After trading barbs over spectrum legislation for the last year, it seems broadcasters and the wireless industry have found something that can unite them: opposition to new spectrum fees.
In a letter Wednesday to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the chiefs of the National Association of Broadcasters and the wireless industry group CTIA called on the congressional super committee to scrap an Obama administration proposal to impose fees on some spectrum holders.
The proposal contained in the jobs bill the White House sent Congress last month called for giving the Federal Communications Commission authority to charge wireless companies, radio broadcasters, satellite firms and others who buy spectrum at auctions when they renew licenses. The proposal is projected to raise $4 billion over 10 years but would exempt television broadcasters and government spectrum users.
"This legislation ignores the considerable annual regulatory fees already borne by our respective industries and the tens of billions of dollars in private capital expended annually by wireless, satellite and commercial, non-commercial and public radio operators alike to build networks and invest in the infrastructure necessary to serve the American public," NAB CEO Gordon Smith and CTIA CEO Steve Largent, as well as the chiefs of three other groups affected by the White House proposal, wrote.
The NAB and CTIA have battled over a proposal backed by wireless operators to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband by enticing broadcasters to give up some of their airwaves for auction.