NAB Asks FCC To Hold Auction Hearings

In ex parte comments with the commission, the group enouraged the agency to hold hearings on various aspects of the incentive auction such as its impact on diverse communities, and detailed the consequences of the three-month-old freeze on broadcast TV station modification applications.

Last Friday, July 5, Rick Kaplan of the National Association of Broadcasters  met with FCC Chief of Staff Michele Ellison to offer the association’s views on the challenges and opportunities in broadcaster repacking and the 600 MHz post-auction band plan proposed in the FCC’s incentive auction proceeding.

NAB also reiterated two specific requests it has made in the past. First, NAB encouraged the commission to hold — even perhaps as part of its monthly open agenda meetings — hearings on various aspects of the incentive auction proceeding.

“A series of hearings on critical incentive auction topics,” NAB said, “will increase openness and transparency, provide opportunities for commissioners and their staffs to hear directly from industry and the public interest community in the same forum, and help further the commission’s goal of an expeditious auction that serves the public interest.

While any number of topics would be appropriate for such hearings, NAB in particular urged the commission to follow the National Broadband Plan’s recommendation to inquire further about the impact of the auction on diverse communities.

NAB also discussed what it called “the unfortunate and unnecessary consequences of the indeterminate and now three-month-old freeze on broadcast TV station modification applications.” In the meeting, NAB recommended that, if the Media Bureau did not lift this freeze, the commission should move forward immediately with an order resolving the questions surrounding which full-power and Class A broadcasters will be protected — and to what extent.

The record is complete on those issues, NAB said, “and the commission does not need to wait for other parts of the incentive auction process to make its determinations regarding which stations are protected and what encroachments the commission can make, if any, on the coverage areas and populations served by TV stations that do not sell their spectrum to the government in the auction.”

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NAB also said it reiterated its “desire and commitment to work with the commission and all interested stakeholders to resolve outstanding issues and move forward as expeditiously as possible toward a successful auction.”


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