Democrats to FCC: “Give Small Businesses a Fair Shot”
Congress charges the FCC with developing designated entity rules for spectrum auctions that help small businesses and encourage competition. These competitive bidding rules were last comprehensively updated in 2006 and have not kept pace with the wireless marketplace. As such, the group of lawmakers called on the FCC to adopt final rules that encourage meaningful participation by actual small businesses.
“Small businesses are the engines of our nation’s economy. Approximately half of all workers in the country are employed by small businesses. But in capital-intensive industries like telecommunications, these small businesses simply cannot compete without smart policies,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter sent to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
In order to ensure that the Commission’s policies benefit genuine small businesses, the lawmakers laid out a two-pronged approach. First, they highlighted the need to provide incentives significant enough to give real small businesses a fair shot at winning spectrum in any market, while also limiting the ability of large corporations to take advantage of the program. The lawmakers also urged the FCC to do away with outdated requirements that have not kept up with developments in the wireless marketplace.
The lawmakers noted, “By adopting these policies that promote small businesses, the Commission will help boost the economy, foster diversity, and ultimately pay dividends for consumers. We urge you to act soon to bring the Designated Entity program into the modern wireless era.”
The six Democratic lawmakers are also co-sponsors of the Small Business Access to Spectrum Act, which Pallone introduced earlier this year. The bill would ensure the FCC’s competitive bidding rules are updated in time for real small businesses to have a chance to participate in the incentive auction.