FCC Starts Work to Unleash TV Spectrum for Mobile Broadband

After discussing the possibility for more than a year, the FCC has voted 5-0 to explore whether to free up TV spectrum for wireless broadband services.

The move could lead to an auction of 120MHz of spectrum as part of President Obamas aim of making 500MHz of spectrum available over the next 10 years. Such an auction also could raise $120 billion.

For now, though, the notice of proposed rulemaking comes with conditions including spectrum in TV bands will be open to fixed, mobile and broadcast services; and the limits on VHF stations power would be raised.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said on Tuesday the rulemaking is needed to prevent a dearth of spectrum, a problem that would stifle innovation in the United States. Indeed, mobile data consumption is projected to soar more than 700 percent over the next five years. Genachowski also emphasized that Congress should consider compensating broadcasters for any spectrum loss.

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