FCC chair hopes to complete spectrum auctions by end of 2014

By Dru Sefton

The FCC is circulating internally its framework for upcoming spectrum auctions, with a vote on the recommendations expected at its Sept. 28 public meeting. Chair Julius Genachowski said in a statement that the commission “is poised to take an important step toward pioneering the world’s first incentive auctions and freeing up significant spectrum for mobile broadband.”

Congress approved giving the FCC power to conduct the auctions early this year (Current, Feb. 28) to clear bandwidth for the growing number of mobile devices. Each television station may choose among three options: give up entirely its license to broadcast on a TV channel of 6 MHz bandwidth, keep only part of its 6-MHz channel and share the rest with another station, or swap its UHF channel (which wireless companies would want) for a VHF channel (less desirable for digital transmissions).

Broadcasting & Cable, citing FCC sources, reports that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking targets the end of 2014 for completion of auctions. B&C describes the recommendation as “a comprehensive treatment rather than the first of a series of items, a lot of detailed proposals that the FCC will then seek comment on and adjust as needed. The FCC is trying to move far enough down the road with this initial proposal to make that auction goal of 2014 a realistic one.”

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