FCC chief says economy may hamper 700MHz auction

16 Jan 2008

Kevin Martin, the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has voiced concern that the current instability in US financial markets could deter potential bidders in the forthcoming 700MHz wireless spectrum auction. ‘Is it an ideal time to necessarily be conducting an auction? I’m not so sure,’ Reuters quotes Martin as saying, with reference to the current problems in the US housing and sub-prime mortgage markets. Frontline Wireless, a firm which was tipped to win the ‘D’ block of spectrum reserved for a national public safety network, has already pulled out of the auction. Though the reasons behind its decision have not been revealed, it is thought that it has had difficulty raising capital to meet the USD1.3 billion reserve price which has been placed on the D block. The 700MHz auction, which is expected to raise around USD10 billion, begins on 24 January and will run until bidding is exhausted on all blocks of frequencies. Firms such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Google are all lining up to take part.

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)