DC shutdown may impact spectrum auction

DC's shutdown may impact spectrum auctions.

Wireless executives have expressed concern that the recent federal government’s shutdown will have a negative impact on the upcoming spectrum auctions.

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to hold three spectrum auctions within the next 15 months. However, executives told Bloomberg that they are concerned that even though the impasse is over, it will still delay the deadlines of some of those auctions.

To make matters more complicated, members of the FCC are reportedly split over the “H block” wireless spectrum auction scheduled to take place in January.

Congress ordered the agency to auction both the H block and AWS3 as part of tax cut extension legislation passed last year. The auction is seen as a way to help wireless carriers expand their spectrum to meet customer demand.

However, some FCC members said the H block and AWS3 should both be auctioned off at the same time as a way to give carriers more options. T-Mobile and a number of small carriers said they are unlikely to bid for the H block on its own, but would use it as a backup if they failed to win AWS3 spectrum.

Right now, Sprint and Dish Network are thought to be the most likely bidders if the H block is auctioned on its own.

In the meantime, the FCC took its website offline during the shutdown, which could further delay the additional spectrum auctions scheduled for September 2014 and February 2015.


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