EA or CMA or MSA/RSA or CMA or . . . how about PEA?
One of the crucial questions that the FCC must answer before it can get its Incentive Spectrum Auction off the ground is how it plans to sell 600 MHz licenses in the “forward” part of the auction. In the Incentive Auction Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission indicated that it was initially leaning toward selling them based on Economic Areas (EAs), rather than larger pieces of real estate (e.g., nationwide licenses) or smaller alternatives (e.g., CEAs or MSA/RSAs). (Fuzzy on the distinctions? Check out the Blogmeister’s Sidebar at the end of this post for further information.)
But now the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at the prodding of the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), is thinking that Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) might be the way to go, and it’s asking for input on the question.
This is a big deal. Here’s why.
As most readers presumably know, the Incentive Auction will consist of two independent but interrelated elements: (1) the reverse auction, through which the FCC will “free up” spectrum by giving TV licensees cash to vacate their current channels; and (2) the forward auction, in which the FCC will sell off the spectrum freed up in the reverse auction. (The cash generated by the latter will be used in part to pay broadcasters in the former.) The ultimate success or failure of the Incentive Auction will be measured in part by how much money the forward auction brings in.Continue Reading...