FCC Creates Incentive Auction Task Force

Says auctions will leave "robust" broadcasting industry and "world-leading" mobile broadband
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The FCC has created a new incentive auction task
force, over seen by former Wireless Bureau Chief Ruth Milkman.

At
the FCC's public meeting Wednesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced
the effort to coordinate what he conceded was a highly complex, challenging
task -- the implementing legislation is over 100 pages.

That
task, according to a highly placed FCC source, will include info gathering on
issues like repacking and interference -- look for workshops on those and other
issues -- as well as multiple rulemaking proposals that will spread over
months.

The
chairman called it an unprecedented multi-bureau, multi-office effort. "It
is important that it be a coordinated, organized, efficient and streamlined
effort." He said the task force is currently going over the legislation
and organizing an implementation plan.

He
said that the statute creates a number of challenging and difficult issues,
though he did not elaborate. He said that the effort was still "very much
in the planning stage."

While
the FCC wants to reclaim 120 MHz of spectrum from broadcasters as part of that
incentive auction process, among the challenges in the bill may be the
requirements to coordinate spectrum issues with Canada and Mexico that could reduce that
available spectrum to 80 MHz or less. Asked at a press conference after the
meeting whether that 120 MHz was still the goal, the chairman said he did not
have an estimate, but did say he was concerned that the legislation contains
provisions that "will constrain us from maximizing the spectrum
recovered."

He
said it will all be about engineering working within the constraints of the legislation.

But
he did say that at the end of the process, he was anticipating "when the
incentive auctions of the TV bands was complete," the result would be
"a healthy broadcast sector and a strong, robust, competitive and
world-leading mobile industry."

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