The Federal Communications Commission moved on the first phase of legislation designed to free up more spectrum for wireless networks on Friday, approving a plan that allows television stations to share channels as a way to use spectrum more efficiently.
Under the plan, broadcasters may tell officials what it would cost to get them to share their spectrum -- for instance, leaving broadcasting altogether or exchanging their frequencies for some that are less desirable. Through spectrum auctions, broadcasters could get cash as an incentive.
“A TV station that is struggling today and doesn’t see a clear path to making more traction may want to think hard about one of the options that will be available for participation in the auction,” FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake said earlier this week at a Media Institute luncheon.
At the FCC's open meeting on Friday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called the move the first step in a complicated effort to squeeze more networks and services onto a finite amount of spectrum.