FCC places 700 MHz items on agenda
FCC commissioners will consider the development of service rules to govern future 700 MHz licenses during its meeting next Wednesday, according to the agenda released by the commission.
While the wording of the agenda item is very broad, several Beltway sources believe a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) will include a proceeding that will let the FCC solicit comments on Frontline Wireless’ 700 MHz proposal to create a nationwide wireless broadband network.
Under Frontline’s proposal, the FCC would auction 60 MHz of spectrum as mandated by Congress, but 10 MHz would be auctioned to a wireless wholesale network operator—like Frontline—that would have an opportunity to reach an agreement with public-safety representatives to build a network also using public safety’s 12 MHz of adjacent frequencies.
Several public-safety representatives have expressed concern with the Frontline proposal, because so many details would be negotiated with public safety only after the winning bidder has received its license to operate in the 10 MHz of commercial spectrum. Some have suggested that the winning bidder receive a license only after reaching a deal with the public-safety licensee to help ensure that the network meets first responders’ needs.
But the future of the Frontline proposal may be undermined by opposition from large incumbent wireless carriers, which have considerable lobbying power and want all 60 MHz of spectrum to be auctioned to any commercial bidder, without such restrictions.
“That one [the Frontline proposal] will not fly,” said Roger Entner, senior vice president of IAG Research’s communications sector. “All of the wireless carriers will be up in arms.”