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Public Knowledge Defends FCC Auction Practices

January 16, 2012 ,

House Energy and
Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and AT&T in recent
days have issued statements criticizing the Federal Communications
Commission’s conduct of spectrum auctions.

Chairman Upton’s
statement is here.

AT&T’s is here.

The following
statement is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public
Knowledge:

“It is truly
unfortunate that the spectrum auction authority of the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) is under attack from powerful members
of Congress and from a major telecommunications company.

“As 100
companies, groups and associations have recognized in a Dec. 16
letter to Congressional leadership, 
the Commission has a history of conducting successful auctions,
which have raised more than $50 billion and spurred the growth of the
wireless industry. As importantly, the Commission has also tried to
make certain that wireless markets remain competitive while also
setting aside spectrum for unlicensed use.

“The legislation
before Congress now would strip the Commission of much of its
discretion, and as a result, much of its ability to respond to market
conditions. In an endeavor as complex as a spectrum auction, this is
a recipe for disaster.

“We agree with
the bipartisan group of Senators, John Kerry (D-MA), Mark Warner
(D-VA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), who supported
the ability of the FCC to conduct auctions in which markets for
spectrum remain competitive for companies of all sizes, and for
setting aside unlicensed spectrum as a ‘fertile ground for
innovation.'” (The senators’ letter is here.)

Public
Knowledge
is a
Washington D.C.- based public interest group working to defend
consumer rights in the emerging digital culture. More information is
available at
https://www.publicknowledge.org