COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Incentive Auction Task Force Update
(August 9, 2013)
As today's presentation makes clear, our incentive auction team is laying the groundwork
for our wireless incentive auctions. Thanks to their good efforts, we are paving the way for a
historic development in auction policy. We are poised to lead the world in demonstrating novel
ways to reclaim spectrum and repurpose old airwaves for new mobile broadband use. This is
exciting and if we are honest--extremely complex.
Yet simplicity has its virtues. This is true in the incentive auction process, where we
should strive to streamline the complicated labyrinth of decisions required to put our rules in
place. But it is also true in statements from this bench. So I want to focus today on two simple
objectives that I believe should guide us as we move ahead.
First, transparency. Openness matters. The virtuous efforts of our incentive auction
experts will yield no confidence if their work is held in obscurity. So that is why the recent
release of repacking data is so terrific--and so important. It is the foundation for the
development of repacking software and other key decisions. So I hope all stakeholders will
scour what we have shared for accuracy and help us ensure that it is a solid base from which we
I think we also can enhance transparency in other ways. I continue to believe that
holding a series of en banc hearings in which stakeholders can present to the Commission--and
the Commissioners themselves can ask questions--would be useful and productive. I also
believe that public-private working groups could benefit our decision-making on issues like
international coordination. Finally, as I have said before, I think a general calendar identifying
what decisions have been made, what decisions remain, and what challenges lie ahead would
provide guidance for all stakeholders. It would enhance trust in our process and increase
confidence in our ability to get the job done and on time.
Second, participation. As has been said before, we do not want to hold a party and have
no one show up. Voluntary participation is essential. I continue to believe that reaching out
directly to every broadcaster in the top 30 markets in this country is prudent. After all, this is
where our mobile broadband needs are the greatest. I also think we should help develop a
channel sharing pilot in advance of the auction. This could be accomplished with either
commercial or noncommercial stations. Let us demonstrate upfront that sharing is truly viable.
Some stakeholders have suggested that the Commission could ease regulatory burdens on
broadcasters that commit in advance to participate in the auctions. I know there are knotty legal
issues here, but I think we should untangle them--because creative ideas should be encouraged
and this Commission should respond by acting quickly and being creative in return.
Thank you to the incentive auction team for all of your efforts to date and for this great
presentation today. Your work is incredibly important.