Originally published: April 13, 2011
Last updated: April 28, 2011 - 1:01pm
National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith stepped back into his previous life as a U.S. senator at the NAB meeting, saying AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile may force lawmakers to question the efficacy of a proposal to persuade broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum to meet the mobile broadband boom.
If he were still a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, he said, he would question whether the FCC's proposal for incentive auctions will bring in the predicted proceeds. The FCC proposal, which must be approved by Congress, aims to entice broadcasters to give up their spectrum in exchange for a share of the proceeds from the auction of that spectrum.
"Were I still a member of the Commerce Committee and looking at budgetary numbers of $30 billion that [incentive auctions are] supposed to provide, and the biggest bidder just walked out, two of them, I would wonder what the options are," Smith said. "So as you begin to start to say, ok, we can compensate broadcasters, we can build out a public safety network we can add to the Treasury, I'm telling you can't do all those things."
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