Wheeler: Broadcaster Auction Challenge is Groundless

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler did not appear too happy with broadcasters for filing suit against the auction. He said they were throwing up roadblocks to addressing mobile broadband spectrum issues, wound up delaying the auction, and said their arguments have no validity.

"As you know, the National Association of Broadcasters sued the FCC to challenge our rules for the auction," he said in a speech at the CTIA convention in Las Vegas.

"If they were to win, the effect would be to delay the auction, notwithstanding NAB’s claims to the contrary. We are confident the courts will find that we have carried out the mandate of Congress and the NAB’s arguments are groundless. However, the fact of the matter is they have gone to the judicial branch to throw up roadblocks to further progress on addressing the spectrum needs of mobile services."

The National Association of Broadcasters sued the FCC last month over the way it plans to calculate TV station coverage areas, as well as potential interference after TV stations are repacked into smaller spectrum quarters after the incentive auction.

NAB says the FCC plan could result in significant viewership loss and the FCC changed the methodology in contravention of the statute. The FCC said it updated the data to make it more accurate, but did not change the basic methodology.

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.