New Chairman Changes TV Spectrum Incentive Auction Goal to 2015

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by

Last month, we reported that the FCC’s new chairman, Tom Wheeler, had publicly stated that he had immersed himself in incentive auction issues, and would soon decide how best to move the process forward.  He’s now made his first public statement on what he’s been reading and reviewing, and he did so using the FCC’s blog.  Chairman Wheeler states his belief that the auction can be held “in the middle of 2015”.  That’s an extension of several months from the previously announced 2014 date.  According to Wheeler, the FCC must “check and recheck the auction software and system components” and proceed with the auction “only when our software and systems are technically ready, user friendly, and thoroughly tested.”  One could surmise (and probably correctly so) that Wheeler’s cautionary tone might have something to do with the government’s difficulties of launching the healthcare website in recent months.

Wheeler’s blog post contained other tidbits as well.  He suggests that an initial Report & Order will be ready for a vote in the spring of 2014, which adjusts the previously anticipated “end of 2013” deadline.  Wheeler expects the initial order to be followed by public notices on auction procedures in the “second half of 2014.”