Broadcasters urge FCC not to 'score' stations for auction

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Last year, Congress authorized the FCC to encourage TV stations to voluntarily give up their frequencies, also known as spectrum, for auction to cellphone carriers, which are struggling to keep pace with the booming demand for mobile data.


Carriers are expected to spend billions of dollars for the spectrum rights. Some of that revenue will be used to pay off the TV stations, and the government will use the rest to build a nationwide broadband network for first-responders and for deficit reduction.    

The Expanding Opportunities coalition, which is led by former Disney lobbyist Preston Padden, argued that scoring stations based on their population coverage or other business value factors is inconsistent with the spectrum law and arbitrary.

Paying TV stations based on the value of their business could help ensure that the government isn't paying more than it has to for the stations' spectrum.

But the group argued that stations should be paid based on the value of their spectrum, not their value as a business. The group claimed that some stations are already re-thinking their plan to participate in the auction based on the scoring proposal.

"The absolute best way for the Commission to assure a successful auction, and to assure that there will be funds for FirstNet and deficit reduction, is to attract the maximum possible broadcaster participation," the group wrote.


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