FCC figures out what to do with the D-Block spectrum, then what?

Deltek Sr. Analyst Jeff Webster reports.

Today’s mark up of legislation to reallocate D-Block spectrum to public safety has seen its ups and downs over the past four years. Much talk has been made about how this chunk of spectrum will open the door to nationwide interoperability. The decision of what to do with this spectrum started in 2008 after the FCC failed to auction it off at its reserve price. Since then, private and public entities have been pushing for a variety of options. These options are to either re-auction this spectrum in hopes of meeting the FCC’s estimated reserve price of $3 billion, or turn over the spectrum to public safety without an auction.

A recent study by the Phoenix Center concluded that auctioning off the D-Block most likely wouldn’t result in the expected revenue price needed by the FCC. On top of that, the study noted that handing over the spectrum to public safety would provide $3.4 billion more in social benefits than if there were a commercial auction. Additionally, if the goal of the FCC is to create a nationwide public safety network, this social benefit should outweigh the cost and time that would be invested in a public auction.

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