Market Forces, Not Gaming, Should Govern the Incentive Auction

The incentive auction is designed to permit broadcasters to voluntarily give up over-the-air broadcast spectrum in the “reverse” portion of the auction in exchange for part of the proceeds realized in the “forward” portion of the auction in which mobile broadband providers are expected to bid. The proposals in the FCC’s December 17 Public Notice appear to further tilt the auction in favor of particular forward auction participants and otherwise interfere with free-market bidding principles. The Commission should reconsider these anti-free-market proposals and look to proven past auction designs that will maximize revenues and thus encourage maximum broadcaster participation, the Key goal of the incentive auction.

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