NAB Wants More than Dates In FCC Auction Update

The National Association of Broadcasters is looking for the FCC to lay out a timeline for the 2015 incentive auction at its public meeting Jan. 30—it has scheduled an auction update item for the meeting. But NAB executive VP and auction point man Rick Kaplan is looking for more.

"We hope that the staff seizes this opportunity to go beyond a discussion of dates and timelines—auction timelines have garnered the bulk of the headlines so far—and delve into their current thinking on the substance of the auction and its components," Kaplan blogged in advance of the meeting.

Saying the time is ripe for a deeper dive—it has been almost 500 days since the FCC issued its auction rulemaking proposal and has garnered hundreds of comments and taken hundreds of meetings—Kaplan outlined the things he wanted to hear:

1) The "latest thinking" on the band plan.

2) That FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is forming an "expert user group" of stakeholders to evaluate the auction and repacking software. Wheeler has said there would be plenty of testing and tire-kicking of the online auction given issues with the healthcare website.

3) An update of border coordination talks with Canada and Mexico. NAB has a major bone to pick on that issue. Wheeler has indicated the agreements will not necessarily be in place before the auction, Kaplan points out. NAB says it thinks the auction would not be legal if that were the case.

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.