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WASHINGTON – President Obama today announced an effort to make available 500 megahertz of spectrum currently controlled by the federal government and private companies. Most of the spectrum would be designated for auction for use in mobile broadband services. Some aspects of the plan will require congressional approval.

Free Press Policy Counsel M. Chris Riley issued the following statement:

“We are glad the White House is taking the necessary steps to help move a crucial piece of the National Broadband Plan. We encourage the administration to support the rest of the plan, which is now in jeopardy, by endorsing FCC Chairman Genachowski’s Third Way proposal to restore the agency's broadband oversight authority.

“While today’s announcement is commendable, additional spectrum alone will not fix a broken market. For consumers to realize the full benefit of this reallocation of our public airwaves, the FCC and Congress must take steps to promote competition in the mobile broadband industry. Congress, the White House and the FCC should commit to dedicating a substantial portion of reallocated spectrum to unlicensed usage, in addition to auctioned spectrum. The FCC should also reinstate spectrum caps or tighter screens, impose and enforce build-out requirements to ensure that companies do not warehouse newly acquired spectrum, and move forward with handset exclusivity, data roaming and other policy problems facing consumers in the mobile broadband market.”

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