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FCC-LogoFederal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler has recently announced that the FCC will seek to make the mobile marketplace more competitive by changing the rules of how low-band spectrum is auctioned. The goal, as Wheeler said, is to take the wireless spectrum and make it available to as many providers as possible, especially to small businesses and carriers in rural areas.

Read the announcement via the FCC official blog.

The largest changes that Wheeler has submitted are to the bidding policies. The FCC will now place a cap on the total value of bidding credits, which will minimize “an incentive for major corporations to try to take advantage of the program.” In addition, rural businesses will have a bidding credit that will incentivize “participation in future auctions by rural service providers in the communities they serve.” Wheeler also announced that the Mobile Spectrum Holding rules will not change and that the “current reserve size of 30 megahertz balances the desire to make low-band spectrum available to parties with limited holdings while facilitating competitive bidding for all auction participants.” The changes to the rules also propose that offering facilities-based wireless service is no longer required to bid on spectrum usage. As Wheeler said, the FCC wants “broadband to be open and free from any artificial inhibitions on its use.”

The FCC’s role in the process, known as the Incentive Auction, is how the FCC regulates spectrum usage. Comissioner Wheeler announced that the auction will take place in the first quarter of 2016 with a possible Public Notice to reflect the established changes and new bidding procedures. The auction will continue to make available both licensed and unlicensed use of the wireless spectrum and will aim to give the market more equilibrium through competition of both big and small mobile companies.

Check out where mobile wireless is available in Utah.

To view Second Order on Reconsideration for the Incentive Auction, click here.