Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI12) joined with the entire Michigan congressional delegation in writing to Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, about the Commission's progress in coordinating with Canada and Mexico concerning broadcaster frequencies in border areas.
"The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires the Federal Communications Commission to coordinate with Canada and Mexico when auctioning off and reassigning broadcast channels," said Dingell. "The Act holds a great deal of promise to expand the amount of spectrum available for mobile broadband, but it also recognizes that border states, such as Michigan, are in a unique situation. I want to ensure that the incentive auctions are conducted fairly and do not deprive my constituents of free, over-the-air broadcasting. To that end, it's important that the Commission abide by the letter of the law and coordinate with Canada and Mexico. I look forward to Chairman's Genachowski's response to the Michigan Delegation's letter and also to working with him and the Commission on this very important issue moving forward."
Full text of the letter can be found below:
March 28, 2013
The Honorable Julius Genachowski
U.S. Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Having recently passed the one-year anniversary of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the Act), we are writing to you with respect to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC or Commission) implementation of the incentive auction provisions enacted last year. Specifically, as Senators and Members of Congress from a state with international borders, we are interested in ensuring that the Commission works with Canada and Mexico to preserve opportunities for broadcasting, as well as maximizing the amount of nationwide spectrum made available to meet our nation's demand for licensed mobile wireless broadband.
Section 6403(b)(1)(B) of the Act states that "subject to international coordination along the border with Mexico and Canada," the Commission can "make such reassignments of television channels as the Commission considers appropriate" to make available spectrum to carry out the forward auction. This is an extremely important provision of the Act. Border coordination impacts all television stations within 250 miles of the border with Canada. In order to maximize the amount of spectrum available for broadband, produce auction revenues that provide $7 billion for the buildout of a nationwide public safety broadband network, and preserve opportunities for over-the-air broadcasting, the Commission will need to work expeditiously with our neighbors to the north and south to coordinate operations.
We know that successful coordination with our neighbors is possible. During the DTV transition, the FCC undertook a comprehensive process to pre-approve frequency changes along the northern and southern borders to ease the impact of the transition on viewers and television broadcasters. With that in mind, we would like an update on the status of international coordination efforts. We request that you respond to the following questions by Tuesday, April 9, 2013:
1. What is the current status of coordination efforts with the Canadian or Mexican governments?
2. What is the Commission's timeline for international coordination?
3. What are the significant milestones that must be reached to complete the coordination?
4. Who will represent the FCC during these discussions? What other U.S. government officials will be participating?
5. When does the FCC expect the coordination efforts to be finalized with Canada and Mexico? Is there a target date for completion?
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter. Please submit your responses to the delegation in writing to Mark Ratner in Congressman Upton's office. Should you have any questions, please contact Mark at telephone number 202-225-3761.
Debbie Stabenow Carl Levin
Dan Benishek, M.D. Bill Huizenga
Justin Amash Dave Camp
Dan Kildee Fred Upton
Tim Walberg Mike Rogers
Sander Levin Candice S. Miller
Kerry Bentivolio John D. Dingell
John Conyers Gary Peters