PFF hosted a very animated discussion yesterday on the proposal to have broadcasters return some of their spectrum for auction in order to clear more spectrum for wireless broadband services. The event featured Blair Levin, Executive Director of the FCC's Omnibus Broadband Initiative, who has been at the center of recent reports that the agency has been talking to broadcasters and the wireless industry about such a proposal.
The tension between stakeholders was palpable as illustrated by heated exchanges between the panelists. Specific topics ranged from the true economic and social value of the spectrum held by broadcasters, to what specific bands would be viable to use for broadband services, to if there really is an upcoming spectrum crisis that needs to be proactively addressed. Panelists even touched upon how regulation of the broadcast industry could hinder any proposed deal. Excellent coverage of the event which describes the highlights better than I can be found at TVNewsCheck.com, WSJ Online, Communications Daily (subscription) and TR Daily (subscription).
Audio of the event is available here and a recent paper on the issue authored by Adam Thierer and Barbara Esbin is available here. A transcript of the event will be available shortly and Adam, who moderated the event, will share his thoughts on the event upon its release.