The FCC’s Incentive Auction – A Down Payment on the Next Generation of Mobility

Last week, the FCC voted to take a significant step in freeing up additional spectrum to meet Americans’ unquenchable thirst for mobile broadband service. A textbook example of a “win-win,” the incentive auction’s historic market-based framework will help ensure that the U.S. continues as the mobile ecosystem’s undisputed global leader.

While the details of the incentive auction proceeding may be complex, the benefits to consumers are simple and clear:

  • The airwaves made available through this auction will fuel infrastructure investment, spur job creation and foster the virtuous cycle of competition and innovation – benefiting wireless users throughout the country.  Consumers will experience better, faster and more ubiquitous wireless broadband service as a result.
  • By targeting these airwaves for the spectrum pipeline, policymakers made real progress in addressing the spectrum crunch created by the ever-increasing demands of mobile consumers.  The latest projections are staggering and demonstrate mobile data’s continued explosive growth –360 petabytes per month, equal to 90 million DVDs per month or 992 million text messages per second.
  • The incentive auction also provides broadcasters a unique opportunity to monetize their spectrum holdings in a flexible rights marketplace, and not in the far more limited command-and-control broadcast secondary market.

CTIA commends the FCC Chairman and Commissioners – past and present – and the agency’s Incentive Auction Task Force for their leadership and diligence in shepherding this intricate proceeding to a successful result today.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle deserve credit for enacting the 2012 law that authorized the Commission to conduct the incentive auction, as well as the upcoming AWS-3 auction. Lawmakers’ support for bringing spectrum – including the recently auctioned H-Block – to market is key, and these three auctions will unleash the first swaths of new spectrum for mobile broadband since 2008.

American consumers and businesses will benefit from a new generation of wireless services and offerings built on the foundation of this new mobile broadband spectrum.

Even as we applaud today’s achievement, we are acutely aware that incentive auction work is far from over. The FCC must resolve further issues in advance of the incentive auction and CTIA will continue to work with the Commissioners and FCC staff to make the incentive auction a reality in mid 2015!

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