FCC Takes Up Key Spectrum Issues Today

BY CCIA Staff
March 21, 2012

The FCC is expected to launch rulemakings today that could make way for more competition and useable broadband spectrum – a goal of its National Broadband Plan. The FCC is to consider a rule that would allow Dish Network to deploy its recently acquired mobile broadband spectrum. Another measure on the agenda would foster 700 MHz interoperability between the Bells and their wireless rivals.

The rulemaking today comes after the FCC faced incumbent carrier pressure to deny a routine waiver earlier this month that would have allowed Dish to deploy mobile handsets that didn’t talk to satellite transmitters – just ground towers. The waiver would have allowed Dish to develop the handsets and deploy them more cheaply to customers, making them a more viable competitor to Verizon and AT&T whose handsets also just talk to ground towers.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has praised the National Broadband Plan in part because a more competitive mobile marketplace improves access and prices for all businesses and consumers.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President Cathy Sloan:

“The FCC needs to move expeditiously on this proceeding – because by definition it is slowing down competition in the form of new competitive entry into this marketplace. We can appreciate the pressure the FCC is under from those that don’t want more competition, and would rather force Dish into less favorable arrangements with existing providers.

“There are no significant interference issues. But the spectrum crunch is real and newly available spectrum along with a new competitor helps – especially as mobile carriers institute data caps.

“Freeing this spectrum is a timely economic issue that impacts all of us. It would help reduce monthly costs for cellphone customers and the ripple effect from additional broadband access options ultimately boosts the economy as a whole. The FCC had the foresight to work toward this goal when it laid out its National Broadband Plan two years ago. Time is of the essence when it comes to spectrum and we hope the FCC will act on this proceeding later this year.”

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