FCC Moves Forward On Incentive Auctions To Free Up Mobile Spectrum

By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 30, 2012 11:03 AM EDT

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took the first step on Friday, Sept. 28, toward auctioning television spectrum to mobile carriers faced with increasingly high bandwidth demands from their customers.

Follow us

On Friday, the FCC approved a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that outlines proposed rules, and asks for public comment on the incentive auctions in which U.S. TV stations would give up their spectrum in exchange for proceeds from auctions of that respective spectrum.

The NPRM is the first step in a complicated process at the agency, with the FCC estimating that auctions to mobile carriers would occur in 2014.

"This is a big deal," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, referring to the FCC's move towards the world's first incentive auctions. "The world is watching."

The auctions will involve a comprehensive three-step process. In a first step, TV stations will voluntarily give up their spectrum in a reverse auction. The FCC will then reconfigure the remaining TV spectrum to increase efficiency, and ultimately it will auction the available spectrum to mobile carriers.

These incentive auctions aim to address an expected spectrum shortage and help carriers improve their mobile service offerings, reducing the amount of dropped calls and spinning pinwheels, noted Genachowski. Meanwhile, the auctions would also boost the U.S. in a global race, providing a "strategic bandwidth advantage."

"Success will unleash waves of innovation that will go a long way toward determining who leads our global economy in the 21st century," explained the Chairman.

The FCC's two Republican members, however, expressed a number of concerns about the proposal, including whether it would result in too much spectrum left unsold for unlicensed uses, creating a swath of unlicensed spectrum across the nation.

The U.S. Congress had targeted raising $7 billion for a nationwide public safety network. According to Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell, the proposal's cap on the amount of spectrum one carrier is allowed to buy could result in the auction falling short of that target. McDowell further urged the FCC to consider alternative ideas.

"This being literally, as I've said before, the most complex auction in world history, I think we should keep all our options open," said McDowell.

Meanwhile, Genachowski and other Democratic members of the commission defended the unlicensed spectrum plans. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that Wi-Fi, TV remote control devices, and even garage door openers use unlicensed spectrum, and insisted that "good spectrum policy" has room for licensed and unlicensed spectrum as well.

"This is a time to be embracing and extending WiFi-like uses of spectrum," noted Genachowski. "Unlicensed spectrum has a powerful record of driving innovation, driving investment and economic growth." 

 

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Featured Video : Ericsson Announces World-Leading Launches Ahead of Mobile World Congress 2014

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
AT&T GoPhoneAT&T GoPhone customers get more data, new Wi-Fi hotspot option at no additional cost
iPhone 5S sale: $99.99 on-contract with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint from Radio Shack
Siri ‘GoogolPlex’ hack adds lots of great new functionality – Here’s how and what you can do
Sony Xperia Z2 Compact leaked images reveal promising details
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon LogoAmazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC LogoHTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google DowntimeGoogle blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Chrome Remote Desktop app for AndroidChrome Remote Desktop for Android now available for free from Google Play
Adobe Lightroom mobile hits the iPad, coming soon to iPhones
Apple updates Mac iWork for iCloud suite – What’s new in Pages, Numbers and Keynote?
Microsoft launches Office for iPad, makes Office Mobile free on Android and iPhones
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps