Wireless Groups Seek Spectrum Auction Carve-outs

The forward portion of the FCC's broadcast incentive auction did not even start until today (Aug. 16), but smaller wireless companies have already asked the FCC to suspend the bidding for six days in September.

In an informal request filed last week, the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) and NTCA: The Rural Broadband Association, asked the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau for breaks in the auction Sept. 7-9 for the RWA's Rural Wireless Summit and Sept. 26-28 for NTCA's fall conference, at which RWA will be holding its annual meeting as well.

They argue that their members have limited personnel to dedicate to a potentially lengthy and unpredictable time period for the auction and that preparation, travel to and from the conferences, and meetings there could make it hard for them to bid in a timely fashion.

They pointed out that FCC Commissioners and staffers will be speaking at the conference, and that without the bidding breaks, their smaller associations could lose the opportunity to hear and meet with them.

They added that given the FCC's decision not to provide waivers for unforeseen circumstances, there is "no room for error for small and rural carriers bidding in the auction."

They said that if the FCC does not want to halt the proceedings, they want it to at least cut the bidding to one round per day.

The auction starts with one, six-hour, round on Aug. 16 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), then moves to two, two-hour rounds (10-12 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.) starting Aug. 17 and until further notice.

Of the 62 applicants qualified to bid in the auction, RWA and NTCA pointed out, more than half are members of, or affiliated with, one or both of their associations.

The request was reported by Wireless Week's Diana Goovaerts.

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.