The long-awaited incentive auction is about to start, but one of the biggest conferences for U.S. wireless companies is also fast approaching. While this may not present a problem for larger carriers, smaller operators are anticipating some strain on their resources and are asking the Federal Communications Commission for relief.
The Rural Wireless Association (RWA) and the Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) on Friday asked the FCC to press pause on its incentive auction for several days in September. The suspension request includes 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.
Should the FCC decline to halt the auction altogether, the groups asked the FCC to slow the pace of the auction to one bidding round per day during those times.
In their request filing, the associations said their membership have “limited personnel resources to dedicate to auction participation” and noted that in many cases those who attend industry events are the same people named as the designated bidders in the incentive auction.
Without the ability to use an activity rule waiver, the groups said they were worried about the impact the travel would have on their auction participation and qualification. The events, they noted, were scheduled well in advance of the FCC’s announcement of the auction schedule.
“The Associations are concerned that travel to and from these events, as well as meeting participation, will disrupt these authorized bidders’ ability to bid in a timely fashion,” the groups wrote. “While there is a mechanism in place to change a qualified bidder’s authorized bidders, this mechanism is of little use to qualified bidders with very small management teams.”
The groups said they understand the importance of completing the auction in a timely fashion and have no desire to delay the proceedings for an extended period of time. Instead, they said they “seek only limited relief in the form of a suspension not to cause delay, but to protect the bidding eligibility of small and rural carriers and promote competition in Auction 1002.”
The FCC declined to comment.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)