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Letter to Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Regarding a Competitive Bidding Process in Incentive Auction

The Honorable Tom Wheeler
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler,

As the Federal Communications Commission moves to finalize rules for the first-of-its-kind incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum, it has indicated its intention to propose rules to ensure every carrier has the opportunity to bid and win this beachfront spectrum and consumers, including those living in rural areas lacking sufficient mobile broadband coverage, enjoy the benefits of competition. These goals are one key part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which granted the FCC authority to conduct an incentive auction. We commend you for your work in support of the Act and its goals.

In establishing the anticipated rules for mobile spectrum holdings and the incentive auction, the FCC recognizes that generating sufficient revenue for auction priorities and protecting wireless competition are not mutually exclusive. The Public Safety Spectrum Act contains several critical funding priorities for the incentive auction, including funding any remaining portion of the $7 billion allotted for a nationwide public safety broadband network, incentivizing broadcasters to sell their spectrum, and reducing the national debt. At the same time, among other objectives, the Public Safety and Spectrum Act preserves the FCC's authority to promote competition and to protect against undue concentration of spectrum holdings.

The FCC has crafted a transparent auction structure that accurately recognizes the unique value of low-band spectrum. We are heartened to hear that the FCC intends to ensure sufficient auction revenue to accomplish public interest objectives identified in the Act, including the full funding of the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, as well as sufficiently broad-based and robust competition to protect consumers' interests in innovation and expanded wireless broadband service in urban and rural areas alike. In particular, we believe that a proposal to reserve a portion of the available licenses for carriers with limited nationwide low-frequency holdings will stimulate auction competition and revenues, ensuring opportunity to bid and win spectrum to enhance and extend rural build out and improve coverage in all areas, while guarding against excessive concentration of spectrum resources.

We look forward to working with you to ensure the final rules for the broadcast incentive auction strike the right balance among the Act's many competing objectives.


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