June 24, 2015

Wyden, Markey, Franken, Blumenthal, Cantwell, Call on FCC to Boost Mobile Competition in Spectrum Auction

WASHINGTON — Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to craft spectrum auction rules for the upcoming incentive auction that increase competition, innovation and consumer choice in the mobile phone marketplace by ensuring that companies of all sizes have access to spectrum.  With demand for data-driven wireless devices continuing to grow, wireless companies need access to addition spectrum. Low-band spectrum is critical to reducing obstacles to penetrating walls and signals unable to travel greater distances and other network difficulties. Currently, approximately three quarters of the highly desirable spectrum below 1 GHz is held by AT&T and Verizon. 

“Breaking up AT&T and Verizon’s duopoly by reserving spectrum for smaller carriers is essential to expanding wireless service for rural Oregonians,” said Wyden. “Smaller telecommunications companies cannot afford to outbid the big corporations who have no incentive to increase access in rural, less-populated communities.”

“This auction represents an historic opportunity to decrease this concentration of low-band spectrum,” write the Senators in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “As the Commission moves towards a final vote on the incentive auction order, the FCC should continue to evaluate its auction rules to ensure they prevent excessive concentration of spectrum among the nation’s largest wireless providers.”

A copy of the letter to the FCC can be found HERE.