Originally published: March 23, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:37am
In testimony prepared for a House oversight hearing, Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps advises Congress that the FCC should exercise "great caution" in reclaiming spectrum from broadcasters because of the potential harm to a diversity of voices, one of his signature concerns.
"I will be urging great caution," he plans to tell the House Communications Subcommittee, "because of the possibly detrimental effects of reallocating spectrum from those stations currently using it to serve diverse audiences. Every local voice that disappears runs against the grain of localism, diversity and competition." The plan includes a proposal to voluntarily collect at least 120 MHz of spectrum from broadcasters, auction that spectrum for wireless broadband uses, and compensate broadcasters from some of the proceeds. The last part of that equation gives Commissioner Copps pause as well. "Each of us would have, I am sure, some variations on the Plan that has been presented. In matters involving the reclamation of spectrum, for example, I am always conscious of the fact that the airwaves belong to the American people and that licensees may use that spectrum, but they do not own it," he said. "Talk about directly compensating licensees for spectrum runs into that reality."
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