Long-standing House Energy and Commerce Committee leader John Dingell (D-MI) represents a state that shares a border with Canada, and is particularly concerned about the upcoming incentive auction of television spectrum. To that end, he asked Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn a trio of pointed questions.
First, he said that Congress’s authorization to conduct the auctions in the first place requires that treaties addressing international spectrum issues with Canada and Mexico are in place. He said the FCC has acknowledged this to be the case, but still feels compelled to ask, “Does the Commission believe it must complete international coordination with Mexico and Canada prior to reallocating and reassigning broadcast frequencies? If not, what provisions in the Act grant the Commission discretion in this regard? Please explain your responses.”
Second, he noted the Commissions consideration of new interference prediction standards via a revision of OET-69 (which broadcasters and other stakeholders have vigorously opposed). He asked, “Does the Commission believe the Act grants it authority to revise OET-69? If so, please indicate the specific provisions in the Act from which the Commission draws such authority and explain the Commission’s reasoning.”
Third, he is concerned about consideration to score auction participants by population served, geographic contour or other relevant factors. He asked if there is anything in the Act that allows the Commission to conduct a “weighted reverse auction,” and asked if the Commission had an estimate on the difference in participation between a weighted and an unweighted auction.
He closed by promising continued “rigorous scrutiny” of the incentive auction process, and asked for answers to his immediate questions by 6/28/13.