The incentive auction stops for no one.
The FCC this week reportedly turned down a request from the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) and the Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) to pause the forward auction during two different events in September.
In a filing at the end of last week, the RWA and NTCA asked the FCC to either pause the auction or drop to one round of bidding during the three-day period from Sept. 7-9 during CTIA’s annual Super Mobility conference and from Sept. 26-28 during the NTCA’s Fall Conference and RWA’s Annual Meeting.
The groups argued the events will strain their already limited resources, as key personnel will be on double duty juggling auction bidding and event attendance. The groups said they were worried the conflict would “disrupt these authorized bidders’ ability to bid in a timely fashion.”
But the argument didn’t take at the FCC.
The RWA on Wednesday evening issued a statement expressing its disappointment in the FCC’s decision to decline the request.
“The Rural Wireless Association is disappointed that the FCC has denied its joint request with NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association to suspend Auction 1002 bidding during the Associations’ September conferences,” RWA General Counsel Caressa D. Bennet said. “RWA shares the Commission’s desire for a successful incentive auction, but remains concerned that this denial will have a significant impact on its carrier members’ operations. RWA remains hopeful that the Commission will further consider the serious resource constraints of small and rural bidders as it develops the auction schedule for September and keep bidding rounds to a minimum on the impacted days.”
The forward portion of the incentive auction began earlier this week, with 62 qualified bidders submitting a total of $17 billion in first round bids – $8.5 billion of which were for spectrum blocks that could actually be won. The latter figure rose to $9.7 billion by the end of round three on Wednesday afternoon.
Though the first round of bidding on Tuesday lasted six hours, subsequent bidding rounds are slated to be two hours apiece. There will be two rounds each day going forward, starting at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)