Lewis Carroll could not have written the scenario playing out in the depths of the rabbit hole that is rebanding. With public safety playing Alice, the characters that have come to the tea party are as weird and wonderful as any that a fantasy writer could imagine.

There's the Transition Administrator, a two-sided creature, part C.P.A. and part law firm, in the form of Bearing Point and Squire Sanders & Dempsey. Bearing Point's past experience with public-safety radio systems prior to its arrival at the tea party was, well, let's say limited. And although some of SSD's personnel have an impressive background in telecommunications, the law firm did not have a sufficient supply of attorneys with either telecom or mediation experience. The learning experience of the TA often has been tweedle-dee-lightful.

The role of the Queen of Hearts has never been in doubt. That position was occupied by the FCC, who publishes public notices that could be captioned “Off With Their Heads Ver. 6.8.” The fact that much of what has been published has been done without color of law or a single, further rulemaking in support of each new demand just adds to the comic farce.

Then there's the Cheshire Cat — an enigmatic feline who is seen repeatedly, only to fade away, leaving nothing more than a mocking smile — which most certainly is represented by the moving of completion deadlines that the FCC or the TA announced again and again. It was apparent more than a year ago — when the TA was sponsoring rebanding scheduling meetings around the country — that the first deadline was pussy-footing away and further deadlines also would evaporate into the ether as reality caught up with administrative whimsy.

A tip of the hat to Motorola, our Mad Hatter. In countless mediations, Motorola had to actually explain the origin of its estimates for service. Some of the explanations have been reminiscent of the Hatter's logic, as in, “I breathe when I sleep, thus, I must sleep when I breathe,” leaving Sprint Nextel's deal managers to sigh in wonder and frustration.

Oh yes, Sprint Nextel is an important character in our long-running tableau. Acting in the role of the March Hare, Sprint Nextel constantly invites Alice to take a cup of tea and then, when she reaches for it, the March Hare pulls it back out of her reach. One need only endure the delay and bureaucracy inherent in getting a deal to conclusion and actually getting monies paid out to appreciate the March Hare's repeated antics.

Finally, there is our elusive White Rabbit. This furry fantasy is no more than the illusive condition of non-interference that is the alleged goal of this entire process. Alice has been chasing this beast for nearly a decade and yet, it hops and frets and scurries down its hole every time Alice reaches for it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we who are stuck at the tea party hope that you have enjoyed this nonsense play. This knave has endured his role with equal parts frustration, amusement and wonder. My job is to save Alice, but darn if she isn't always off somewhere, putting out a fire or some such thing. Seems she doesn't have enough time to truly enjoy the tea.

That's all right. This is one tea party that is going to last for a few years more. There will be time. But like the White Rabbit has repeatedly declared, “We're late! We're late! We're late!” an era of non-interference has been quite late in coming. But a glimmer of hope, like the Cheshire Cat's smile, is beginning to emerge on the horizon. Let's hope it wasn't all a fantasy.

Robert H. Schwaninger Jr. is an attorney and the president of Schwaninger & Associates.