Was the public/private spectrum auction sabotaged by the first responders who were supposed to benefit from it? The Washington Post reports that nine consumer organizations have written to the FCC demanding an investigation of a rumored shake-down.
The strange allegations are that representatives of the nation’s police, fire and safety officials drove off would-be bidders by demanding that any winner of the block in the 700 MHz spectrum auction make additional payments to them. Not explained was how or why they would be able to make such payments a requirement.
While the rest of the 700 MHz action raised 19.6 billion bucks, the public/private block drew only a single bid of 472 million, well below the 1.3 billion reserve price set by the FCC.
RBR/TVBR observation: Might it have been that the public/private block was just a stupid idea in the first place? Only one company ever expressed any interest in the idea, and that was Frontline Wireless, created by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, who may be the one person on the planet who knows the least about the communications industry. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t able to get sufficient financial backing and didn’t make a bid. The real mystery is who was even willing to bid 472 million for the privilege of being locked into this cockamamie scheme.