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Bidders OKed for New Pay TV Spectrum

MDS America and five other applicants last week won FCC approval to participate in a Jan. 14 auction of spectrum for a new terrestrially transmitted broadband/pay-TV service that will compete with cable and DBS.

Another 21 applicants, including Capitol Broadcasting, were tentatively rejected and asked to submit amended applications by Dec. 8, the due date for bidders’ upfront payments. Also approved to bid were Council Tree Wireless, Winstar Spectrum LLC, Cass Cable TV, DTV Norwich, and Moontime Wireless.

Northpoint Technology, the company that persuaded the FCC to create the new service, has vowed not to participate. Northpoint has asked federal judges to cancel the auction arguing the spectrum should be allocated for free.

A measure to eliminate the January auction has been removed from an omnibus spending bill Congress is expected to approve in January. That is the same bill that would set the national TV ownership cap at 39% of television households.