FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler lay groundwork for spectrum auction

The financial and technological proposals are incredibly complicated, but they provide the kinds of details that broadcasters have wanted to see before they decide whether to let the federal government auction to broadband providers some of the airwaves now used for TV. The process being circulated by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler includes a reverse auction, where station owners would indicate how much cash they want for their spectrum and can drop out if the bidding is too low.

This spring is shaping up to be a very contentious season for almost everyone that has a stake in the country’s wireless airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission on Friday released its recommendations for how the upcoming broadcast airwaves incentive auction should be conducted. It will impact mobile carriers, TV broadcasters and proponents of free-to-use unlicensed spectrum. The incentive auction will be the first of its kind, requiring an enormously complex process involving a reverse auction, a reconfiguration of the UHF TV band, and a forward auction of newly created 4G licenses – and there’s no guarantee that the FCC can pull it off.

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