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Lawmakers hear mixed message on limiting spectrum bidding

Grant Gross | Dec. 11, 2013
Some advocates urge the U.S FCC to limit AT&T and Verizon in the upcoming incentive auction.

Democratic Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut both called on the FCC to impose limits on the amount of spectrum the largest carriers can buy. While some senators and witnesses called on the agency to design an auction that results in the highest bids, there should be other priorities, including consumer benefits, Markey said.

In the early 1990s, Congress and the FCC designed auctions that brought new competitors to the market, leading to much lower mobile prices and innovation in devices, Markey said.

In those early mobile spectrum auctions, "what we said at that time was, we want to maximize the revenues ... but we didn't want to do it at the expense of innovation and consumer protection," Markey said. "It's not just deficit reduction. It's also, what are the benefits for consumers."

 

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