EOCA, CEA Want No Limits on TV Spectrum Bids
WASHINGTON— Restricting who can bid on TV stations selling spectrum
could result in reduced FCC revenues and even a failed auction process. That’s the warning from the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters
Coalition and the Consumer Electronics Association.
To make their case, the EOBC and CEA have released what they describe as
a “data-driven analysis of FCC bidding restrictions” called ‘Maximizing
the Success of the Incentive Auction.’ Written by Fred Campbell, former
Chief of the FCC’s wireless telecommunications division, this report says
previous FCC bidding restrictions delayed the provision of new wireless
services to 68 percent of the public by a “weighted average” of nearly
seven years and lowered net auction bids on spectrum by 31 to 61 percent.
In this instance, the EOBC and CEA are aiming at the proposed auctioning
of broadcast spectrum by TV stations to wireless carriers. They fear
that a competition-minded FCC might restrict wireless heavyweights AT&T
and Verizon from gaining too much spectrum through their bids, thus
lowering auction revenues for TV broadcasters who are selling bandwidth.
The EOBC/CEA report estimates that nearly $5.8 billion in revenues could
be lost if bidding restrictions are placed of 50 percent of available
“New options are emerging for TV stations to use their existing spectrum
licenses,” said Preston Padden, executive director, EBOC. “To attract
the critical mass of broadcasters necessary to make the auction a
success, we need competitive bidding among all wireless carriers for
every license and the assurance that every TV station will be fully
compensated for its spectrum rights.” (Note: EOBC does not release the
names of its members.)
For its part, “NAB has not taken a position on spectrum aggregation
limits or the recent study from the Expanding Opportunities for
Broadcasters Coalition and CEA,” said Zamir Ahmed, NAB’s Manager of
Speaking on background, an NAB source explained that
the association’s position, with respect to the auction, is to protect
broadcasters who decide to stay in business and that bidding limits do
not factor into this effort.