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Genachowski Puts Spectrum Hopes In Super Committee

October 14, 2011

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski called on Congress for what seemed like the zillionth time on Friday to pass incentive auction legislation.

This time he tipped his hat on how he thinks the proposal can move across the finish line this year: by way of the super committee.

The policy in question--incentive auctions--would free up airwaves for mobile broadband by offering incentives for TV broadcasters to sell off spectrum, closing down channels or even going out of business.

But the popular policy--favored by lawmakers in both parties, the White House, and the powerful tech and wireless industries--has stumbled this year on its way to passage. Congress just hasn't been able to get the proposal into a viable bill despite trying stand-alone bills and trying to stick it in fast-moving packages.

Some auction proponents hope the super committee may include the policy in anything it comes up with. That idea sounds good to the FCC.

"I'm encouraged that the super committee is giving incentives a hard look," Genachowski said during a Q&A session at the Chamber of Commerce on Friday. "The cost of delay is massive."

Four members of the super committee expressed support for incentive auctions in a letter last week.

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