Originally published: January 16, 2012
Last updated: January 16, 2012 - 3:05pm
AT&T wants the Federal Communications Commission to steer clear of setting policies for the spectrum auction process and leave it up to Congress. The position comes as somewhat of a surprise, since one would think the last thing a major telecommunications company would want is to leave its critical airwave future in the hands of Congress. But here’s what’s behind AT&T’s latest public policy power play.
There are spectrum auction bills in both the House and the Senate, but it’s the one in the House that may be the reason AT&T’s getting so uppity. House Republicans are trying to stop the FCC from being able to make the rules for the eventual auction of the digital TV airwaves that President Obama and the FCC want to take from broadcasters and repurpose for mobile broadband. If AT&T can get Congress to fight the FCC on this particular spectrum auction with this bill, it will have won by making sure new airwaves don’t come burdened by FCC provisions that AT&T doesn’t like. And since Congress seems dead set on making these airwaves no good for mobile broadband, AT&T hasn’t lost much.
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