Public Knowledge Defends FCC Auction Practices

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


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