FCC head Tom Wheeler wants to keep spectrum open for smaller operators in the upcoming "Incentive Auction" in 2015.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman described spectrum as "a finite public resource" in a blog post Friday. "Getting the Incentive Auction right will revolutionize how spectrum is allocated," Wheeler wrote. (See Wheeler Writes Regulatory Rubric .)
Suggesting that not all spectrum is created equal, Wheeler writes that the type of low-band sub-1 GHz spectrum that could be auctioned off is beneficial for both rural and urban deployments. Low-band spectrum has better propagation capabilities, which means fewer sites are needed to deploy a network and the spectrum penetrates buildings better. (See T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band .)
Wheeler appears to favor allowing smaller operators to get some of that spectrum without simply being outbid by the Big 2, particularly for rural networks.
"A legacy of earlier spectrum assignments, however, is that two national carriers control the vast majority of low-band spectrum," Wheeler writes. "As a result, rural consumers are denied the competition and choice that would be available if more wireless competitors also had access to low-band spectrum."
Wheeler has now provided the other commissioners with a draft policy on the auction. This auction is different because the FCC hopes that US TV broadcasters will give up chunks of 600 MHz spectrum in return for a slice of the profits of the auction. The auction is expected in mid-2015.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading