CEA Salutes Broadcasters Kicking Tires on Auction

The Consumer Electronics Association applauded the news that Fox, Ion, Tribune and Univision had met with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and other staffers about potential participation in the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.

B&C first reported on the meeting last week.

"We want to thank these broadcasters for positively considering participating in the upcoming spectrum incentive auction," said CEA president Gary Shapiro. CEA ha been pushing the FCC to auction spectrum and broadcasters to give it up.

According to an ex parte letter describing the meeting, the broadcasters outlined the circumstances under which they would agree to participate and made it clear they planned to continue in the business. While broadcasters can give up all their spectrum in the auction and exit the business, they can also participate by giving it up and sharing with another station— they still get to keep their must-carry status. Either way they get the same payoff. They can also agree to move from a UHF to VHF channel, though the payout will not be as much as giving up spectrum.

"Their most recent discussions with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler are proof that the auction offers benefits to everyone involved — the broadcasters who will be well compensated for spectrum, American taxpayers who will see deficit reduction and better broadband services, and American innovators and entrepreneurs who desperately need more spectrum to feed our growing demand for 'anywhere/anytime' access," said Shapiro. "Our country is facing a nationwide spectrum shortfall, but this auction presents an excellent opportunity for us to free up more of our valuable spectrum and further fuel our innovation economy."

The National Association of Broadcasters, with the urging/support of some major members, including Fox and Ion, has pivoted its auction push to make sure it is as successful as possible for both those who are putting up spectrum for auction and those who are keeping spectrum for HD and multicast channels and perhaps advanced services like offloading traffic at crunch time.

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.