Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
Preston Padden, executive director of a group calling itself the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, has told several Federal Communications Commission officials that there are now 70 TV stations in the country willing to give back spectrum for an FCC incentive auction.
In meetings with Gary Epstein, head of the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, and Alex Hoehn-Saric, an adviser to Rosenworcel, Padden said all 70 of the stations are “auction-eligible” stations located mainly in the country's largest markets.
During the meetings, Padden emphasized that “the commission cannot conduct a successful auction and achieve its goal of transferring at least 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use while also generating billions of dollars to fund a national broadband public safety network without attracting the participation of a sufficient number of broadcast stations,” Ari Meltzer, counsel for the coalition, wrote June 7 in an ex parte filing that detailed the meetings.
To date, Padden, a former FOX, ABC, and Disney executive, has declined to reveal the identity of the television stations that are members of his coalition or any station owners who would consider relinquishing their spectrum for the right price. Padden had earlier said the number of willing broadcasters was 40.
The rulemaking has been contentious because most broadcasters want to either retain their spectrum or maximize the opportunity to sell their spectrum at the highest possible rate.
Even at this early stage in the process, agency officials anticipate a return of between 60 and 80 megahertz from broadcasters, roughly half of the amount contemplated when the FCC released the National Broadband Plan in 2010.
Such a result undoubtedly would be disheartening to the president and to Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, who are counting on incentive auctions to generate as much as $15 billion in revenue, $7 billion of which would go toward building a new nationwide emergency communications network for public safety officials, the last unfulfilled recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.
Key to the FCC's success is broadcaster participation. In recent meetings with FCC officials, Padden has also advised the agency against “scoring” broadcast stations participating in the auction on the basis of population.
In sharp contrast to Padden's group, the National Association of Broadcasters, the largest trade group representing stations in the country, is advocating for TV stations that want to stay in the broadcasting business. To achieve the FCC's 120 MHz target, NAB estimates that between 300 and 400 TV stations that would need to be cleared.
For the filing, visit http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7022422276.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)