Dec 12, 2013
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is writing the rules for an incentive auction for wireless spectrum. Television and radio broadcasters and mobile devices all use spectrum for wireless communications, and all four national wireless carries – AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint – need more spectrum to meet the explosion in traffic over wireless networks.
CWA and a growing number of lawmakers are weighing in to make sure that the auction is fair and open to all bidders. Read more and take action at http://www.dontrigtheauction.org/.
"In the incentive auction, I believe the FCC should let all interested participants freely compete against one another in the open market and should avoid putting its thumb on the scale, as we are apparently witnessing in connection with the Justice Department's settlement agreement in the American Airlines and US Airways merger," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday. "The value of using spectrum auctions is that the free market is more effective at allocating spectrum than relying on the subjective opinions and predictions of government officials. American consumers should pick who wins in the marketplace, not the government."
In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged the agency to assure that the upcoming wireless spectrum auction would be open to all bidders, so that the government can maximize revenue and adequately fund the FirstNet emergency response network.
"... in structuring these auctions, to maximize participation by broadcasters and bidders alike by avoiding limitations that could lower the potential return and disincentivize broadcasters from offering their spectrum for auction. While I understand that some have advocated for rules that would limit participation by certain wireless carriers, the effect of such rules would simply be to reduce the amount of spectrum offered for auctions as well as the revenue that would be generated in return. Ultimately, then, the biggest loser would be FirstNet and the public safety network America needs to thrive in the 21st century."
Right now, a number of interests are lobbying the FCC to establish different rules for different bidders, potentially slowing the spread of wireless and the investment and jobs that go with it. T-Mobile US and Sprint are asking the FCC to limit how much spectrum their larger competition – AT&T and Verizon – can buy. CWA is pressing for an open, unbiased auction.