NTCA Response to AT&T Filing Regarding 600 MHz Auction

For Immediate Release

Contact: Hillary Crowder, 703-351-2086, hcrowder@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (April 16, 2014) – NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today issued the following statement from Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield in response to the ex parte filing by AT&T threatening not to participate in the FCC’s incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum: 

“It is unfortunate to see AT&T resort to a thinly veiled threat of not participating in the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction to seek out policies favorable to its business plan. It’s important, however, that the commission balance various competing concerns for the licensing of a limited public resource—especially one that has as much value as this low-band spectrum that AT&T and many others clearly desire. 

AT&T and Verizon already control more than 70% of available public spectrum. The 600 MHz spectrum has propagation characteristics that make it highly desirable. Reasonable limitations on spectrum aggregation are necessary to ensure that this valuable public resource is put to work as soon as possible for the benefit of consumers in as many areas as possible, rather than permitting a few large bidders to sweep up the vast majority of spectrum and deploy it on schedules and in markets of their choosing. Such policies would not create “preferred carriers” in this auction, but would only help to level the playing field for the benefit of consumers in all areas. 

AT&T clearly recognizes the value of low-band spectrum, and reasonable limitations would not preclude it from participating in this auction. To the contrary, AT&T would be well-positioned to combine the sizeable amount of spectrum it could obtain in this auction, even under such limitations, with its already sizeable holdings in other bands. Protests of a ‘fragmented, uneconomic and inefficient 600 MHz footprint’ are therefore unwarranted and miss the mark.”

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.