Wheeler, Walden Promote Incentive Auction in Tandem

Op-ed in 'Hill' Takes Bow for Bipartisan success of AWS-3

In an unusual pairing, the Democratic chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, and the Republican chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, Greg Walden, got together Friday on a co-bylined op-ed in The Hill newspaper to celebrate the success of the ASW-3 auction and put in a plug for the next auction —of reclaimed broadcast spectrum.

Wheeler had noted soon after the FCC's Jan. 29 public meeting, during which he announced the end of the auction, that Walden had already texted him congratulations.

The auction was created by legislation co-authored by Walden, and ended up drawing almost $45 billion in conditional bids, more than twice pre-auction estimates. That success relieves the pressure on the broadcast incentive auction to raise enough money to cover the interoperable first response network, FirstNet (about $7 billion), with more than $20 billion left over for deficit reduction.

The pair noted in their op-ed that it was the highest grossing auction in FCC history and that it was thanks to the efforts of many —though they did not mention the broadcasters who struck a deal to move off of ENG spectrum and relocate to help free up the 65 MHz for auction.

But they said the success story wasn't over and pointed to all the money for deficit reduction the broadcast auction should be bringing in.

Read more at B&Chere.