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Arlington, VA – 05/05/2011 – On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled a bold plan to address the nation’s shortage of wireless broadband capability by repurposing unused broadcast spectrum, but intense lobbying by broadcast television stations has stalled progress on this vital program. Today, the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA)® Innovation Movement launches the Spectrum Crunch Clock to help Americans visualize the economic costs of delay in spectrum reform. CEA’s Innovation Movement – over 100,000 engaged citizens who believe innovation is critical to American global leadership and economic growth – urges consumers to take action and write their Members of Congress in support of the need for more spectrum for new and innovative wireless broadband services. 

Wireless spectrum is the fuel that powers portable digital devices like laptops, e-readers, tablets and smartphones. As anyone frustrated by dropped calls or slow data downloads knows, wireless spectrum is limited and is not being used efficiently enough to provide the connections consumers demand. More spectrum cannot be created; so it is essential to responsibly utilize this resource. 

To solve this crisis, the FCC adopted a bipartisan plan to use incentive auctions to migrate underutilized broadcast spectrum to broadband services. A voluntary incentive auction would enable interested television broadcasters to get paid for returning their underutilized spectrum. It is estimated the auctions alone would generate approximately $33 billion for the U.S. Treasury and allow the spectrum to be used for wireless broadband and other services. (This estimate assumes all reclaimed spectrum is auctioned.)

CEA has calculated the value of lost opportunity to the U.S. economy and American consumers. Each minute the spectrum is not reallocated to higher value services, the American public is realizing a lost opportunity cost of $14,444, or $7.6 billion each year. Incentive auctions will create jobs, enhance innovation, reduce the national debt and amply compensate television broadcasters that choose to participate. Most important, such auctions will end the spectrum crunch so consumers can enjoy robust wireless broadband capability that will power our innovation-driven economy. 

For more information or to take action, visit

About the Consumer Technology Assocation

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $186 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services.  Find CEA online at and

Categories:  Public Policy & Government Affairs, Wireless  — Tags: 

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