Thomas Hazlett on Plan B for the Incentive Auctions

TV News Check published an article about the FCC’s alternative plans should the highly-anticipated incentive auctions fail to clear enough TV broadcasters from the spectrum to make room for wireless communications. In the piece, IEP Director Thomas Hazlett and Blair Levin discuss the so-called “overlay auction” as an obvious Plan B:

“The program I am talking about would be entirely voluntary,” says Hazlett, who is now a professor of law and economics at George Mason University. “The broadcasters would have no mandate to move. There’s nothing forcing them off except economics. It’s their own decision.”

Hazlett also says that TV stations “almost certainly” would reap a larger payout from an overlay scheme than they could get from the incentive auction. “There would also be much more cleared spectrum for mobile operators,” Hazlett adds.

“One would hope it [the overlay auction] would be on the short list for Plan B,” says Blair Levin, the former FCC executive who spearheaded the national broadband plan for the Obama administration.

The full article, which explains the basics of the incentive auctions and overlay auctions, can be found here.

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