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FCC task force to handle spectrum auction

Ruth Milkman to organize sales to wireless realm

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the agency is forming a task force to implement its plan to auction off broadcast spectrum for wireless use.

Ruth Milkman, special counsel to the chairman for innovation in government, will manage the task force, which Genachowski said is necessary given the complexities of the process. The plan is for broadcasters to volunarily give up their spectrum and share in the proceeds of auctioning it to wireless firms, part of an effort to free up some 120 MHz to expand broadband.

Genachowski said, “There’s no doubt that the task ahead will be complex and challenging. Incentive auctions are unprecedented. The legislation, at over 100 pages, raises many difficult issues.”

Congress gave the FCC authority to conduct the auctions in legislation that passed in February. The auctions are expected to include “repacking” of TV stations in the band. It’s still unclear just how much spectrum broadcasters will be willing to give up.