As it was pointed out to me time and time again during the aftermath of last week’s C-block broadband personal communications services auction, in every game there are winners and losers. The winners held their press conferences, sent their press releases, made themselves available for interviews and revealed their future strategy … and good for them.
Those participants who did not fare as well were, for the most part, forgotten. One principal of a women-owned bidding entity believes her fate was sealed when prices began to bid up beyond the reach of most small businesses, saying her group “was not ready to buy marketshare.” She’s waiting to see how the new D-, E- and F-block rules shake out. “If it’s more of the same, what’s the point?” she asked.
A Washington attorney who represents several C-block small businesses that won onesy-twosy licenses said his clients were outbid by companies that met the technical definition of a small business but that were, in reality, “start-up” big enterprises.
Sour grapes? Maybe a little, but others who left the auction empty-handed and those who saw their home markets disappear to deep-pocketed competitors still are angry with the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to change the financial rules in the 11th hour. Still, they continue to hope that the F-block will be set aside for truly “small” entrepreneurs. Good for them.
…Speaking of auctions, the Cato Institute hosted a three-man debate last week on the ins and outs of requiring broadcasters to pay for digital channels. Poor Bob Okun, NBC’s vice president, took a beating from fellow speakers Tom Hazlett of the American Enterprise Institute and James Gattuso of Citizens for a Sound Economy because his free-TV and public-interest arguments couldn’t stand up to scrutiny. Hazlett said no market studies exist that say consumers want high-tech TV. He also mentioned an FCC study that did quantify the lack of demand that was killed due to broadcast-industry pressure. Good for him.
…The CTIA Foundation along with Minnesota’s two cellular carriers and Motorola launched the Domestic Alert Alliance to provide phones to women living under the threat of domestic violence. Good for them.
…Following a fete highlighted by a Rachelle Chong-authored “Top 10” list, FCC International Bureau chief Scott Blake Harris now leaves to “surge forward” into a new law career. Good for him.
…Wireless Telecommunications Bureau deputy chief Ralph Haller will be accepting the Eugene C. Bowler Award Wednesday night. As usual, Ralph hasn’t come up with a speech … and that’s good for us.