MMTC: Finish Spectrum Auctions By 2013

Group Says Mobile Broadband is First Technology Where Minorities Have Head Start

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is "strongly encouraging" the FCC to finish up its spectrum incentive auctions by the end of 2013 to free up more spectrum for wireless as quickly as possible.

That call came on the eve of the FCC's planned vote on proposing a framework for the auctions, in which it is trying to free up as much as 120 MHz of spectrum by paying broadcasters to give up some of theirs.

According to sources, the FCC draft order calls for completing the auctions by the end of 2014, but MMTC says that given the fact that minorities have adopted mobile broadband at a faster rate than any other group, "spectrum exhaust" would be especially detrimental to them.

"In all of American history, wireless is the first technology for which minority consumers have a head start," said MMTC.

Broadcasters have argued that if too many station owners give up spectrum, that could also hurt minorities by leaving less spectrum to do multicast channels -- which include a number of minority-targeted programming networks and channels. The auctions also provide an incentive for smaller stations in large urban markets to exit the business and further deplete niche programming.