The aim of the auctions is to free up more airwaves for cellular carriers who are struggling to keep up with the rising data demands of smartphones and tablets, which soak up a lot of bandwidth. The auctions were part of tax cut extension legislation passed earlier this year. Congress charged the FCC with working out the details of how the auctions will be implemented.
"Our subcommittee carefully crafted the legislation to create jobs by getting more spectrum into the pipeline to meet consumer demands for more mobile broadband, and to allocate a portion of auction proceeds toward build-out of a public safety broadband network, while ensuring broadcasters are treated fairly," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the communications and technology subcommittee, said in a statement. "I look forward to the testimony of all five FCC commissioners as we examine what the FCC can do to advance those goals, and what it should avoid.”