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Increasing Spectrum & Mobile Broadband Access



STAFF CONTACTS

JULIE KEARNEY
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
703-907-7644
jkearney@CE.org

VERONICA O'CONNELL
Vice President, Government and Political Affairs
703-907-7577
voconnell@CE.org

ALEX REYNOLDS
Director, Regulatory Affairs
703-907-4169
areynolds@CE.org

SPECTRUM


As consumers rely more and more on wireless devices and services, our nation faces a looming spectrum shortfall. CEA strongly supports government efforts to free up spectrum for licensed and unlicensed use in three key ways: (1) repurposing TV broadcast spectrum for valuable wireless broadband uses; (2) exploring spectrum sharing; and (3) and clearing and repurposing underutilized federal spectrum. In particular, TV broadcast spectrum repurposed through voluntary incentive auctions will promote innovation and job creation, reduce the national debt, and amply compensate television broadcasters that choose to participate. Most important, incentive auctions will greatly alleviate the spectrum crunch so Americans can enjoy robust wireless broadband capability that will power our innovation-driven economy.

  • June 12, 2015 – The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) and Sinclair's lawsuits alleging that the FCC decided to use the wrong methodology for calculating the coverage area of broadcasters to facilitate the broadcast incentive auction. CEA, jointly with CTIA-The Wireless Association and the Competitive Carriers Association, had filed an amicus brief with the court supporting the FCC. The DC Circuit found that each of NAB's arguments was meritless. Now that the case has been decided, the FCC has a clear path forward to the auction.
  • June 11, 2015 – CEA filed comments urging the FCC not to interfere with the development of LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) and License Assisted Access (LAA) technologies. The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a public notice requesting comment on whether it should take a more active role in the development of LTE-U and LAA technologies. CEA explained that industry work is ongoing, with rapid development in standards bodies and industry consortia. Rather than managing the LTE-U and LAA development process, CEA stated that the FCC should continue to focus on making unlicensed spectrum more available.
  • May 21, 2015 – Julie Kearney, vice president, regulatory affairs, moderated a panel entitled "Future of Unlicensed Spectrum" at the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) Annual Conference. Kearney guided panelists through a conversation that included an overview of the potential of unlicensed spectrum in TV broadcast bands, the importance of unlicensed spectrum to anchor institutions and recent FCC rulemakings that impact the availability of unlicensed spectrum.
  • May 5, 2015 – The FCC announced the membership of its rechartered Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC), which considers issues on consumer protection and education, consumer participation in FCC rulemaking processes and the impact of emerging technologies. Julie Kearney, vice president, regulatory affairs, was chosen to represent CEA on the CAC—her sixth term on the committee.
  • April 20, 2015 – CEA filed reply comments in response to the FCC’s proposal to expand the spectrum available for vehicular radar operations. CEA supports the proposal, as additional spectrum for vehicle radar technologies will permit advancements in safety, efficiency, and convenience. Additionally, the proposal would harmonize the United States’ use of that spectrum with international allocations, promoting economies of scale. Finally, CEA supported licensing vehicular radars in this band using Part 95 of the Commission’s rules, which strikes the correct balance between interference protection and ease of licensing.
  • April 16, 2015 – CEA filed a response to an FCC proceeding that is evaluating whether to permit a Terrestrial Low Power Service (“TLPS”) in the 2.4 GHz band. Currently, the 2.4 GHz band is a mainstay for unlicensed wireless uses such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. CEA urged the Commission to conduct additional rigorous tests, as serious questions still remain regarding the ability of TLPS to co-exist with incumbent unlicensed users.
  • March 12, 2015 – The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held an oral argument in NAB v. FCC, where NAB challenges the FCC’s decision to use a certain methodology to calculate the area served by broadcast stations for purposes of the broadcast TV incentive auction. CEA, along with CTIA—The Wireless Association and the Competitive Carriers Association, intervened in the case to highlight the importance of the Court’s forthcoming decision to the success of the auction. In our allotted time, we supported the FCC’s decision and highlighted the need for the FCC to have flexibility in order to make the auction a success for both wireless broadband and broadcasters.
  • February 4, 2015 – CEA filed comments in both the unlicensed spectrum and wireless microphone proceedings related to the FCC’s upcoming TV broadcast spectrum incentive auction. CEA said in both proceedings that the FCC should carefully consider the risks and benefits of microphone operations in the 600 MHz band, and outlined some of the technical considerations the FCC should evaluate as it moves forward.

OPEN INTERNET


We believe that consumers should have the right to attach devices of their choice to broadband networks as well as have unfettered access to content. CEA believes that the government can most effectively address the net neutrality debate by reallocating spectrum for wireless broadband use. This reallocation would ensure rapid broadband deployment and a competitive, pro-consumer broadband marketplace.

  • March 12, 2015 – The FCC released its open Internet rules prohibiting broadband Internet access service providers from blocking or degrading Internet traffic to their customers, and separately requires providers to make their Internet traffic management services transparent. Controversially, the FCC created these rules based on its authority under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996; a statute whose roots are embedded in utility regulation. While CEA fully supports an open Internet, we believe regulations based on Title II are the wrong approach.

NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN (NBP)


CEA supported the release of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan in March 2010. Specifically, CEA commended the FCC’s goals regarding our nation’s spectrum crisis, competition in the marketplace for video devices and accessibility issues. CEA will continue to work closely with the FCC through the rulemaking process to ensure that the goals of the NBP are met.

PARENTAL CONTROLS


In today’s fast- changing media landscape, the consumer electronics industry, policymakers and all other stakeholders share a common goal: to protect our children and help them to advance and thrive in today’s digital world. To that end, the CEA’s member companies have developed and continue to provide effective products and product features to help parents structure their children’s television experience. Video providers also offer a broad array of parental control tools. Interested parents can take advantage of this vibrant marketplace to find technological tools and services to tailor their children’s viewing experience to meet their family’s particular needs. Because a myriad of options for parents exist, CEA does not support government-mandated parental control technologies.

ATTACHMENT OF DEVICES TO PAY-TV SERVICES


CEA has long-supported the ability of consumers to attach the device of their choice to their pay-TV service. In the Telecom Act of 1996, Congress included language to ensure the availability of competitive devices at retail so that consumers could buy a device and attach it to their pay-TV service. The CableCARD was envisioned as a bridge between CE devices and pay-TV services, but this solution has been met with many roadblocks by the cable industry. CEA supported FCC action to strengthen its CableCARD rules. Recognizing the lack of competition in the market for competitive devices, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan recommended that the FCC initiate a proceeding to ensure that a “gateway” device is installed by pay-TV (MVPD) providers in all new subscriber homes and all homes requiring replacement set-top boxes by the end of 2012. The NBP suggested that the gateway device should be simple and that its sole function should only be to “bridge the proprietary or unique elements of the MVPD network.” CEA supports the continued use of CableCARDs and movement toward a gateway device. We must achieve a level playing field for competitive devices.

FCC COMMENT SUBMISSIONS


For submissions prior to 2013 please contact publicpolicy@ce.org