The chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee says the deadline for incentive spectrum auctions could slip into 2015. However, the FCC denied any plans to allow the auction’s schedule to change from next year.
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) told the C-SPAN’s "The Communicators" program last week that “spectrum, spectrum, spectrum ... that’s the ball game” in today’s communications environment. Yet, he added, it’s still possible to have the incentive auctions in 2014. “But my guess is it may start in 2015,” he told the studio audience, saying he had heard rumors about the date slipping.
The senator said there are many issues involving the spectrum auctions that are still to be decided, ranging from the size of spectrum footprints to whether individual companies should be limited as to how much spectrum they can control.
“We have these questions that need to be resolved, and I think most will be resolved by the FCC,” he said.
Many television broadcasters have advocated extending the auctions beyond 2014 to address those unresolved issues. The FCC, which is apparently opposed to any delays, has said it can get all the issues resolved in time to hold the auction in 2014 — although no specific dates have been set.
The Democratic chairman’s comments brought a quick response from the FCC, now headed by acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. A spokesman told media outlets that despite what Pryor said, the FCC remains on schedule for an incentive auction order by the end of this year and the auction by the end of next year. He called it “a top institutional priority” at the commission.