FCC Proposes Upholding Incentive Auction Framework

The FCC has completed its consideration of more than two dozen petitions to reconsider its initial broadcast incentive auction framework, released last June, and with the exception of a handful of technical and nonsubstantive changes, has reaffirmed that decision and framework as is.

According to an FCC official familiar with the item, a draft order was circulated to the commissioners May 6 responding to those requests for reconsideration.

That is a big procedural step, said the source, but does not address various substantive matters being dealt with in separate notices of proposed rulemaking and separate reconsideration petitions.

The source said there are a few minor technical changes and clarifications related to how station coverage areas are calculated and interference, but nothing described as groundbreaking. The source would not comment on just what the technical changes were.

That means that those 30 petitioners, which include the National Association of Broadcasters, probably won't be happy.

Resolving the petitions helps the FCC clear the decks for other actions as it tries to meet an early 2016 deadline for the broadcast incentive auction.

The source said the order does not deal with the proposed spectrum set-asides in the mobile spectrum holdings reconsideration.

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.