Washington

Broadcasters to FCC: 'Scoring' Stations Would Discourage Auction Participation

Tells FCC broadcast bidders and wireless buyers should set auction prices, not commission 3/26/2013 03:57:33 PM Eastern

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition says
that if the FCC tries to manage the prices it pays stations by basing in on
population coverage or other factors, it will be a significant obstacle to
widespread participation by broadcasters in the incentive spectrum auctions.

Given that such participation is key to the success of the
auction, the coalition told the FCC in informal comments, the FCC's proposal to
"score" stations is already driving broadcasters away.

The coalition says that, under statute, the prices
broadcasters get should be determined by the "interplay" of wireless
demand and the bids by broadcasters, with the only "scoring" factor
"how buying a particular station advances the Commission's mission of clearing
spectrum for wireless."

"The Statutory auction plan does not contemplate any
role for the opinions of FCC Staff regarding the value of individual
stations," coalition executive director Preston Padden wrote.

The coalition comprises approximately 40 stations who may be
interests in selling spectrum for the right price. For obvious reasons, the FCC
is allowing those stations contemplating shuttering or sharing to remain
unidentified.

"The absolute best way for the Commission
to assure a successful auction, and to assure that there will be funds for
FirstNet and deficit reduction, is to attract the maximum possible broadcaster
participation," Padden concluded. "We urge the Commission to take
every opportunity to disavow any intention to manage broadcaster prices by 'scoring'
stations."

 

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