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FCC to Decide on Auction Rules Today

Kim Hart

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote this morning on the rules governing the January auction of valuable airwaves. These airwaves are coveted by phone, cable and Internet companies of all sizes because they are ideal for carrying wireless signals.

The biggest debate has been over whether the FCC will require about one-third of those airwaves to be used to build a nationwide network that will work with any wireless device, as Chairman Kevin Martin has proposed. He seems to have gotten majority support for that plan, which has the potential to bring big change to the wireless industry. But Google and a number of other tech companies and public interest groups, including Public Knowledge, Free Press and the Open Internet Coalition have been pushing for stronger rules that would also require the network to be open to all software, applications and third-party companies. Martin has said he doesn't support the extra open-access requirements.

AT&T has said it can live with Martin's proposal that will open the network up to all devices. Verizon Wireless opposes the idea.

But this auction, which is expected to fetch about $15 billion for the federal government, affects countless other companies and organizations besides Google and the biggest wireless carriers. Small telecom companies and rural providers also have a large stake in this because they need more airwaves to strengthen their network and roll out new services in hard-to-reach places. In filings with the FCC, many of them have expressed concern that, if an open-access rule is granted, the giant phone companies will try to buy smaller licenses that don't have an open-access requirement. That could make it harder for the smaller companies to compete for the airwaves, they say.

Public safety groups, including police, firefighters and emergency responders, have a lot riding on this as well. On a separate chunk of airwaves, Martin has proposed a partnership between the private sector and public safety groups, who say they need a nationwide, interoperable network to replace the current patchwork of separate networks that don't talk to each other. The idea would be for a private company--Verizon or AT&T, perhaps--to help build the network and then use excess capacity for commercial purposes when its available.

Frontline, a group backed by Silicon Valley investors and former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, wants to help build the public safety network. It's been pushing for that to be an open-access network, which Martin has opposed.

Analysts say the main question surrounds how that public-private partnership would actually work.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Stay tuned.

By Kim Hart  |  July 31, 2007; 9:30 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Of course Verizon opposes it!
But the airwaves need to be freed
to the people, just as Ma-Bell was
forced to stop 'renting' people their
dial phones those many decades ago.

We want it - so listen up people in
Washington -- make it happen or we will
vote you OUT.

Posted by: JT | July 31, 2007 10:18 AM

Support the Separation of Corporation and State. Oppose the "Public Private Partnerships" that are ostensibly for the public "good".

Also, the PUC must take this opportunity to prevent the huge media/communications conglomerates from monopolizing the airwaves. Control by a handful of companies is one of the main reasons we're in the political and constitutional crisis we're in. Relatively speaking, small companies and individual owners don't have a chance.

It would have been helpful had this article been published BEFORE the day of the hearings.

Posted by: B.Bittner | July 31, 2007 10:39 AM

it,s a joke the people have no say with the fcc until they change the way the fcc is run the people won,t be heard

Posted by: r.s. | July 31, 2007 11:00 AM

Air waves sold to the highest bidders will continue to deprive the people access to voice oppostion to the powers to be (the money grabbers). News is not news when it is promoting onesided views as almost every current cable, TV and newspaper does today. An individual without money has no way to share thier ideas for world peace and freedom. No private or government communication operation provide nationwide or worldwide access for open communication. What right does the government have to sale the peoples airwaves without open access to the people. Government is no longer "of the people or by the people". Money, money is the governoring body today. One person one vote to help make changes today because people who have ideas for peace and harmony are not allowed to communicate those ideas with the world because they don't have access to the people, that access is sold to the highest bidder that buys world leaders who make sure they continue to use money and force to maintain thier power to get what they want. Open communication should be available to all, why should we have to pay for it when or government sales it, we owned it!!! Oh, I forgot, we have to give our money to keep helping the billionaries and stupid worldleaders to keep turmoil and wars going all over the world. Why, why are you even providing information about saling air waves, I can live from payday to payday without going into more debt because of all the high cost to live and tax money that is thrown around the world keep fighting to surpress people. I'm sure there are millions of people who want to have basic living needs for thier familes but they don't have it because money people control the communications and use force to prevent peaceful influences around the world. What is the answer to save the world and have peace to allow a child to be born, grow and share thier life in the world without fear, with daily food and shelter, medical care and love. It hasn't been since the world began. No government or people have ever acheived this goal. Someone always wants control and that means money and power to control (force). I don't want my air waves, I want rent payments paid monthly to the US Government to help pay of thenational debt and build a surplus budget in the futre. I want the government to write in laws that will allow individuals access to the nation and world to share peaceful ideas to allow individaulsand and families to have thier daily needs without fear to live free within just governments. I don't want another penny to go to all money grabbers to control all our lives, I want a fair and just system, it isn't on this earth and it won't be until laws are made to benefit the people, our government saling air waves will not benefit the people if it thay are sold, that will only benefit the money grabbers. Rent them and give access time to the people to share ideas with each other on all air waves. Its called freedom, I want my share, I want my government financed fairly, I don't want billionaries to get more money for themselves, I want my government to care for the people. Stop running this government like a candy store to the rich, They will make money anyway, start putting the people first, rent the air waves and control access time for me and you. Get the idea!!!!

Posted by: John N. | July 31, 2007 12:08 PM

Dear FCC, ATT, GOOGLE, SPRINT, Virizon,Net Zero, Rupert Murdock, Mr.Malone,Viacom, Alltell and all you other guys having dreams of world domination by sowing up absolute control of the world's air waves for your companies own personal use in partnership with the U.S. Government you should know that partnership with any government agency or entity was tried back in Nazi Germany. It's called Fascism. It worked very well. But there was one drawback. The government eventually controlled everything including the corporations bank accounts. You can have your little toadies on the FCC write the rules so that the large networks like Viacom, ATT, World Com, and Rupert Murdock get sold all the airwaves and give you sole perogative over how much to charge people or companies who want or need to use those certain frequencies to do business or receive transmissions of broadband or wireless information over those particular band widths; but what will the Federal Beuracracies and the Federal Government want for giving you corporations cart blanch over all the airwaves up for auction? What will they demand of you Mr. Murdock and Mr. Malone and ATT and Sprint and Microsoft and Google and Viacom and the Major News Networks when it gets down to nut cracking time. What is the price of your loyalty to this one world government that you are proposing to bring about with one network for all airwave transmission? As it stands now all the news over the major networks is exactly the same now anyway. So I ask you again what do you have to offer the Federal Government that will entice them to give you total control over what the content will be that is put out over the airwaves and total control over how much you will charge companies and people who will use this new block of airwaves? What are you willing to do for or give to the Federal Government that will give you big boys total control over all the communications in the United States? Maybe in case of a National Crisis; a new terrorist attack the government will demand absolute say over content of what is to be aired until the crisis is over in about 2000 years. And how much is the government willing to pay you to gain military control of the airwaves; say like keeping the value of your shares of your companies floating at an artificially high rate to sooth your worry over a government takeover of all the news media and public airwaves in the U.S. Like it or not my fellow Americans we have lived in a military and political dictatorship since the mid 1850's. It is either Democrat or Republican. Do you see any difference between the Communists and the Nazis? No you don't because they are all four the same. Until we have a nuclear civil war in this continent and Washington D.C. is burned to the ground then you will not be a free people where there is no taxation at all for anything on anyone. The tree of liberty is fed with the blood of patriots, tyrants, and dictators. When have you Americans bled to end all taxation in the United States? When have you bled to reinstitute the Bill of Rights as it was written by our Founding Fathers in 1789? You can not call yourselves Americans until every I.R.S. agent is dead and until the Greater Washington D.C. area is a smoking hole in the ground!!! You can not call yourselves Americans until every tyrant and dictator like John Malone and Rupert Murdock has lost their heads in the Guiloteen!!! You cannot compare yourselves to the Founding Fathers until every Congressman and Senator who conspires to murder President Bush has been put to death. Them, their extended families and their congressional office staffs and aide decamps. All of Washington D.C. must be burned to the ground. All the beuracrats and lobbyists killed and the Congress put to the sword. The buildings and monuments must be put to the torch and the ground sewed with salt so that nothing grows there again. If we must have a government then let it be small and justice be dispensed with an honest Ceasar since we allready have government that is planning to seed it's power to the United States of the North American Union anyway. What do you think this Trans Texas Corridor is anyway? It is an open invitation to all those Red Chinese Panzer divisions that are assembling now in Panama and Mexico to run 100 tanks abreast right up those multiple four lane highways and straight up into the nations capital. Checkmate! No thanks to traitors like Governor Perry who are doing business with the Nazi Fascist Government of Spain. The King of Spain is the son of General Franco. General Franco was put into power by Adolf Hitler. So what ever happened to the Monroe Doctrine? The Government of Spain is going to charge Texans and Americans high fees for traveling on these super highways and they don't have any off ramps except at the endpoints. What kind of an interstate highway is that? I will never set foot on one of those dam treson run highways but if you want to do business in the new North American Union you will have to pay the highway robbery toll fees and use only those roads that are going to put millions of people off their land and thousands of businesses out of existence because of this unconstitutional act called eminent domain. The U.S. Supreme Court is nothing but a bunch of well payed off traitors. They wouldn't know the Bill of Rights if it bit them in the butt!!! Never mind that the Red Chinese Government is slowly encircling the U.S. with treaties with our enemies in this hemisphere and their military and building up their military using capitalism and natural resources contracts while we are dismantling our Minuteman nuclear missle bases in North Dakota and Montana. Check it out You stupid Americans are so flat footed and fat and contented. You won't even know what happened when the Red Chinese and the Red Russians finally strike. And we have the Democratic Party to thank for that when their allies in Red China and Red Russia put the chains and shackles on you if the Satanic Government in Washington doesn't beat them to the punch first. America is finished. All that has to be done now is kick in the door and the whole rotten system will come tumbling down upon itself.

Posted by: Frederick Bert Ledbetter | July 31, 2007 1:45 PM

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