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July 20, 2010
Dennis Wharton
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NAB's Smith Outlines Principles on Spectrum Policy

WASHINGTON, DC -- Legislative and regulatory decisions impacting America's spectrum policy must adhere to four overarching principles, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said yesterday. In a letter sent to Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, Smith said he was "convinced that a holistic approach to spectrum policy" can identify and repurpose spectrum for mobile wireless communications services "without compromising broadcasting's ability to deliver free and local high definition TV, additional niche programming on multicast channels and mobile TV to our viewers."

Broadcasters have "no quarrel" with incentive auctions that are truly voluntary, Smith explained. But he went on to express concern "that an arbitrary goal of reallocating 120 MHz of spectrum currently designated for broadcast television--more than forty percent of the current allotment--would create a number of serious engineering and practical difficulties." Smith said the Federal Communications Commission's recent Broadcast Engineering Forum demonstrated that "there are flaws" in the FCC's Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

Smith outlined four principles, which he said future spectrum policy must ensure:

• Americans must maintain access to digital offerings currently provided by television broadcasters.

• Americans must not lose access to broadcast television based on signal strength degradations or limitations.

• Free TV viewers must continue to be beneficiaries of video innovation.

• Americans must not lose quality local TV because of new spectrum taxes.

"Our goal is simple: to work collaboratively on a two-track strategy that accomplishes the Administration's goals without compromising the future of America's robust and reliable digital television service that remains free, local and ubiquitous," Smith wrote.

The three-page letter is available in PDF format here.

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