Telecom Official Touts Airwave Auction Benefits

In a hearing before the House Small Business Committee, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin outlined the benefits for small businesses that an upcoming airwave auction will provide.

He told (pdf) the committee that the auction will promote improved access to wireless broadband and facilitate the ability of small firms to compete in the provision of wireless devices and software.

The FCC recently adopted rules allowing the auction of more than 60 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band early next year. These airwaves are part of the spectrum that television broadcasters have been using for analog television signals, but as they complete their transition to digital signals by early 2009, they must return that part of the spectrum to the agency.

Martin added that the soon-to-be available spectrum will help deploy wireless broadband in rural areas, which will help entrepreneurs and micro stores in small towns and rural areas to communicate "rapidly and efficiently."

The license winners for about one-third of the spectrum will be required to provide a platform open to devices and applications. He said that it is the FCC's goal that small businesses manufacturing wireless devices and software will benefit from this "open platform" language by being able to put their products directly into the hands of consumers without having to ask permission from wireless providers as they currently do.

He added that the commission is considering allowing small and independently-owned entities to lease extra capacity of digital television station licensees to operate their own broadcast channel. The new programming station would obtain the accompanying rights and obligations of other stations.

By Sharon McLoone |  October 12, 2007; 7:00 AM ET Policymakers
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If AT&T decides to bid on much of the Lower 700MHz spectrum bands (which they will do), especially the B Block being auctioned, it will have a major negative impact on any small operator and or service provider who seek the spectrum in their CMA.

Posted by: Jim | October 12, 2007 1:01 PM

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