As part of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC will seek to free up an additional 500 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband use by encouraging television broadcasters and other current licensees to surrender unused or underused spectrum voluntarily in exchange for a share in the auction proceeds. In a speech before the New America Foundation on Wednesday, Genachowski offered yet another preview of the broadband plan, which the FCC will present to Congress in just three weeks. Describing spectrum as “the oxygen of mobile broadband service,” Genachowski told his audience that, over the next decade, the FCC will seek to double the amount of spectrum that is currently available for wireless use today. Noting that only half of the 300 MHz of spectrum currently allotted to the broadcast industry is in use, Genachowski said the national broadband plan would suggest a “mobile future auction” that would compensate broadcasters and other licensees that voluntarily surrender spectrum to be reallocated and auctioned for wireless use. According to Genachowski, the broadband plan will also propose the establishment of a “mobility fund” as part of the Universal Service Fund to provide “one-time support for deployment of infrastructure” needed to develop wireless broadband networks capable of supporting “a minimum level of mobile availability” across all states. Genachowski said the plan will also recommend adoption of flexible use strategies that would give wireless and mobile satellite licensees the option to use their current channels for mobile broadband or to transfer their licenses to other parties for that purpose. Although the 500 MHz of spectrum the FCC hopes to reclaim falls short of the 800 MHz that wireless association CTIA asserts is needed to meet surging consumer demand, CTIA President Steve Largent nevertheless applauded Genachowski’s speech, declaring: “we remain committed to working with policy makers . . . to identify additional spectrum—as soon as possible— for reallocation to meet the needs of the U.S. wireless ecosystem.” Ben Scott, the director of policy at Free Press, commented: “the notion that we would buy back spectrum from broadcasters who got it for free doesn’t sit well with me.”