CBO: Incentive Auction Could Net $10 Billion to $40 Billion, TR Daily

The Congressional Budget Office estimated today that the FCC’s incentive auction may net between $10 billion and $40 billion, “with an expected value of $25 billion,” with most of that going to the U.S. Treasury. The amount appears to be what CBO generally expects the Treasury to get after broadcasters are compensated, according to budget experts.

The figures were included in a letter from CBO Director Keith Hill to Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee who posed questions to CBO about FCC auction revenues.

CBO noted that the AWS (advanced wireless services)-3 auction generated “net receipts” of $41.3 billion. The spectrum sold in that auction was in higher bands with less favorable propagation characteristics.  But some carriers and others have noted that the incentive auction is more complicated, and some say the FCC’s plan to set aside spectrum for providers with fewer frequencies below 1 gigahertz could depress bidding. Some also say that revenue totals from the AWS-3 sale were inflated due to bidding arrangements that Dish Network Corp. had with two small companies.

Some parties project that the incentive auction will see higher revenues than the AWS-3 sale. For example, Preston Padden, executive director of the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, noted today that SNL Kagan expects auction revenues of $60-$80 billion, while auction expert Peter Cramton has estimated revenues of at least $84 billion.

“Nothing in the CBO letter is a surprise to those of us who follow budgets and scorekeeping. CBO has been consistent in both its scoring practices and its forecast for net incentive auction receipts since the Middle Class Tax Relief Act was adopted in February 2012,” said David Taylor of Capitol Solutions, a government relations firm.

The National Association of Broadcasters had no comment on CBO’s estimate, nor did the FCC.

The record AWS-3 auction revenues have prompted some broadcasters to take a closer look at participating in the incentive auction, according to industry officials.

– Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

TR Daily: AWS-3 Auction Closes With Record $44.9B in Bids

The FCC’s AWS-3 auction closed Thursday, January 29th, after 341 rounds and 45 days, garnering a record $44.9 billion in gross bids. In comparison, all FCC auctions before the AWS-3 sale generated just more than $53 billion in net proceeds to the U.S. Treasury.

David Taylor, executive director of the Wireless Broadband Coalition, weighed in on the conclusion of the historic auction. “The record-setting AWS-3 auction results demonstrate that the wireless industry values cleared, paired, internationally-harmonized spectrum allocations. The results also suggest that the federal relocation process reforms contained in the 2012 Spectrum Act aimed at reducing risks for both relocating federal agencies and prospective auction bidders worked better than most analysts anticipated.”

Politico: WBC & CTIA International Harmonization Report Released

This morning, the WBC and CTIA issued a press release announcing their global status report and map on the allocation of the 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz spectrum.  The report shows 17 of the G-20 countries, all but Argentina, Canada and the United States, have at a minimum allocated both bands for commercial use.

The report was featured in this morning’s Politico Morning Tech. ”CTIA, along with the Wireless Broadband Coalition, wants those bands paired and reallocated for commercial use, and are looking to leverage international data to get the U.S. government on board. ‘Internationally harmonized spectrum is appealing to carriers because it reduces network development and deployment costs,’ WBC Executive Director David Taylor said in a statement. ‘Having more equipment readily available also reduces network deployment schedules. Our research clearly shows that these bands are internationally harmonized.’”

Read our press release for more information.

David Taylor Speaks on TechAmerica Panel Addressing Sequestration

On Monday, October 22nd, 2012, David Taylor spoke on a panel at TechAmerica entitled “The Potential Impact of Sequestration on Non-Defense Federal Agencies” along with other experts. The presentation focused on the context of the current budget situation and the possible effects of sequestration on non-defense agencies.

Information about the event, including David Taylor’s presentation, can be found at: http://www.techamerica.org/Events/eventDetail.cfm?eventid=a0E4000000m4DsrEAE

Wireless Broadband Coalition Calls for More Cleared, Paired, Internationally-Harmonized Spectrum Below 3GHz

The Wireless Broadband Coalition (WBC) and 6 other associations representing companies in the technology and telecommunications sectors wrote to the bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to press for more licensed spectrum allocations.

“More cleared, paired, internationally-harmonized spectrum allocations below 3 GHz are needed and needed soon. America’s economy and its global leadership in mobile broadband depend on it.”

Click here to see the text of the letter.