FCC Republicans Question Designated Entity Moves

It Would Allow Flipping of Spectrum to Big Players
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The FCC Republicans were not happy with portions of the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on competitive bidding in spectrum auctions, particularly the upcoming broadcast incentive auction. The item passed, but not without the Republicans dissenting in part and making their unhappiness known.

The FCC voted to allow small businesses and minorities more opportunities to bid by, among other things, loosening restrictions on third-party leasing or requirements for higher upfront payments from bidders with past debt issues.

"The NPRM proposes to permit small businesses (known as 'designated entities' or 'DEs') to obtain taxpayer-funded discounts and then turn around and lease 100% of their spectrum to the world’s largest corporations. It does absolutely nothing good for competition in the wireless marketplace to award bidding credits to entities that flip their spectrum to large incumbent providers," FCC commissioner Ajit Pai wrote in his partial dissent. "To the contrary, it only makes it harder for small and regional facilities-based providers to win spectrum and compete on a level playing field. The Commission did not need to take this approach."

He said there were some parts worth exploring, but on balance called it a "lost opportunity" by DEs to get into the wireless business.

Read more at B&C here.