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FCC Undecided On Incentive Auction Caps

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Mar 27, 2014, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Federal Communications Commission has yet to make a decision on how it will handle spectrum caps for the upcoming reverse auction for 600MHz airwaves. Small, regional carriers have been lobbying the FCC to put limits on the amount of spectrum larger carriers - namely AT&T and Verizon - can acquire in the auction. AT&T and Verizon already control massive amounts of low-band spectrum with their 700MHz holdings. Low-band spectrum is valued more highly due to its propagation characteristics. AT&T and Verizon argue that any caps would be unfair and harm the auction's ability to earn money for the federal government. "The FCC retains its authority to design these auctions in a way that promotes competition including ensuring licenses are available only to certain kinds of carriers and a cap on how much spectrum you can acquire. All those things are being considered," said the FCC's Roger Sherman. The FCC is hoping that television stations will agree to give up their 600MHz spectrum, which the FCC will in turn sell to the wireless network operators. The proceeds from the auction will repay the television stations and help fund a public safety network. The auction is expected to take place by the middle of 2015.

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