FCC: Videohouse Stay Would Delay Spectrum Auction 'Months'

As promised, the FCC has weighed in with a federal court telling it that the court's allowing Latina Broadcasters back in the incentive auction won't delay the auction after all, or at least not the March 29 start date, delaying the start date, per a stay request by Videohouse, will delay the auction by months.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Thursday granted LPTV owner Latina Broadcasters of Daytona Beach its request to stay the FCC's decision that it was not eligible. It is now provisionally eligible until the court decides on Latina's challenge to that decision.

The FCC had told the court that granting that request could delay the auction by several weeks, but Friday adjusted that assessment.

"This letter informs the court that although the Commission has stated that a short delay would result from Latina's inclusion in the auction, in light of the Courts order, the Commission will proceed with the commencement of the auction as scheduled on March 29, 2016.

But in the same filing to the court, the FCC drew a distinction between granting Latina's stay and a request by LPTV owner Videohouse that the March 29 auction start be stayed was another matter. "Including Videohouse in the auction, even provisionally, will delay the auction by months, which as the FCC has told the court before, would "seriously injure the public interest."

That interest is in getting spectrum into the hands of wireless broadband providers and participating TV stations out from under limits on communications about their business strategies that last until the auction closes.

The court has already stayed a request by FAB Telemedia et al. to stay the March 29 auction date.

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.