologies such as its soon-to-be released TouchPad and its new smart phones the Pre 3 and Veer.

"If you don't have incentive auctions, you won't get people to step up," Irving said, referring to current spectrum holders such as broadcasters. During the Clinton administration, Irving headed the Commerce Department's National Telecommunication and Information Administration, which is in charge of maintaining the nation's spectrum inventory.

He noted that then the agency released between 200 and 300 megahertz of spectrum and that it's important regulators continue to free up as much spectrum as possible. Irving did not endorse any of the particular legislative proposals to implement incentive auctions, saying only that his firm wants to "see a swift resolution" of the issue.

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