WASHINGTON—The comment cycle for proposed rules governing the bidding process in the 2016 Spectrum Incentive Auction had been extended in the wake of the $41 billion dollars raised in the Advanced Wireless Spectrum auction. The Federal Communications Commission released an Order this week extending the deadlines for comments and replies into next year. Comments are now due Jan. 23, 2015, rather than Dec. 29, 2014. Replies are due Feb. 12, 2015 versus Jan. 20, 2015.
“On Nov. 13, 2014, bidding commenced in Auction 97, which offers AWS-3 licenses covering the greatest amount of spectrum suitable for mobile broadband services since the 2008 auction of 700 MHz licenses,” the Order states. “Extending the deadlines for comments and reply comments in response to the NPRM as set forth herein will increase the likelihood that interested parties will be able to take into account more complete information about the results of the bidding in Auction 97 and thereby promote a more comprehensive record in this proceeding, our first comprehensive look at these rules in years, without jeopardizing the commission’s ability to act on the NPRM sufficiently in advance of the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.”
The proposed rules would are intended to help ensure auction participation by women, minorities, small businesses and rural phone companies. One modification would allow small operators to lease spectrum back to large carriers rather then develop it. One primary provision is to affirm the existing rule prohibiting joint bidding by Tier 1 providers, in response to a plan by T-Mobile and Sprint to form a joint-venture to raise $10 billion for buying spectrum at the auction, according to TmoNews.
The proposed rules would update and streamline the requirements for small businesses. They also address bidder reliability and duplicated registration by multiple businesses owned by the same entity.
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