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U.S. FCC chair: ‘Hard to believe’ AT&T would skip spectrum auction

24
Apr
2014

The top U.S. telecommunications regulator on Wednesday said he was unconvinced by ATT Inc’s threat to sit out next year’s major auction of wireless spectrum over proposed restrictions on its participation. ATT, the second biggest U.S. wireless carrier, last week said it may choose to skip the so-called incentive auction of valuable airwaves scheduled for next year if the Federal Communications Commission adopts rules that reserve some of the spectrum for smaller nationwide carriers. “I find it hard to believe that somebody who has advocated so forcefully about why is it absolutely essential that they have spectrum like this would pass on the opportunity,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters on Wednesday. “I have a hard time envisioning this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this kind of beachfront spectrum being something that people throw up their hands and walk away from.” Wheeler’s plan, which the FCC is expected to vote on at a May 15 meeting, would reserve up to 30 megahertz of spectrum in each market for bidding only by carriers that control less than one-third of low-frequency airwaves there.

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