FCC optimistic about broadcaster participation in spectrum auction
KatyontheHill.com reports that Congress held its sixth hearing in two weeks with the FCC. But this time, there FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler got a break, and Congress gave net neutrality a rest.
Instead Congress focused on the next major FCC project: the world’s most complex auction of wireless spectrum.
FCC officials sought to reassure a House subcommittee that the commission was taking all the right steps so the incentive auction, just a year away, would be as successful as the recently-completed AWS-3 auction.
The AWS-3 auction of wireless spectrum blew the doors off all expectations, bringing in net proceeds of more than $41 billion. It not only provided $7 billion for the construction of the public safety broadband network known as FirstNet, it also generated $20 billion for deficit reduction.
Lawmakers have even higher expectations for the auction of broadcast spectrum, considered “beachfront property” for wireless services. But first, enough broadcasters must voluntarily relinquish some or all of their spectrum.
“We won’t have an auction unless we have broadcaster participation,” Gary Epstein, the FCC’s chair of the incentive auction task force told the House subcommittee on communications and technology.”