updated 06:36 pm EST, Fri December 6, 2013
FCC chair claims need to prevent Obamacare website-like debacle in auction
Citing a need for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "get the enabling technology right," new chairman Tom Wheeler has delayed a spectrum auction. The auction pays television broadcasters for unused spectrum left unused after the shift to digital television. The FCC will then auction off the reclaimed spectrum to wireless carriers to expand wireless networks.
Wheeler wrote in a blog post that "as part of our auction system development we will check and recheck the auction software and system components against the auction requirements, and under a variety of scenarios replicating real life conditions." The delay will also give the FCC more time to codify rules for the carriers' participation in the auction, including how much spectrum a single carrier is allowed to purchase.
The FCC is aiming for 120MHz of spectrum to auction, which will require nearly 300 stations to participate in the process. At this time, it is unknown if the government will generate the required level of participation from the broadcasters, despite the bandwidth not currently being used.