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Rural Carriers Worried About Spectrum Auctions

A group of US rural wireless carriers are making some noise about upcoming 3G and digital TV spectrum auctions, having their lawyer basically say they’d better get what they want. The group’s pre-emptive whining aside, the bigger question is why the US still sticks to its spectrum allocation plan of splitting the country up into hundreds of markets, rather than just selling national licenses, as is favored in most of the rest of the world. While part of the idea is to ensure that rural and less densely populated areas are served, this could still be accomplished with national licenses by using coverage requirements, again, as in other countries. Rural carriers say that they better serve their coverage areas than national carriers can, which is far from certain. But the patchwork quilt of licenses doesn’t seem to help anyone else, especially consumers who get stuck with roaming fees when they go into these areas.

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