The United States Federal Communications Commission is expecting to execute a major auction that will include low-frequency airwaves. A project that has been in the works for some time, and has been met with a lot of friction and criticism, is being pushed back to early 2016 from mid-2015. This though, will not be the first pushback that the FCC has put on the auction to date.
Initially the incentive plan, which would free up many of the low-frequency airwaves – by getting broadcasters to give up the airwaves. However, the auction would give wireless carriers the first opportunity since 2008 to buy these so-called “beach front properties,” as far as airwave frequencies are concerned.
This though has been met with serious friction by the National Association of Broadcasters. They petitioned the United States Court of Appeals to have the auction reviewed, and to evaluate the process by which the FCC claims to be making this entirely possible in the first place. The argument is that the auction could hurt TV stations, and it’s entirely valid – since many of the frequencies are owned by smaller, local agencies, instead of large, booming corporations.
Right now, the FCC said that they will be accepting applications to join the auction in the Fall of 2015 and that the auction would take place in 2016 – pending the obvious steps that will be between now, and then. Industry insiders describe the spectrum that is going to be available as “beach front property” because it is the absolute best available spectrum of airwaves.
The FCC’s work though will start this fall as they go station to station, attempting to convince TV station owners that it would be a good idea for them, and their communities to take part in the auction. However, that means getting stations to relinquish their airwaves, in many cases, or going off the air completely – if they cannot share frequencies with another station.
The complexity and the mass of the auction though has already caused one delay, which pushed it to mid-2015, and now once again there is another delay to 2016. Many are finding that support is not being drummed up for this auction as it was originally expected. The next year will be very telling for this FCC project, and whether it will hit the ground running, or if it will skid and grind to a halt from lack of support.