The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is
"strongly encouraging" the FCC to finish up its spectrum incentive auctions
by the end of 2013 to free up more spectrum for wireless as quickly as
That call came on the eve of the FCC's planned vote on
proposing a framework for the auctions, in which it is trying to free up as
much as 120 MHz of spectrum by paying broadcasters to give up some of theirs.
According to sources, the FCC draft order calls for
completing the auctions by the end of 2014, but MMTC says that given the fact
that minorities have adopted mobile broadband at a faster rate than any other
group, "spectrum exhaust" would be especially detrimental to them.
"In all of American history, wireless is the first
technology for which minority consumers have a head start," said MMTC.
Broadcasters have argued that if too many station owners
give up spectrum, that could also hurt minorities by leaving less spectrum to
do multicast channels -- which include a number of minority-targeted
programming networks and channels. The auctions also provide an incentive for
smaller stations in large urban markets to exit the business and further
deplete niche programming.