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No Spectrum = No Net to Auction

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters coalition held its own protest/photo op Wednesday outside FCC headquarters in Washington, but the issue was spectrum auctions rather than network neutrality.

A handful of network neutrality advocates have been camped out vowing to stay until the FCC's May 15 meeting and calling for Title II reclassification,

Preston Padden (he was holding a "Focus on Auction" sign), who heads the coalition, posed briefly outside the front door with a handful of what he described as "concerned citizens" holding signs -- the members of the coalition do not have to identify themselves per FCC rules -- including the related message: "No Spectrum = No Net to Open."

The FCC is voting on an incentive auction framework May 15 as well as a draft of new network neutrality rules and Padden wants to make sure his members get full value for their spectrum if they decide to sell. That means treating spectrum as spectrum, not valuing a larger station more than a smaller one because of its population served or some other measure.

The coalition also does not want the FCC to impose bidding restrictions that could depress prices, but does want the FCC to provide more information on station valuations.

Padden told B&C that he had brought donuts for the network neutrality protestors, who have been camping out, but could not find any. They have actually staked out a spot around the corner from the entrance, next to the parking garage where they could be seen by those entering the building.

Padden said he wound up giving the donuts to the FCC security guards.