CEA President Gary Shapiro says NAB CEO Gordon Smith should refrain from his public statements about the FCC’s proposed spectrum auction, calling them “inconsistent with the goals of Congress.”
Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro scolded NAB President Gordon Smith today for “discouraging” TV stations from wanting to participate in the FCC’s planned incentive auction of TV spectrum.
“Recent statements discouraging participation in and support of these auctions are not only inconsistent with the goals of Congress, but also are not helpful to competition necessary for a successful and competitive auction,” said Shapiro in an open letter to his counterpart in broadcasting.
“You noted in your NAB keynote that you ‘don’t envy the commission its job; implementation of the legislation is daunting and will take years to complete,’ which isn’t a ringing endorsement of the upcoming auctions.
“Nor are statements to press that ‘we’ve heard no hooves of a stampede. I find our members excited about their business, their futures and anxious to hold on to their spectrum.’ ”
Earlier this year, Congress authorized the FCC to conduct an auction of any spectrum that TV stations voluntarily make available and to share the proceeds with those broadcasters.
Like the FCC, Shapiro hopes that the auction will result in the reallocation of a large part of the TV band to wireless broadband service where, they feel, it will be put to better and more efficient use.
Shapiro also reminded Smith that broadcasters don’t own their spectrum. “Congress was extraordinarily generous in allowing broadcasters to be compensated for these limited duration licenses should they choose to offer them for auction.”
NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton dismissed Shapiro’s complaint. “NAB supported the voluntary incentive auction legislation passed by Congress and looks forward to working with the FCC and Congress to implement the bill.”