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FCC Seeks Comments on the Spectrum Auction NPRM

The NPRM covers several areas including providing a brief history of ‘mobile spectrum holdings’

The Federal Communications Commission has issued the notice of proposed rulemaking on the planned auction of broadcast spectrum for use in mobile broadband devices.

The NPRM—which was approved by the commission on Sept. 28, 2012—covers several areas including the history of “mobile spectrum holdings,” the part the FCC played with spectrum caps, and a case-by-case analysis approach in relation to wireless transactions, as well as the current growth in the use of spectrum bands by wireless services.

In addition, the FCC is seeking comment on the specific costs and benefits of applying a case-by-case approach to determining available spectrum initial licenses acquired through competitive bidding.
The commission asks if it conducts a case-by-case analysis to determine available spectrum, would it provide auction participants with some sufficient certainty to determine whether they would be allowed to hold a given license post-auction?
Does the lack of a “bright-line spectrum” limit deter auction participation? the FCC asks. And does the lack of a bright-line rule provide an opportunity for licensees to bid on spectrum, regardless of whether they believe they ultimately would be allowed to hold the licenses.

However, a case-by-case approach could result in such an inefficient auction process it could cost the winning bidder’s application to hold a license, the FCC says. In addition to imposing costs on competitors, the expenditure of public or private resources and resulting delays in awarding the spectrum to another bidder could impose costs on the public, the agency says. The FCC seeks comment on whether there are additional measures the agency would need to adopt to promote an effective and efficient auction process while discouraging the potential for anticompetitive behavior. If the FCC continues its case-by-case analysis for secondary market transactions, should another approach for initial licensing rather than a case-by-case analysis, it asks.

The NPRM also looks at “implementation issues,” and who determined who should be included in the auction as a “suitable and available spectrum,” the document says.

Click here to access the NPRM.