Genachowski Rattles Off FCC Accomplishments

Says U.S. has regained global leadership in mobile innovation
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“Few, if any, federal agencies deliver a higher return on investment than the FCC.”

So said Chairman Julius Genachowski, appearing at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing about the FCC’s resource needs, during which he praised FCC management over three years and its progress in encouraging broadband.

The FCC 2013 budget requests a 2% increase to $346.7 million, which he described as “essentially flat adjusting for inflation.” The amount will be covered by fee collections; the number of employees budgeted for will remain flat.

The chairman spoke again about planned incentive auctions, of keen interest particularly to TV broadcasters; he called such auctions unprecedented. “The U.S. will be the first country in the world to conduct them. It will be a complex task affecting major parts of our economy and involving many challenging questions of economics and engineering.” But he called the auctions “an opportunity to unleash vitally needed additional spectrum for mobile broadband and create tremendous value for American consumers, while raising billions of dollars for deficit reduction.”

He said the FCC also wants to remove barriers to spectrum use; harness technologies like small cells; and speed spectrum-sharing between government and commercial users. He noted that the FCC is working with the NTIA to test spectrum-sharing in the 1755–1780 MHz band, “a band of particular interest to commercial carriers.”

Genachowski told senators that as a result of the commission’s broadband policies, investment, job creation and innovation “are up across the broadband economy … Our work is helping create jobs across the country, from workers constructing broadband infrastructure to agents at new broadband-enabled customer contact centers to employees of small businesses using broadband to expand to engineers and other innovators inventing the new digital future.”

He also avers that the U.S. has regained global leadership in mobile innovation. “American-designed apps and services are being adopted faster than any others. Our mobile innovation economy is the envy of the world. And we are now ahead of the world in deploying 4G mobile broadband at scale — with 64% of the world’s 4G LTE subscribers here in the U.S. These next-generation networks are projected to add $151 billion in GDP growth over the next four years, creating an estimated 770,000 new American jobs.”

He cited other recent accomplishments of the commission and said these have been done “with the lowest number of full-time employees in 10 years.”

Read the prepared remarks here.

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