FCC’s spectrum-incentive auction deferred until 2016

FCC’s spectrum-incentive auction deferred until 2016

Announcing the postponement of the spectrum-incentive auction yet again, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a last-week statement that the auction will now be held in early 2016, instead of mid-2015.

The auction - of 600 MHz spectrum licenses returned by broadcasters for use by mobile operators - was initially scheduled to be held in 2014, but it was delayed till mid-2015. Now, the latest announcement by the FCC means that the auction will not be held until at least 2016.

In its announcement about deferring the auction until 2016, the FCC said that the postponement underscores a recalibration of its proposed timing.

The apparent issue which has led the FCC to defer the spectrum-incentive auction is the August-filed lawsuit the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The argument put forth on the lawsuit is that the incentive auction may potentially hurt TV stations which decide against participate in the auction.

About the delay in the auction, Gary Epstein - Chairman of the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force - said in a blog post that the postponement will give the FCC the time to take stock of the situation, and circumspectly deliberate and recalibrate its proposed timing for the starting the incentive auction process.

Acknowledging the fact that the FCC's efforts to implement a successful auction were being hampered by "undeniable impediments," Epstein said: "As Chairman Wheeler indicated several weeks ago, the court challenges to the auction rules by some broadcasters have introduced uncertainty."

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