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CEA/CTIA: Broadcast Spectrum Auctions Could Clear $33 Billion or More

A government auction of 120 MHz of spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters would yield net proceeds of $33
billion, and maybe more.

That is according to a just-released estimate from the Consumer Electronics Association and wireless association CTIA, both of which have been pushing the FCC to reclaim broadcast spectrum for advanced wireless.

They estimate that the value of the broadcast licenses on that 120 MHz of spectrum at only $1.2 billion-$2.3 billion, and that repacking of broadcasters who remain into lower channels would cost about $565 million.

It says that $33 billion figure may be low, but also that the $1.2 billion-$2.3 billion estimate for broadcasters may be low if "broadcasters require a price over their market value to exit."

CEA and CTIA say that a spectrum auction will be successful even if no broadcast stations participate in the auctions, saying in most markets there is enough available spectrum without them. And in those "limited number" of markets where the channels exceed the remaining spectrum after auctions, they could move to a cellurarized architecture or share channels.

The White House has been pushing for incentive auctions to help with its push for 4G wireless broadband to 98% of the country within five years.

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.