NAB Sues FCC Over Reverse Auction Rules

Posted by at 11:47 am on August 19, 2014

The National Association of Broadcasters today asked a U.S. Court of Appeals to help it challenge some of the rules set by the FCC for the forthcoming reverse spectrum auction.

The NAB contends the rules adopted by the FCC don’t follow the guidelines set by congress strictly enough and will result in harm to the NAB and its constituents. The NAB is most concerned over changes to the methodology that will be used to determine television coverage areas and population served.

“Under this new methodology, many broadcast licensees will lose coverage area and population served during the auction’s repacking and reassignment process, or be forced to participate in the auction and relinquish broadcast spectrum rights.” Further, the NAB believes the rules will leave broadcasters – even those that choose not to participate in the auction – with bills totaling $500 million to cover repacking expenses. “Local broadcasters should not be forced to go out of pocket to help multi-national wireless giants,” argued the NAB’s Rick Kaplan.

The NAB insists the legal action is not meant to delay the auction, which is expected to kick off next year. It hopes to come to an agreement with the FCC in time to keep the reverse auction on schedule. The auction is asking TV broadcasters to give up their airwaves, in the 600MHz band, so that it can be sold to wireless network operators.

The CTIA Wireless Association expressed disappointment in the NAB’s action. “As the FCC Commissioners and members of Congress continue to emphasize, the wireless industry needs more spectrum as soon as possible to be able to meet mobile broadband demand. To help meet that need, we will continue to work with the FCC, NAB, and other affected stakeholders to ensure that the Commission is ready to hold the auction on schedule in mid-2015.”

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