Wireless Cos. Tell Court Spectrum Auction Must Go On

Add wireless operators to list of friends of the FCC and opponents of low-power operators' efforts to delay the auction.

Actually, the LPTVs seeking the delay would rather the auction start on time—March 29—so long as they were allowed to participate in it.

In a joint filing with the busy U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Competitive Carriers Association and CTIA: The Wireless Association asked the court to allow them to intervene in the case of Latina Broadcasters of Daytona Beach v. FCC, and filed opposition to Latina's request for a stay.

Latina asked the court to either allow it to participate in the auction—the FCC has excluded them—or delay the auction.

“It is absolutely critical for the 600 MHz Incentive Auction to remain on track and as scheduled for the March 29 start date," said CCA president Steven Berry. "The FCC, CCA and competitive carriers have spent years devoting considerable time and effort preparing for the auction.  The Commission has given sufficient notice and ample time for those wishing to participate, and any delay would harm the economy, consumers and the industry as a whole.”

CCA argued that any delay of the March 29 start would place "undue burdens" on smaller, rural and regional carriers as well as threaten the larger global mobile economy.

CTIA president Meredith Attwell Baker said "any delay of the incentive auction would harm the wireless industry and broadcasters who are looking forward to participating in the upcoming auction.”

Some broadcasters who have applied to participate in the auction have also filed briefs to the court in support of the FCC and the March 29 deadline. The National Association of Broadcasters has stayed out of the court fight.

Like those broadcasters, CCA and CTIA said that delay would mean they would be under anti-collusion rules, which they said could chill certain business negotiations between parties, including possible mergers and acquisitions.

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.