Key senator skeptical of incentive auction timeline


U.S. CongressThe FCC is working toward holding incentive auctions of television spectrum sometime next year. But during an appearance on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” series, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) said he would not be surprised to see the auctions “slide into 2015.”

Pryor is Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Communications Subcommittee.

According to a Hillicon Valley report, Pryor commented, “I’m totally fine having it in 2014. I’m hearing rumors though that it might not quite be ready by 2014, so it might slide into 2015.”

We are of course already into the third quarter of 2013 and many key elements of the complex plan have yet to be worked out. And many of the pending decisions involve matters of technical difficulty, political sensitivity and international relations.

The NAB has been working with the FCC to move the project along, but has consistently stated that it is better to get it done right rather than simply get it done rapidly.

Pryor told C-SPAN that the Subcommittee would explore additional sources of spectrum beyond the swathe currently proposed for transfer from television to mobile use.

RBR-TVBR observation: We’ve been saying this all along. This proceeding features very high stakes, rival communications industries with competing interests, cross-border spectrum rights, frequency allocation and interference issues, the national debt and – at this already late date – too many unanswered questions. It would be crazy to pencil in an arbitrary deadline day and cut corners to meet it. Better to shoot for 2014 but be prepared to spend more time if necessary to get it right. And count us among those who believe more time will in fact be necessary.