Will 700 auction pass the M&M test?


Ed Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, and Kevin Martin (R), Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, often find themselves at loggerheads on a wide variety of communications issues. On the issue of how the auction of spectrum about to be vacated by television on 2/17/09, however, it appears they may be sharing some common ground. As Markey put it, "I have repeatedly advocated that the FCC should seize the opportunity in the upcoming auction to foster greater innovation for wireless devices and applications…Recent statements to the media by FCC Chairman Martin with respect to these issues are encouraging.

It appears that Chairman Martin is poised to propose that certain auction winners should be required to permit unaffiliated content providers to offer services and applications to wireless consumers and for manufacturers to innovate and offer cutting-edge wireless devices in the marketplace for consumers to use with their service." For all his encouragement, however, Markey is taking a wait-and-see approach.

SmartMedia observation: What happens in these spectral latitudes will be of little concern to broadcasters once they've moved on to the new all-digital world. But it is interesting to see a possible meeting of the minds between Markey and Martin and is further proof that in the communications realm, party lines are often blurred beyond recognition.