Senate to hold hearing on FCC auction

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday afternoon on the upcoming spectrum auction.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to buy back the licenses of TV broadcasters for auction to cellphone service providers. 

The additional spectrum will help the wireless providers meet the skyrocketing demand for mobile data, and the auction revenue will help the government pay for a nationwide wireless network for first responders and to reduce the national debt. 

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Building the public safety network, a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission Report, is a top priority for Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

The Justice Department has urged the FCC to cap the amount of spectrum that Verizon and AT&T can buy, warning that the two largest carriers could use the auction to dominate the industry. But Republican lawmakers have urged the commission to allow as much participation as possible.