Two organizations, The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition and the Consumer Electronics Association have put together a study that suggests the more conditions the FCC imposes on the upcoming incentive auctions, the less spectrum it will move and the less money it will bring in, perhaps losing almost $6B in potential revenue.
The two organizations point out that the FCC has to pursue a course that brings in as many potential broadcast participants as possible, as well as bringing in as many qualified bidders for spectrum as possible.
The report is called “Maximizing the Success of the Incentive Auction,” and it is said to be a data-driven study of the process.
In a statement, the organization stated, “The report calls for a framework that supports open participation by all wireless firms while meeting the price expectations of potentially-willing TV broadcast sellers for their spectrum as repurposed for wireless broadband, maximizing the benefits for consumers and public safety.”
It also warns against the costs of excessive regulations, noting that “…their costs would outweigh any potential benefits to competition among the four national wireless firms in the upcoming incentive auction. The study also examines the adverse impact on auction revenues if the FCC were to ‘score’ the spectrum licenses of TV stations.”
“New options are emerging for TV stations to use their existing spectrum licenses,” said Preston Padden, executive director, EBOC. “To attract the critical mass of broadcasters necessary to make the auction a success, we need competitive bidding among all wireless carriers for every license and the assurance that every TV station will be fully compensated for its spectrum rights.”
“The future of our mobile broadband ecosystem depends in large part on the success of the incentive auction,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “This study provides timely guidance for ensuring that the auction succeeds and that our mobile ecosystem thrives long-term, bringing new, innovative devices and services to America’s consumers.”
They pointed out on the one hand how income was lost via excessive restrictions in previous auctions; and also builds the case that Sprint and T-Mobile are in good enough shape to compete in auctions with AT&T and Verizon.
Fred Campbell, former Chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau authored the report. He said, “The success of the incentive auction depends on the ability of every TV station to sell its spectrum license for its value in the wireless broadband market and the ability of every bidder to compete for all available spectrum. Maximizing the participation of TV stations and wireless firms in the incentive auction is the surest way to fully realize the transformational potential of mobile broadband services for consumers and support the build out of FirstNet, an interoperable, next-generation communications network for America’s first responders.”