AT&T Call for Restrictions on FCC Spectrum Auctions: Statement by Consumers Union

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News Release
Consumers Union
Thursday, January 26, 2012

WASHINGTON — According to news reports, AT&T today called for Congress to mandate how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would structure and operate its next spectrum auction, a move that would take away the FCC’s ability to set conditions on who can bid on spectrum and how that spectrum can be used.

Parul P. Desai, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, today made the following statement in opposition to AT&T’s call for action:

“What AT&T is pushing would be bad for consumers.  The FCC needs to have flexibility in setting up rules for auctions and determining how spectrum should be allocated for licensed and unlicensed use.   If you tie the hands of the FCC today, you may deny it the ability to consider the status of the marketplace and new technologies developed in the future.  That could hurt competition and innovation.  There are economists who’ve taken a close look and agree that the spectrum experts at the FCC should have flexibility to determine auction rules.”

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, or Kara Kelber, kkelber@consumer.org, 202-462-6262