The three Democratic FCC commissioners have voted to approve a proposal that would give OTT-based providers of linear programming the MVPD status they need to license programming.
The industry may be closer to reclassifying some OTT services as MVPDs than originally thought. According to unnamed sources, a majority of FCC commissioners have voted to approve the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking circulated a few weeks ago by Chairman Tom Wheeler.
The FCC is forcing bidders in the AWS-3 spectrum auction to place new bids on 95 percent of the licenses for which they are eligible or face the prospect of not being able to make any more bids. The shift to "stage two" of the auction process, with the attendant change in bidding rules, is another indication that bidding is starting to wind down in the auction, which has gone on nearly a month.
T-Mobile US is siding with the Competitive Carriers Association in coming out against setting a specific price per MHz-POP that must be hit in order to trigger bidding for "reserved" spectrum in the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction.
The National Association of Broadcasters has already taken the FCC to court over its proposed rules for the incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, but the NAB is not letting up in its criticism of the commission's plans. A filing from the NAB indicates it has great concerns over the so-called "optimization" methodology the FCC will use to move around broadcasters after they give up their airwaves.
With bidding in the AWS-3 spectrum auction winding down, financial analysts think Dish Network is likely going to walk away as a major winner, especially if it can secure paired spectrum licenses in major markets. According to a research note from analysts at New Street Research, that would give Dish leverage over Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, which have likely spent big at the auction.
While a lot of variables remain to be finalized--including who comes out on top in the ongoing AWS-3 auction--infrastructure vendors need to start planning their road maps for products that will make use of spectrum when it's available.
The FCC changed how it is conducting the AWS-3 spectrum auction to give bidding entities less time to react between rounds and speed up the bidding, hastening the end of the auction. After round 57, the auction had raised $41.31 billion in provisional winning bids.
President Obama signed off on a bill Thursday that will assure that 1 million satellite TV subscribers in rural areas will continue to have access to the major broadcast networks after Dec. 31.
Originally scheduled to culminate by the end of 2014, the FCC's respective regulatory reviews for the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers will now close in March, if no more delays are encountered.