Coalition of broadcasters that want to sell spectrum file comments with FCC

By Dru Sefton

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, a group of 39 broadcasters willing to sell spectrum rights, filed comments with the FCC on Thursday.

Among its recommendations, reports Broadcasting & Cable, is that the FCC make the upcoming spectrum auctions more attractive to stations by not limiting wireless bidders, or restricting which stations may share spectrum after the auctions are complete.

“We told the FCC that when they think about what they’re going to pay these willing stations, they should think about the value of the spectrum for the wireless, not the broadcasting business,” coalition Executive Director Preston Padden told Ad Week.

Over the past few weeks, TVNewsCheck notes, the National Association of Broadcasters has been saying that plans for a 2014 auction may be too ambitious. However, Padden told the media site, the NAB “appropriately is focused on the vast majority of stations who will remain in broadcasting, and our coalition is focused on broadcasters who want to participate in the auction if they can get fair value for their spectrum.”

Padden, a former exec at Fox, ABC and Disney who formed the coalition in November 2012, declined to tell Current if any public broadcasters are involved with the group, due to confidentiality requirements of the spectrum auctions.

Congress gave the FCC authority in February 2012 to conduct broadcast spectrum auctions to clear bandwidth for mobile devices. A station interested in participating may 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).

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