FCC Raises $19.5 billion in its Auction of the 700Mhz Radio Spectrum

Common Sense Media calls for portion of future spectrum auction funds to be spent on Internet safety education for kids
Common Sense Media
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Federal Communications Commission announced
last night that it had raised a record $19.5 billion in its auction of the
700Mhz radio spectrum, far surpassing early estimates of the auction’s
revenue-generating potential.

“The fact that the auction generated twice as much money as expected
demonstrates that the major media companies realize how much market potential
there is in wireless broadband access,” said Common Sense Media CEO James
Steyer. “As the companies that purchased rights to the spectrum begin to utilize
it for new products, we’re going to see more and more American consumers –
including millions of kids – having access to the Internet and wireless
technologies in more and more places. Common sense suggests that we’ll also need
to devote far more attention to making sure that kids and educators know how to
use the Web and wireless technologies in a safe and smart way.”

In January, Common Sense Media announced that it had joined with three former FCC Chairmen – Michael Powell, William Kennard, and Newton Minow – as well as
leading educators and technology experts to form the Digital Kids Task Force, which will work with lawmakers, educators, and business leaders on digital media
issues. Specifically, the task force will work to:

  • Support innovative digital media education programs for parents, teachers, and children to help America’s children learn digital safety and smarts.
  • Establish a centralized research program on the impact of digital media on children.
  • Develop educational programs that integrate digital media into curriculum and classrooms.
  • Build public awareness about the opportunities and potential dangers of digital media.

In a statement announcing that the auction had closed, FCC Chairman Kevin
Martin said that because the reserve price for the D-block – one segment of the
spectrum auction – had not been met, the FCC was considering options for that
block of spectrum. Congressional leaders are also considering new rules for a
D-block auction.

“If Congress and the FCC begin to look at a possible re-auction of the
D-block, we feel strongly that they should allocate all or a majority of the
proceeds to initiatives aimed at educating kids and families about how to be
safe and smart in the new digital world,” Steyer said. “The Internet is the new
playground for kids and we need to make sure that they know how to get the most,
and avoid the worst, of this new environment.”

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is the nation's leading
nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the media lives of children and
families. Today, millions of parents, educators, and young people will turn to
the Common Sense Media Guide for the trustworthy information, easy-to-use tools,
and practical guidance they need to raise a generation of media-savvy kids and
families. To become a member, please visit us at www.commonsensemedia.org.