Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission's Rules --
Competitive Bidding Proceeding, Third Report and Order
and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making

By today's action, the Commission has consolidated and streamlined its spectrum auction rules. At the same time, and in order to provide existing licensees and future bidders additional regulatory certainty and fairness, the Commission has endeavored to harmonize its auction rules among the various spectrum-based services to which these rules apply. I believe the benefits of these changes will outweigh their costs. Accordingly, I support the item.

We did not, however, undertake the more difficult task of revamping our entire auction system. In my view, this proceeding (the latest round of which began nearly a year ago) should have elicited more thorough public comment on how the system could be improved.

For example, with a more complete record, we could have used this opportunity to permanently discard rules -- such as our ill-fated installment payment system -- that thrust the Commission into the role of unwitting (and unqualified) banker to our licensees. I find it incredibly inefficient and unsound policy for a federal government agency, especially one with no banking expertise, to substitute itself and its judgments for those of private financial institutions and markets.

In the end, however, we have respected the requirements of the law and, where appropriate, we have recognized the critically important role of all designated entities under Section 309(j) of the Act, including small businesses and rural telephone companies, in our economy and society. I believe that, within the bounds of the law, we must be faithful to companies such as these, just as companies in competitive markets must be faithful to their customers. As regulators, the FCC's fidelity can be measured in part by how little burden we force industry and consumers to shoulder. By adding certainty and fairness to our auction rules, today we have lifted some part of the burden of regulation.

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