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Wheeler: Budget Cuts Could Affect Safety, Jobs, Auctions

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler says that if proposed FCC budget cuts become law, it will affect the FCC's ability to protect public safety; "advance" its spectrum agenda, including auctions; and retain employees.

That came in prepared testimony for a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing Nov. 17.

He said staffing reductions would be inevitable, and IT spending would be cut as well, which he said will slow the licensing process.

"While the proposed appropriation has funds for conducting the spectrum auctions, it would not cover the costs of development – such as identifying spectrum for auction, dealing with incumbent users, and making technical preparations – a cross-bureau effort that is time-intensive, complex and requires staff with expertise and experience that is not fungible," he said.

He said the IT degradation from cuts would also inevitably affect FCC auctions—the broadcast incentive auction, scheduled to launch March 29, 2016, is a real-time online auction.