Aaron Schutt: Alaska Native role in FCC's auction benefits public

Aaron Schutt. Photo from Facebook

Aaron Schutt, the president and CEO of Doyon Limited, an Alaska Native regional corporation, defends participation in a Federal Communications Commission auction that treated Dish Network, a company with a $34 billion market value, as a very small business:
Every few years, the federal government assembles available wireless spectrum and auctions it off to companies that will use it to improve our telecommunications network. Auction 97 ended last month with winning bids of $41.3 billion, more than two and a half times what analysts predicted when the auction was first announced.

One major reason for this windfall is that competition in Auction 97 was opened to more auction participants. Because of a series of rules to protect against excessive concentration of licenses, smaller players like Doyon, Limited were able to receive a bid credit in order to compete against the large incumbents. The outcome was increased competition that resulted in a large increase in auction prices.

The rules that led to the participation of Alaska Native corporations and increased competition in the recent auction can be traced back two decades. In 1993, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote wireless competition. At the time, the wireless market was dominated by two large telecommunications companies. Congress sought to increase competition through FCC-managed spectrum auctions. A bipartisan Congress directed the FCC to ensure widespread dissemination of licenses, specifically among small businesses, including minority and women-owned businesses, and rural telecoms. Through that law the Designated Entities (DEs) came to be.

Get the Story:
Aaron M. Schutt: Doyon’s wireless role had public benefit (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 3/1)

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