Originally published: July 29, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:43am
Reps Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the leaders of the House Commerce Communications Subcommittee, introduced a bill, the Voluntary Incentive Auctions Act of 2010, to empower the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct voluntary incentive auctions to free up spectrum for commercial wireless providers.
The bill would allow the FCC to conduct the auction and determine what cut broadcasters would get of the proceeds, but would prohibit it "from reclaiming the licenses of broadcast television licensees or any other licensees directly or indirectly on an involuntary basis for the purpose of conducting an incentive auction."
Originally one of the most contentious recommendations in the FCC's National Broadband Plan released in March, the possibility of offering incentives to spectrum licensees to relinquish their spectrum has become less controversial in recent weeks. That's after President Barack Obama endorsed the policy in June and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said such auctions would be acceptable as long as they are truly voluntary. The broadcasters had sought assurances that they would not be forced off the airwaves.
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