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The Podium

Friday, September 07

FCC Spectrum Plan

By Brad

Some big news on the spectrum front today, as Todd Shields of Bloomberg reports:

A U.S. agency today will propose acting as the sole buyer for airwaves that television stations will surrender for an auction of spectrum to mobile providers led by Verizon Wireless, two officials said.

The idea is among several being advanced by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski for the auction planned for 2014, said the agency officials, who spoke yesterday on condition of not being identified because the matter hasn’t been made public.

As for the FCC’s plan to purchase airwaves, Shields writes:

The FCC plans to buy airwaves that some TV stations will voluntarily relinquish in a process known as a reverse auction. It would then sell the frequencies in a traditional auction. The FCC will seek public comment before it settles next year on rules for the auction, the officials said.

Meanwhile, at The HIll, Brendan Sasso has more:

A senior FCC official explained that the commission is aiming for an aggressive 2014 deadline because it plans to buy back the spectrum and hold the auctions almost simultaneously.

The official noted that no country has attempted such a spectrum buy back and auction before, but he emphasized that the commission is being advised by “world-famous” experts in economics and engineering.

Both Shields and Sasso report CTIA is “very pleased” that the process is beginning, but it’s still unknown how many TV stations — if any — will be willing to offer up their spectrum for sale. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal sometime this month. Stay tuned…

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