Minority lawmakers warn FCC not to disrupt local TV in auctions

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Congress authorized the FCC to hold incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum earlier this year. The commission will pay broadcasters to give up their spectrum licenses and auction off the licenses to wireless carriers, which have struggled in recent years to keep pace with the skyrocketing demands placed on their networks by smartphones and tablet computers.

But the groups noted that 28 percent of Asian households, 23 percent of black households and 26 percent of Latino households rely exclusively on over-the-air TV — much higher than the national average.

"While we applaud the FCC's goal to stimulate the nation's wireless broadband ecosystem with new spectrum, we expect FCC to ensure that there is no degradation or loss of service to our constituents," they wrote in a letter sent last Friday.

The letter was signed by Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus; Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

The FCC is expected to vote on moving ahead with the auctions at its meeting later this week.