What’s Hot 04/16/2014

Barrow, 77 House Members Call for FCC to Open Auction (Congressman John Barrow, 4/15/14) This press release issued by Georgia Representative John Barrow discussing a letter—signed by Barrow and 77 other members of Congress—covers the urging of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to ensure a successful broadcast incentive auction. According to the release, Barrow stated: “The auctioning off of unused spectrum will generate revenue that can significantly pay down the national debt, and the availability of the new spectrum for mobile broadband will increase wireless access to the public and provide a much-needed first responders network when disaster strikes.” Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, also spearheaded the letter.
Telecommunications Reforms for Today’s Digital Economy – Commentary (Roll Call, 4/14/14) This piece has been penned the Internet Innovation Alliance’s Kristian Ramos on the need for “Telecommunications Reforms for Today’s Digital Economy.” Ramos writes that with “5.4 million Americans mak[ing] the switch from wire-based services…[to] wireless and Internet-based networks every year,” the Telecommunications Act of 1996 needs to updated. According to Ramos, “Creating a new regulatory framework to provide greater incentives for broadband deployment would spur investment and innovation in America’s 21st Century digital economy.”
Cell carriers clashing over auction rules (Hillicon Valley, 4/16/14) The Obama administration is hashing out the ground rules for a blockbuster spectrum auction next year that will pit the nation’s top wireless carriers against each other. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to auction off valuable low-frequency airwaves while balancing its congressionally mandated goal of raising revenue for the government with the competing business interests of wireless companies.
Broadcasting Anew (FCC Blog, 4/16/14) It is always special to be in attendance at the annual National Association of Broadcasters Show, and this year was no exception. The NAB does a good job of matching its members with FCC Commissioners and staff for informative, engaging and often spirited discussions. This was the case for me when I informally met with a group of network affiliates from around the country.
Broadband bill advances but tower concerns remain (The Macon Telegraph, 4/15/14) A legislative panel has backed a plan meant to extend broadband access to rural Iowans, though an agreement hasn’t been reached on language about the placement of new cell towers. The House Ways and Means Committee voted 16-to-9 Tuesday to advance the measure, but differences remain about language in the bill that gives cellular companies more uniform standards for tower placement.
FCC Teeing Up Spectrum Screen Item (B&C, 4/15/14) FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is expected by early next week, and perhaps as early as late this week, to circulate an order on its proposal to make changes to its local market spectrum aggregation screen, according to sources inside and outside the FCC.