600 MHz auction rule compromise proposed by T-Mobile’s Waxman

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As the FCC plans to vote on July 16th on rules for an incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum, former representative Henry Waxman, now working as a lobbyist for T-Mobile, has submitted a proposed compromise to FCC chair Tom Wheeler. Waxman says the proposal,

“is not perfect. Truly balanced approaches rarely are. But this solution would do more than any other to offer expanded spectrum access where it is feasible, simplicity where it is practical and competitive safeguards where they are most needed to protect consumers.”

Some compromise is needed according to smaller carriers like T-Mobile to prevent larger carriers like Verizon and AT&T from acquiring too much spectrum. The ability of large carriers to get into reserved spectrum for small carriers may occur if certain pricing triggers are not met. The failure to see the triggers activated could occur if smaller carriers wait to submit their bids, a common tactic by buyers in auctions.

Waxman, who helped draft the legislation authorizing the 600 MHz spectrum, addressed another issue involving guard bands, or the “duplex gap,” that will exist after the auction. The FCC had originally planned to dedicate this space to WiFi, licensed broadcast news microphones, and other unlicensed uses. However, FCC staff reversed that recommendation.

Waxman is proposing the FCC use their spectrum-clearing target of 84 MHz as a trigger. If less than 84 MHz is cleared in the auction, then broadcast stations could be allowed into the duplex gap according to Waxman’s proposal.

source: FierceWireless

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