Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess says while his company is looking at the pros and cons of selling some spectrum, he’s doubtful it will and, what’s more, he questions whether the auction, planned for 2016, will ever take place.
Burgess Has Doubts About Spectrum Auction
Like other broadcasters, Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess says his TV station group is considering selling spectrum in the FCC’s incentive auction planned for 2016. But he doubts that the auction will ever take place.
“I would be on the side of betting on operating spectrum as opposed to selling it,” he said during the opening session of the NAB’s CCW–SATCON conference in New York today.
However, he said, every public or semi-public company “has to look at the numbers” — how much they can make by selling. As envisioned by the FCC, the incentive auction would buy TV spectrum from broadcasters, mostly in major markets, and then turn around and sell it to wireless broadband providers.
Burgess said he is skeptical about the FCC’s ability to “pull together an effective auction.”
“There are a lot of supply-side questions,” he said. “I think there is a greater chance the auction will not be as robust and, therefore, not as interesting to [broadcasters] who have all sorts of ideas for linear and nonlinear uses.”
Burgess said there is “a lot of enthusiasm” among broadcasters for a new “flex-use” broadcast standard that will give broadcasters more “ambitious ways to play in the broadcasting space.”
Burgess was referring to the ATSC 3.0 standard now under development by the Advanced Television Systems Committee. Like the spectrum auction, the standard is due in 2016.
Read more CCW-SATCON coverage here.