FCC draws back curtain on TV spectrum auction

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Oct 16, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

FCC draws back curtain on TV spectrum auction

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Oct 16, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Federal Communications Commission is announcing Friday that TV stations have until Dec. 18 to decide whether they want to auction off some of their spectrum licenses to the FCC. 

The FCC will then auction them to wireless carriers and others. The idea is to open up more airwaves for data-hungry consumers.

“You’re going to be able to stream video on your mobile device and not have to worry about buffering every five minutes,” said Blair Levin, a former executive director of the FCC’s national broadband plan, now at the Brookings Institution.

What’s in it for the TV stations?

“A lot of money,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Wheeler said he knows some TV stations aren’t happy, because if they don’t agree to sell some spectrum, they’ll be relocated to a new part of the airwaves. The broadcasters’ trade association has even filed lawsuits. But Wheeler maintains he has to balance supply and demand.

“How do you make sure that the spectrum is put to its highest and best use?” he said. Wheeler said the auction is the best answer, even if it doesn’t please everyone.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.