CCA Salutes Launch of Spectrum Auction

The Competitive Carriers Association applauded Tuesday's launch of the FCC's broadcast incentive spectrum auction, particularly the competition it suggested the FCC had built into the forward portion.

CCA represents the smaller and midsized carriers FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled he would like to see get spectrum in the forward auction (resale of reclaimed TV station spectrum) to help them provide more competition to incumbents with already-sizeable low-band spectrum holdings.

Wheeler said Tuesday that the auction would boost the broadband booster rocket of mobile wireless.

But the chairman did more than signal. The FCC structured the auction to promote wireless broadband competition, something not lost on the CCA, which pushed for such an auction.

"[T]here is no doubt that competitive carriers will benefit from smaller license sizes, the spectrum reserve, mandated interoperability and the 20 MHz cap on the amount of reserve spectrum any one carrier can buy in smaller markets," said CCA president Steven Berry. "CCA members are a critical part of the mobile ecosystem, and we were pleased to play an instrumental role working with Congress and the Commission to ensure these components were adopted.” 

Berry was also pleased that the auction started on schedule (some last minute, and not-so-last-minute legal challenges could have thrown a wrench into the timetable).

CCA also put in a plug for completing the post-auction TV station repack "on time and on budget."

On time would be within 39 months and $1.75 billion according to the FCC, though broadcasters and some in Congress have called for flexibility in both fronts and Wheeler has said there could be waivers of the timetable in individual cases and that if the money runs out, he will ask Congress for more.

March 29 is when TV stations have to declare their participation, bidding in the forward auction probably won't start until at least June.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.