Trustees receive feedback from public on FCC Spectrum auction
The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees has received almost 120 letters, emails and phone calls about the Federal Communications Commission Spectrum Auction.
Most of the public input has encouraged trustees not to sell CMU's public broadcasting stations, said board chair Sarah Opperman.
In December, the university applied for eligibility in the auction, which looks to buy television spectrum from stations across the country and repackage it for wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T, as the public is now relying more on mobile devices as opposed to over-the-air waves. The FCC will purchase the spectrum and sell it to wireless carriers.
In January, the board sought public input via mail and email.
"I want to assure everyone that we are reading these communications," Opperman said. "We have been reviewing the input."
Opperman emphasized that the board has not made a decision yet on whether the university will participate. CMU must decide by March 29. President George Ross is authorized to decide bidding strategies "consistent with the best interests of CMU."
The university has four options: sell CMU's broadcast licenses and discontinue to broadcast, share a channel with another broadcaster, move the broadcast to VHF or decline to participate.
"We will balance public interests and the needs of our students (in our decision)," Opperman said.
Trustees will need to decide separately for each of CMU's five broadcasting stations. All five stations reach a combined value of $780 million, and an audience of 6.56 million according to a FCC document.
Federal anti-collusion laws prohibit trustees from disclosing whether CMU may participate in the auction.
The board continues to encourage those wishing to provide input to send an email to email@example.com.
Central Michigan Life is publishing FCC letters submitted to the board of trustees in our print edition. If you would like your letter to be published, include firstname.lastname@example.org in your email or send your letters to Moore Hall 436 on the campus of Central Michigan University.