The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory:
“In the wake of the AWS-3 auction, there has been a broad, bipartisan call to reform the FCC’s Designated Entity, or DE, program. When the veil of the auction was lifted, we all learned that some bidders attempted to use the rules to obtain a windfall, and, in the process, prevented the intended beneficiaries of the program – small business and rural telcos – from obtaining valuable spectrum licenses.
“For this reason, AT&T is pleased to join a group of small carriers today in proposing a new way forward. Together, we envision a DE program that redefines ‘small business’ in a way that is more aligned with the structure of the modern wireless industry and that seeks to benefit true small entities — many of which operate in rural America. To avoid incentives for abuse, we propose a strict cap of $10M on the bidding credit available to any individual eligible applicant – an amount that will provide a meaningful benefit to the very types of business the program is designed to benefit while ensuring policymakers that those who seek to abuse the program will not be rewarded. We also support strict build requirements as we believe scarce spectrum resources should be licensed only to those willing to deploy them for the benefit of U.S. consumers.
“We believe that this proposed framework provides strong footing for a logical, equitable and sustainable Designated Entity program – one that encourages broad participation at auction and diverse opportunity in the industry while closing loopholes attractive to those interested only in speculation or financial arbitrage. We hope the FCC will give the proposal careful consideration.”