So long, net neutrality: FCC to focus on spectrum in new year

"Incentive auctions are an essential tool to unleash spectrum, and a vital part of seizing the opportunities of mobile. It's a non-partisan issue with bipartisan support," he said. 

He suggested the airwaves could be put to more efficient use than broadcast TV stations have been able to do.

"[S]ome broadcasters are making effective use of the capabilities of their spectrum, but some are not. For those who are not, their spectrum could be put to higher use for other purposes," he said, adding that the auctions will be voluntary. 

Genachowski suggested he has industry support for his spectrum goals.

"And during our work on the National Broadband Plan, the FCC received a strong letter from over a hundred companies — including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, and Verizon — entities representing many billions in investment and millions of American jobs," he said.