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Incentive Auctions FAQs

What is an FCC Incentive Auction?

An incentive auction is a voluntary, market-based means of repurposing much-needed spectrum for flexible use, including mobile services.

What is spectrum?

Spectrum is the invisible infrastructure used by wireless devices, such as smartphone and tablets, to provide communications services.

How much money will the auction raise and will it be sufficient to pay for the public safety broadband network?

Because of the nature of the incentive auction process, the FCC will not know the amount of money raised till the auction is concluded. The FCC’s incentive auction is being designed to maximize our ability to fulfill the goals of the Spectrum Act.

When will the FCC complete its auction process?

The FCC currently estimates it will conclude the incentive auction proceeding in 2013 and hold the incentive auction during 2014.

How can broadcasters learn about their rights in the incentive auction proceeding?

Broadcasters can review the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on our website. In addition, we have launched our Broadcaster LEARN Program, which consists of information packets available on our website, workshops, and webinars, as well as direct outreach. Broadcasters can send questions to our Broadcaster LEARN Program email address: broadcasterlearn@fcc.gov.

What does the September 28, 2012 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking do and how can I send comments in to the FCC?

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking kicks off the rulemaking process for the FCC to establish its incentive auction regulatory regime. The public may submit comments electronically using the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).

What services will improved by incentive auctions?

The additional spectrum reclaimed through the incentive auction will help increase the speed, capacity, flexibility, and ubiquity of mobile broadband services such as 4G LTE and Wi-Fi-like networks to improve performance of devices, such as smartphones and tablets, that rely on mobile networks.

Will I lose my over-the-air broadcast television?

No. The incentive auction process will enhance the ability of broadcasters who remain on the air to continue providing the public with diverse, local, free over-the-air television service. However, in order to accommodate the new wireless broadband services, there may be a brief transition period. The FCC will work with broadcasters to ensure that any transition is brief and that consumers are well-informed of any potential disruptions.

Who do I contact if I have general questions about incentive auctions?

Send an e-mail to the incentive auctions e-mail box: incentiveauctions@fcc.gov.

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