FCC Chairman Ajit Pai may not be the best person to consult regarding a renovation.
That’s because his first 11 days leading the Commission has resulted in a Demolition Derby replete with rescission and thriving on transparency.
In Pai’s latest move, which came late Monday afternoon (2/6), the FCC took “an important step to facilitate a rapid and orderly repack of television broadcast stations following the close of the incentive auction.”
Specifically, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is waiving the rules prohibiting communication between parties of any incentive auction applicant’s reverse auction bids or bidding strategies.
“Broadcasters have asked for this waiver in order to make it easier for television stations to engage in planning and coordination for the post-auction transition,” Pai said. “I look forward to working with broadcasters and wireless carriers going forward on further steps to ensure a smooth post-auction transition.”
The move comes as the Reverse Auction has concluded in the FCC’s Spectrum Auction, which enters Round 38 of the Forward Auction’s Stage 4 at 10 a.m. Tuesday (2/7). It’s the final day with four hour-long sessions; come Wednesday six 40-minute bidding sessions will be held, in an effort to wrap up the Forward Auction.
Auction Proceeds as of Round 37 are exactly $19,431,387,581.
Preston Padden, respected former television station executive who is now an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Law School, was quick to commend Pai for the decision.
“Kudos to the FCC Staff on being responsive to broadcaster comments and waiving the Quiet Period regarding the reverse auction,” he said. “This will be a huge help as broadcasters plan for the transition.”
In response to the FCC granting a limited waiver of the rule prohibiting communications between broadcasters in the reverse auction portion of the incentive auction, NAB EVP/Communications Dennis Wharton said, “With the TV spectrum auction nearing completion, it is perfectly appropriate to lift some of the so-called ‘quiet rules’ that barred discussions among broadcasters prior to and during the auction. NAB supports [this] common sense FCC action and looks forward to completing this auction and repacking with minimal disruption to our tens of millions of viewers.”
RBR + TVBR RELATED READ: Why Padden Says Auction Bid Forecasts Are Wrong