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Congress

Democrats Have Concerns With House GOP Spectrum Draft

July 13, 2011

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and other Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have some concerns with the draft spectrum bill released Wednesday by the panel's top Republicans.

The draft measure "is a starting point but includes provisions that Eshoo and other Democrats will likely be unable to support," according to a House aide, who declined to outline their specific concerns. Eshoo, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, however, and other Democrats are continuing to talk to GOP members in an effort to produce a bipartisan bill they can support, the aide added.

Despite criticisms, the draft has won some praise. The National Association of Broadcasters applauded the incentive auction language. In a brief interview with Tech Daily Dose as he was walking into the Capitol Wednesday afternoon, NAB President Gordon Smith said the House draft was a "a good bill." His group is pleased that the draft authorizes the FCC to conduct only one round of incentive auctions. Without such a restriction, Smith, a former GOP senator from Oregon, said broadcasters worry Congress would continue to push for multiple rounds of such auctions as a way to generate additional revenues for the Treasury.

Verizon Senior Vice President Peter Davidson also praised the measure. He said the draft meets his firm's three goals of making more spectrum available for mobile services and providing for an open auction of such spectrum, while also making progress toward building a national broadband network for public safety officials.

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